Archives for the month of: February, 2016

Although the genie is a slave,
there is also a slave belongs to the genie.

Crack open the guts
of a pomegranate: it is a mine — go down.

Diamonds, emeralds, sundry other gems:
bring out of them

silver green leaves from cabbages,
dust from a battered butterfly’s wings.

Bend to the earth: look closer.
Keep the ribbon of air between your lips

fresh and tart so the words
burn just a little, then you can’t sleep.

Not want but must for you.
Not may but must, not wish, must.

Drudgery among wild violets:
de-tick white doves, use more bleach in the toilet.

No time off from ladders of finicky silver,
carry the sack of her kiss back home with you.

No, the wolves are not your friends.
The end with the waves, no end for you.

Conventional bric-a-brac of bourgeois affairs,
limp sentiments of the innocent —

you can have those, if it pleases.
Toil a whole life for such bon-bons, such dregs.

Closing across the bay, music from floating parties
washes and booms: you have a coil

of darkness and silence to wind,
don’t wait up, I may not be back tonight.

Steal a love letter from our Master?
Hide in an almond shell, bloat in a pool,

pore over the elegant, perfumed lies,
dream of Dolores or Hank,

orgasms fashioned from craft and champagne,
to be a cunning fool, lost in fake happiness!

Stairs of pearl to the alley, back of the restaurant:
smoke with the sous-chef, listen

to the city grind and sigh.
At the heart of the clouds, where the little girl sings

polish the molecules,
get them to shine more, shine, no, more yet.

I have made your blood ink, tonight,
crushed black for a new venture I have in mind:

loneliness where our Mistress dances,
hours holding her coat, together,

near as we ever get.

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Under the journeys, under the ashes,
before the brochure and the visitors,
the kitchen is fine.
Spacious, light,
marble worktops with expensive appliances,
the black electric cords, obedient to power,
the convenience, the sheer substance
comforts me.
This is a good place for living,
and not so far from the waterfall.

I have no story to tell,
I always come back to the hands and the eyes,
the touch and the glance,
the failing touch, the next glance,
and so on.
You don’t love me as I deserve to be loved,
I know that’s not uncommon.
I have no conclusion to reach.
I have no blame to apportion.

The nursery, with the mobile
of birds, I think they are gulls.
You used to make them sing.
We used to make them spin.
One of her first words was “birds”.
A lovely, calming powder blue
for the walls, white skirting boards,
picture rail and ceiling:
bare waxed timber for the floor,
a rug with cream and crimson,
our own small portion of Persia.

The lovely turns to lonely,
alder trees come.
One ends up with tautology:
I am what I am,
it is what it is.
We are what we are.
We were what we were.
The well with the donkey,
the mountains where they cling
so darkly to their fables.
Recidivism. Altarpieces. Shame.

Old, long-barrelled muskets mounted
above the fire:
in a museum, fly-spotted cards bearing information,
waxwork figures, anvils, axles, cables, kegs.
We carry our subjects with us:
the view down the valley to the sea,
the wars and plagues that sweep like tides,
the famous castles, my hands
stroking through your loins,
parting the lips to heather and startled deer,
rivers to form new borders.

That white farmhouse we could see from the train,
yes, so white against the green in spring,
the white-painted bricks,
the building a kind of island,
the lush vegetation, surrounding, so green, as if waiting.
The murmur of the days,
our ways of spendthrift and ignorance.
The skull, a hive: thoughts, bees.
That makes honey… What?
Or am I being too elaborate?
I have a story to tell,
but I won’t tell it.
In the heart, sometimes, acid;
sometimes loam, or salt, or skin.
The master bedroom, too, is fine.

Planting dead trees.
Scarecrows in the great wide fields
deter the skeletons of birds.
Watch me undress,
I won’t stop at my skin.
Why don’t you watch me?

The beauty salon is busy.
In the tanning salon,
Vittorio in goggles sprawls.
They have left their guns with the concierge.
Police photograph the victims;
later, the police will be victims.

Mice scoot around silver
cutlery on the banqueting table;
later, they rot.
In the seminar room,
we rearrange the bones,
take out eyes and change their colour,
replace them with replicas of glass,
shoo assassins from the giant malls:
we wonder about our bodies.

The graves are clean:
the wombs are clean, too.
Chevrolet will be big this year.
On freshly mown lawns
we chat and flirt
in the new, young sunshine.
It’s all still good, right? Everything remains
essentially as before?

Aircraft taxi on the runways,
the airspace is lush and free.
There are many journeys to be taken,
but no journeys given back.
Eating wax apples.
A picnic with still squirrels.
Note the brushwork.

What is wrong with this society,
no revolution in the air?
We’ll take in a film,
walk by the river,
no trains of Jews,
but the swan, motionless,
and the water
in secret motion.

