Archives for the month of: January, 2016

They promised thunderstorms
And if the light is so soft over the wheat
a spark is enough for fire, so are the years
You had just had a shower
your hair smelled of honeysuckle and peaches
The city was so peaceful
In flames

The weather didn’t break, God it was humid
Maybe the system was to blame but I loved you
There were cracks in the spirit
cracks in the bones where the light fell through
shadows slipped out
No one could tie the universe together anymore
so it began to shed stars
No one collected them
They grew obsolete at the bottom of swimming pools
on the backs of trucks
and the whipped top settled on its side and stopped spinning
At a touch
all the armour of all the princes in all the fairystories
rusted and broke
Stories didn’t have morals
They didn’t even have plots
Books didn’t need pages
I kissed you among tangled threads of starlight
in a meteor shower
It was something to do
It was a bit of a laugh
It was beautiful there
It was the feelgood hit of the summer

Then I didn’t see you very much after that
For a while I didn’t see you at all
Then I never saw you again
That night we took sunset like a pill
bliss on the tongue you know the sun slipped into the lake
the lake slipped into the past
Lucerne Chicago or somewhere
Like lovers with their pointless stories
It is like a dream you don’t dream
or like a memory you don’t remember

We had a spark but we never had fire
That was how it felt, anyway
Wars grew up around us like briars
but they seemed like other people’s wars to us
So our hair stayed golden and we slept on and on
safe in our sparkling white towers
the briars began to blossom
like strategies like napalm falling
There were cracks in us
cracks in ourselves where the others came out
They promised great storms
Then the great storms came

I never told you that I loved you
I never said the right things
Now time intervenes
or maybe it’s sloth
or recognition of some truth
or a kind of tragic apathy, in any case
I have become very confused
The connections between things grow more tenuous
then they fail altogether
Then there is just one thing
But it isn’t the right thing

Out there in the country we smoked opium
and time dilated a heartbeat took forever
or nearly forever
I nearly forgot myself
But we had to move on a few days later
Sometimes, I remember


They took a photograph from space the astronauts saw
you could sail all the way to the North Pole
through channels cracked in the ice

She was reading a book on redemption and consumption
something to do with Mao Zedong
Her hair stirred in the draught from an open window
a splintered calligraphy of clouds and rain

Her eyes and her fragile feet were birds

And it was black rain

I was working on a poem with a loose slacker ethos
about a couple who were staying at the Ice Hotel

They tried to keep the tears a whole night frozen

Their love was futile people still ploughed the soil
mist still came in with its silence
like a gathering animal shyly
at the edge of the field

I wanted to take the earrings from her lobes
and kiss the tiny holes pierced for the gold
little mouths
dumb for whispers

I took a photograph of her above the snowline
the blackness of her hair the whiteness of the snow
Her bones are light

I can only love like flown birds

Branches blind for spring waiting

The snow is light

It was one of those pictures
where the trailer is better than the film
I woke and looked out the window,
fingers between Venetian blinds
the street was there, cars, houses,
aerials, rooves, clouds
but the only important thing
was the horizon
You kissed my naked back put your arms around me
and said how happy you were
and I smiled and said something sweet
but the horizon
was the only important thing
It still is

He left her, he travelled to get away from his love
or maybe to get closer
but the horizon was always in his heart
I guess he was one of those curious types
curious stroke dissatisfied
He was always aware of the terrible gravity of the next morning
or the next town, the next train
He was never really there beside you
his mouth was on someone else’s lips
Contentment didn’t come into it
Each time, the name of the hurricane changes

I am submitting you now
to the acid of memory
When you began crying, at that exact moment,
all the finches flew up out of the grasses
It was just a coincidence, I guess,
but it has stayed with me until this time

When they find a new planet, I’m thinking of you
How the light grew diffuse
and I turned to kiss you
and the evening seemed to ask me to follow it
into you where beauty was still real
The moment seemed to swell
and I wanted to cry because you believed in me
The light was poised
and my life seemed suspended
I waited for a vision
I waited for the world to speak
and it did
but all that it said
was utterly pedestrian
Inside me,
early evening stars appeared
and took up their customary positions
above the fading horizon

We have turned into something we didn’t set out to become
Somewhere along the way in the dark wood
our feet turned to hooves
softly with the almost imperceptible sound
of a dry leaf landing in an autumn pool
our jaws grew heavier
our bodies pelted with hair
faces glistened with feathers

Love ceased
My mouth seemed constantly full of saliva
You were stoned and I dragged you into the bushes
in the front room
and killed you and ate you and you sighed
You wanted out of the relationship
I looked up at the night sky
above the blocks of flats and the telegraph wires
and satellite dishes
I couldn’t tell whether the moon was beautiful or not
The moon was full rising slowly
It was strange to me
I didn’t know where to put it in my mind
You said It’s got five stars
You said Shall we go?
You said It says it’s the first
must-see movie of the year

