Archives for the month of: February, 2012

When the music begins, all the buildings start to run.
Leaves are blown down the streets,
you shiver, there’s panic in November.
But it’s not because of the cold you’re shivering:
you shiver with love.
All the buildings are leaving you.
The cars, the trees, the people,
they’re all leaving you.
They begin to run when the music starts,
you watch them running,
then suddenly you begin running, too.

The train stops in the station
and begins to sprout branches.
Twigs emerge from the branches, and the buds of leaves
unfold like green wings from a chrysalis.
A baby stops crying, relaxes back on the bed,
exhales smoke,
stares up at the ceiling
with a gaze numbed by motels and nicotine:
how did my limbs get so old? so clumsy? so big?
how did I learn to stop growing?
What’s this heavy emptiness in my mind?
Is this the past?
Are these the years?

We thought the sarcophagus would hold,
but now the concrete has started to crack.
A kind of silence obtained for decades,
a silence which was also coldness,
possessing clear glacial mass,
and the silence had grown immense and obdurate,
resting unseen at the bottom of a well
or inside the metal of a padlock,
inside our lovers’ eyes,
until the silence became an axiom,
we were used to having it around.
But now there are sounds,
and the sounds fill things with a beautiful ache.
We assumed that death would soon begin,
we hung about, waiting for it
as if it had nothing to do with us,
but nothing happened, and in the end
we grew used to being alive.
Now, abruptly, rudely, unwanted, death really does begin.
It’s bad timing, I say
as I begin running.

All the birds as if with earthquake premonition
fly upwards,
fluttering on wings of violins.
Cars are blown down the street along with the falling leaves,
and the cars are rusting.
Kozo the dog whips out a pistol,
but Lolo the cat produces a bazooka
from behind her back
while the mouse reaches for a ballpoint hammer.
There are tweeting bluebirds of concussion
circling the dazed head of the victim,
TNT booms in jagged orange and sulphur,
smoke rolls in sumptuous, plump ripples of black.
Then the animals suddenly put down all their weapons
and flow out of the light
and into a pencil
like liquid sucked up into a straw:
the city rises to our lips in summer,
in darkness the skyscrapers are starstruck,
the cars fireflies.
Time — we need more
time, you say.

She strokes the hair out of my eyes,
stirs static on her fingers, it crackles,
and the children wander off into the wood.
We kiss, the trees begin moving, bending groundwards,
peering at the children, neither threatening nor consoling, but just
curious. The world is awake:
centipedes unwind in the trickle of clocks,
there are roots and earth in my mouth,
and the roots are growing,
moving through the soil, foraging
for nutrients as the young leaves above
skirmish for light. The rivers rise and the land slides,
in the flooded museum survivors cling to exhibits
floating on the muddy cocoa torrent
and the precious books, atlases and bibles, sink or bob,
seagulls shriek over the drowned streets,
and people eddy and drift, hanging on tight
to gorgeous coffins nosing out from under the exploding green
of young, summer trees.

You kiss and kiss again
until there is no stillness in you,
and the dead boy strikes a match
a firebug in spring
the cherry trees are lit but still you don’t stop kissing
and the dead boy is no longer me
but is running, running along with everyone else
and with everything else,
bison, newspaper man, front page, bombshell,
the whole panicked herd of things running
along streets which have also started to run
to the dots and bleeps of a subtle electro
humming on a suburban train at dusk
when the starlings swarm and make elastic shapes
like clouds of a cartoon night.
I don’t want to be left behind,
I run with you, run without you, run towards you
because the music has started
it’s what we’re all doing,
I don’t know why,
only we run when the music plays,

why do we run?
and if we stop running

will the music stop?


Kajan said: If love is the centre of the circle,
then indifference is the perimeter.

I imagined an Emperor in a science fiction novel, someone immortal,
who knew that a diamond, if left long enough in one place,
would turn to dust.

I thought of you, all those years before.

Then we used to look at each other for so long and so deeply,
it seemed as if we must surely know an adolescent secret.

So the centre of everything is love? I asked Kajan.
No, the centre of everything is indifference, he told me.

With a seabird, perfumed movement, you dipped your chin
against your shoulder. We floated in the train,
the shower over the city at dusk,
all the lights wet, supersaturated, car brakes like blood,
and the pharmaceutical blues of a chemist’s…

I love you for sure, you said.

Around us, the city spread out towards the horizon
like a thousand years…

But I thought you said love is the centre?,
I pointed out, watching the translucent ropes of bubbles
sway in my bottle of beer.

Kajan grinned. I did. Love is the centre of the circle.
But the perimeter is inside the centre.
And indifference is the heart of love.

You are with her it is that time again
She walks ahead of you you drift apart
deep in your own thoughts
You fall behind gazing up at the clouds
She climbs a shallow slope through hot wheat
towards the ring of trees
You look up and see her standing against the immense quiet
of the horizon
You could be the last people on Earth
You could be feeling the last love on Earth
She sees you and gives a little start
then she waves to you
You wave back to her
Your heart
seems to turn to stillness
The distance
The heat

And what will you do with all of these thoughts?
Like people passing each other on slowly gliding trains
she lies beside you
Planes taxiing out onto the runway
nose-cones gleaming in the sun
Pylons receding in a line towards the rising moon
Loss leaders stacked along the aisles
The calm numinous light of supermarket refrigerators
He’s connected the giant head is saying
He’s a made guy

All of the power and all of the life
For a while the world turns to guns and cocaine
to oil and sugar and thirst
to the tattered memories which reappear
like old bird’s nests in winter
It turns to moments the moments to things
Year after year you fill yourself up with wishes and schemes
frivolous wishes and incomplete schemes
the same stuff year after year
more and more rubble and scree
until, at last, you stir, and you realise
your soul has come to resemble
a flooded quarry
littered with islands of fly-tipped debris
A seagull perched on the handles
of a pram poking out of the water…
A heron by fridges…
Mosquitoes breeding among car tyres…
All of the futures and all of the dreams
A remnant of reason and fragments of bodies
Lists you made yesterday tomorrow today

All of the glory and all of the time
All of it
Tied to your own mind
a young child with a looping string
trailing a pink balloon
fragile with joy
All of the care and all of the shame
And what will you think of, now?
And what will you think?

You kiss her and she turns into thoughts
The thoughts flicker
shift desultorily like autumn leaves
Then it is summer
an empty blaze light on bare walls
What can you do?
You sit quietly
The steady mindless heat engulfs the world
and wants nothing from you
no conflict no admiration
not even sweat
The last boats sail they will not return
Those left on the shore a huddled crowd of them
linger but can do nothing
The sea is unreasonable
and has no fear
You think of kissing her
but you realise it’s just nostalgia
You have become lazy and selfish
your body’s a convenience store
Sleep follows the line of least resistance
Sleep, and the days…

There are no children anymore
no scents of them no sounds
The lit silhouettes of goats and horses
circle the room thrown by the lamp to the walls
This is the centre of the world
and the edge of nothing
This is the place you must be
and the place you must leave

A cemetery by a railway line
A life and a mind
Your life, your mind
On a café table chess pieces from an abandoned game
heat in the sun and the board is a field of gleam
The sheltered harbour is empty
She turns thigh-deep in wheat and waves to you
from close to the summit of the little knoll
with the ring of pine trees
This could be the last moment on Earth
The last glance
The last love