By now, the magician’s a memory.
You move over me with the smoothness
of the shadows of clouds over land
or sea, I am not a sea… You move…

I try to catch at clouds.
You’re thoughtless you say, as tears slip calmly down,
and you tap my forehead so gently
with the tip of your finger.

Somewhere, it’s raining over an unsettled bay.
I kiss you, it’s a kind of search:
we’re looking for something, but I’m not sure
what it is I only want to go on searching
your beautiful mouth, and my God is a wish
now, to kiss you forever.

I think of you. I’m kissing someone else,
it’s you, I’m kissing…
Where are you? How in this tiny, stupid world
could I lose you, when you were the rain
which caught me, whispered in the open,
drenching me in seconds, making me happy?

It has gone. My fingers caress
a different stranger. She sighs, she turns,
she’s beautiful and kind, she says just inane things,
and I’m bored. Outside,
a sky of ancient, quotidian blue is cloudless,
without a single tendril or crevice
of cirrus, and nothing, it seems, can move in it.
So how does the magic go on?

I reach over to kiss you,
looking for the heart of vanishing.

Sunset comes loose from sunrise
you find a day like a hole where all the other days fell in
nightingales where you woke alone
their wings breaking petals from wet plum blossoms

Silver monads of bubbles in a mineral water rise
the island on Solaris which is a dacha in Russia
a dream of home in exile
You are too tired to care if the dream is real or not
You’re too tired to keep dreaming for long, anyway

Places where men begin to grow selfless
where time goes down on its knees before space
the bus-driver whose route this was for years
stepped out of his cab one day and shot himself beside the wheatfields
the crops which go on for hundreds of miles
the roads flat and straight for hundreds of miles
no need to deviate, nothing to deviate from
for hundreds of miles

And maybe that day he wondered
How is it possible to harvest these volumes?
Maybe he feared
the wheat was winning
Perhaps he saw at last
all the farmers overwhelmed by their own grain

Motel monogatari, yes, the gassy host in green lamé
Tales of John Doe, Tales of the Entirely Expected
a beer at the bar with complimentary matchbook
Junk TV, x number of channels
a suitcase with passport schedules timetables
Eventually everywhere turns into a small town
On the bathroom floor in talc footprints of a passing stranger
All the small towns are islands
All the moments grow seas

You have lost so much, you begin to forget what you’ve lost
so you lose it twice over
If you could lose everything
maybe you could begin again?

A scent of aviation fuel the heat of the tropics
your heart is a plane and it beats
the sky or the runway
If you could believe in somewhere maybe you could find yourself?
If you could believe in yourself, maybe you could stay
until the morning?

At that moment, the bond was broken
and all the journeys we had ever made
melted into thin air
For so long, we had casually assumed the night
Like a burning map
Certain axioms of the heart

I have saved up for you
the end of another immense day
in summer with blank miles of sky
an airliner at an angle over the poplar trees
leaving four slow trails of vapour
It is just what is left of our kiss
All those journeys belonging to others
Like frost in a spiderweb
A different arrangement with hope

Then the sky lies heavy on the wheat
Then there is wheat dust and the sky still
As if the metal is molten
but there is no mould
like a wish
for days you’ve already lived
Is this the night?
Some things vanish because they grow
into other things
Some things just vanish

Only after the disaster did it become apparent
how deeply we had burrowed down
into the system of our own lives.
The malls stretched on for miles.
And they were like Japanese girls from an opera,
truly, just like dolls,
clutching their bags and wrapped up in their shawls,
and all falling asleep at the same time on the train.
The tv channels spread out around us
like electric prairies,
but there were no real horses
and all the soil was gold.

Once the initial euphoria had passed
and we thought we had been saved,
it slowly dawned on us
that this was how we must end our days,
separated from the others,
furnishing our graves,
with no chance of surviving love,
lost in an undersea film,
left in waiting rooms to leaf through magazines
or to wander for years through a world of caves.

It doesn’t matter that it’s not real you said
If you never imagine something new
how can anything change?

Your skin on the nape of your neck was warm
and the fine dark hair like filaments in a flame buckled up
attuned to my lips and I think I was happy
I put my arms around you and held you
and the room grew still
except for the dust floating in the sunlight
and the spray of scent from the atomiser
settling on us both
It doesn’t matter you said

My hair has grown, it’s long now and I haven’t shaved
in a while I lie on the floor
I wait for the pain which will remind me
I am alive and my life is passing
but it doesn’t come
I don’t come

I lay awake long into you
I couldn’t tell you apart from the night
When you’re naked there’s nowhere else for the world to turn
but to you and to lay down its head like a child
No one could be more naked than you
The stars fill you when you sleep you turn over and spill them
Some of those stars have already died and their light
reaches us

Perhaps ghosts are like that light? I said
Or perhaps we are you answered…