The car wouldn’t start and I grew angry
I had stalled in a suburb I didn’t know
all pale concrete in the sun and chain-link
fences and industrial units
I kept turning the key but the thing wouldn’t fire
I grew angrier and angrier and swore and smacked the wheel
My blood felt poisoned and electric inside me
I so wanted to see you again and to tell you I loved you
It was hot and eventually I left the car and started walking
I didn’t even bother closing the door

My horns ached and my muzzle was caked with dried blood
Above me the sky was ancient
A certain terrible fatigue had entered everything
so that the clouds didn’t float properly anymore
My body was huge and old and wouldn’t respond
and bits of meat were forever stuck in my teeth
reminding me of my diet
The bathroom cabinet was stacked with pills
We were close to the end of the cycle
but this time things weren’t going back to the start
I spent as much time hating you as loving you
We weren’t meant to be enemies
While we argued, the stars began to fall from the sky
one by one, like exhausted petals
You didn’t give me what I wanted
so I savaged you you sighed
My teeth ached with eating
The lights of the night sky were going out
and I looked up curiously towards where the moon was rising

Sometimes even now I look in the mirror
and remember myself as I once was
Then I cry
Then I stop crying

I have turned into something I didn’t set out to become
It happened so quickly so slowly
Inside me
there is a hot lair
I’m full of dirt and grief
What have you been doing? you ask
Why don’t you tell me?
Why don’t we talk?

Once I wanted to talk
I hated the shape of my snout
the fur on my body
my hands shrunk to claws
It is too late
Now I hear the others rushing by in a pack
and the moon is very bright
We put down our keys and go out

We have been turned into things
of light and dust.

Our bodies have become the pale blue
of a winter sky
close to the horizon, at nightfall.

There is dust on your lips and I wish
to brush the dust away with my finger
but I can’t move.

We are electric and the days fall into us:
we glow with all the many nights we’ve absorbed
the radiation of loneliness and love,
and there are small holes in our flesh which seem to be burning
though we are all surface, with an icelike glaze,
where no fire should take hold,
though the fire takes hold…

There is dust on my penis
and the dust catches light,
you try to put out the tiny flames with your hands
and with your mouth, you cry
but the sparks flit like aphids across the distance
between our two bodies
then you, too, begin to burn,
your dress comes open and turns to rags

Our sighs of protest
are lost on the wind, like parachutists
caught in the trees
we turn and twist,
you moan and I’m helpless, we wonder
how much further can there be
beyond heaven, how much longer must we
suffer such gorgeous indignity?

Your face is puzzled at the same time
We were not built to endure
this bliss that corrodes us,
the afterlife
was not meant to be so complicated,
we were intending
to be pure,
we were not supposed
to be found wanting.

There is light on your arms,
light coming out of your mouth and out of your breasts,
and out of your vagina and eyes and anus,

I want to brush the light away
so you can have darkness and sleep,

but wherever we go now
we carry this light within us

and even to ask for darkness
makes the light shine.

Come to this place.
When you hear the voice, you believe in the speaker.
When you feel the caress, the long-forgotten, the almost mythological
caress of fingers against your face,
you believe in her, in him… In him… In her…

The voice is a call, it is almost savage with memory.
Summer whelms up like a doomed ship
from green depths, strung with rank weeds and with
small white, star-shaped flowers in the mist…
Ghosts emerge, floating on the surface like translucent gulls.
And for a moment, everything levitates:
all that was heavy and inevitable
floats once more, is cast back from cold bronze
to a time before the metal slept into its mould,
before the narcosis set in,
before the summer went down with us kissing,
with a kind of stealth, with all hands…

That was in the time before we were lovers.
You were still young and nude, kind of stupidly hopeful.
Those were the days before we went into the Titanic Bar,
and the rain fell and the dogs ran in packs through the streets,
before the trees settled into their giant mood,
and the tragic became the fashion —
it was a time back, before you were vicious,
a saint of necessity with your flowers and your negation,
when love for you was still possible,
and the world was still sufficiently real
for you to desire it into being again
morning by morning as the years went by
spellbound into singing…
come to this place — come,
come to this place…

Golden Years by Bowie on the stereo.
Whop whop whop
When you hear the voice, the voice is calling.
You turn, and there they are.
You are a luscious ghost. Don’t cry, don’t cry.
Even your dead tears are more real than mine.
No need to cry: you had your incandescence and your fear,
go back to the others now,
nuzzle against them, rest your face against your lover’s.
Whop whop whop
These are more clinical hours,
shotguns for the foals and does.
Whop whop whop
Don’t try to move through the wire,
or insinuate your glowing flesh through the grille,
it is live, you will be sent back
immediately to where you came from.
It is too late for you:
this is not your element, not your clime:
you should have done what once you threatened
when you had power and were stupid and ruthless
with petroleum and air…
Nothing’s going to stop us
Now you are disembodied, a thing of drips and hankering,
a loitering spirit haunting the frequencies and the bars,
an electric skitter between commercials,
some fuzz and scratch between the tracks…
Nothing’s going to stop us
Still, though, I know you cannot quite recede,
cannot go back, though no one really needs you anymore:
still, you find you are attracted here;
still, you feel your way through, and you
come to this place…

What did you say? What? What is it, now?
Are you speaking to yourself?
Is this what the voice of a ghost
sounds like? How pitiful, the sweetness still
haunting your movements through the July rain.
Are you calling out?
Is this the nature of your call?
Is this all you have? Is this all that is left?

Are you still here? Still out there, looking in?
I wish we had ended a long time before.
Do you remember? Is that why you came back?
In Shirishofsik, where the empty white sailing boat came ashore
three years ago, and I could not sleep and sleep?
Although I wanted to sleep and sleep?
Whop whop whop
And we mulled over the gorgeous dregs of our love,
knowing that things could only get more bitter?
That now was the time to stop.
But we were so entangled in each other,
with years of love, like two vines,
any movement by one would lead to a pulling and a chafing
upon the other, we were Siamese with routine
and with the life we had lived within each other
and with tendrils of association so long and coiled and fine
when I stroked your hip somewhere far away
in time I touched your lips and we disturbed
beads of rainwater on the leaves of a summer birch…

So there was rainwater in our hair.
And flagrant pussy willow along the banks of the river.
I could smell spring everywhere on you.
We lay down in that little chalet,
I didn’t realise that our kiss would send down roots in us
fiery with grief, and tenacious with a hate
which was full of rips and wounds and which yet
we desired almost more than separation,
because hate for each other still meant
we were together, still bonded, still joined,
still greater in our musky Gestalt
than in our cool discreet pieces…
So we stayed on long into a love which was dying
like a season, trying to believe
we could perpetuate our summer for the life.
Even then, we knew we were frequenting ruins.
Like foxes in Japanese ghost stories, living in ruins…

From the long poem, Come
Denial | When the volts flowed

Dripping wet.

The day, hidden within the day, so shy.
So take it out, take it out.
A hand has laid a tiny silver bell
on each of my shoulders
and they’re ringing, very fast, like a fluttering of wings.

Green, vivid, the groove, the furrow, with slick lightning,
which brought us together,
rain on roads, the tarmac
with the blue-white sheen of shining storms.

Poppies like parachute silk, pull the ripcord.

Lips, dripping wet, in the stillness,
just before the word came.

Umbrellas like barnacles, clean the hull.

Beach huts of lemons and pinks, crayon, primary —


In summer, in Suffolk,
manganese and the roads like veins of ore,
a crystallisation of chlorophyll,

then a faltering, a drip, a leak, like a clock.

Sand on the floor and sand in our shoes.

Look, what we have taken out:

look, what was hidden inside us.

You put your mouth on mine,
I’m breathing with you,

and the bells which are like wings on my shoulders

stop ringing…

A domestic scene drenched in alcohol,
the gulls nearly take your fingers: you’re slow.
You call it loyalty,
but maybe you’re just afraid
to turn your back on her?

Not how she looks at you,
but how she looks away.
As they’re forced to run for cover
to shelter in doorways or under trees,
ah, they’re a little too tired,
all the wonder has turned to tears,
no more ammunition for his azure bubblegun.

An insect folds its wings inside a shabby rose,
it senses what you never can.
A last flight before the airport’s closed
taken over by the demonstrators,
she stares at you when you miss the train.

No one told her the secret of the chrysalis.
You realise you love her
and to the fading pim-pom of the announcer’s chimes
too late it dawns on you that you will never master
the art of leaving just in time.

It’s coming.

There is an extra bone in my back,
just at the top of the neck,
and the bone is made of light.

As your perfume anticipates you,

your horizon is a stroke of hands.

My heart is still young. It’s still opening,
like a flower. And it won’t close, it can’t,
not while you’re near me —
you hold the petals apart.

Even to the night and the cold.

Even to the moon and the seeds.

With your long fingers and your want.

Even to the dust and stones.

You take the bone of light out of my neck,
and I gasp.

You put back a bone of darkness,

in which rain approaches.

As a fuzz and shimmer of the needle in the groove
before the music.

Before the darkness.

Before the music.

Before the rain.

The pears in the bowl go to tiger country.
Too steep to cultivate, too wild to settle:
Man gives way there, admits defeat, walks home.
And all your moments were hung together:
like a necklace slipping off a table,
all the links go in a slither of silver —
she goes with one moment,
and with that moment goes all time.
The pears vanish and the back door slams.
The sky vanishes and grief begins.
You finger a necklace around your throat,
and she comes back again,
although it is not really her.
She puts her finger to your mouth,
but it is not really you,
and you kiss her.

So you find holes opening up where the landscape slumps.
A hole in the car, a hole in the bed,
a film which is all middle,
a doughnut-shaped cloud in your dream.
You can’t seem to admit the existence of tiger country.
You can’t let go of something which has already gone.
And you’re lost, in landslide weather,
where cities pour down into themselves
in flame-swallower summers just
when the air grows slightly attenuated with autumn.
It’s hard, when you’re in the centre of a rose
not to be a rose.
But you wander like a ghost,
searching forever to get back
something that was never there.
And then the streets rise, and she calls.