Archives for the month of: March, 2016

I think of you.

Tired out with being love, you’d like to rest for a while.
So many things have needed you to be dawn,
and, being dawn, to break.

Words, magnetised to darkness, repel you.
The brilliance of the morning passes, the words come back in,
it’s you they are attracted to.
So many words have needed you to be night,
and, being night, to fall.

I think of you.

Tired out with being human, you’d like to rest for a while.
But, falling and breaking, these things take time.
And so much time has needed you, and so little time,
the brilliance of the morning passes
almost unnoticed between the talcum, nappies and the sea.

The brilliance of the night passes.
Words, asters and mirrors connect the clock to my lips,
and I think of you.
Beached ships, and days of deserts,
tired out with being morning, you want to rest for a while.
But where can you rest? —
not even in my thoughts of you
which, being noon, strikes at midnight, and the turning stars.

The sea, talcum, nappies —
the clock of my lips whirs, Isaac is back in town.
Tired out with being Isaac, tired out with time,
you want to be Albert for a while, or Nils.
And could you cease, and my thoughts of you begin,
could you rest when I begin to think of you,
I’d share your life,
which, being shared, would not be yours.

The brilliance of mirrors fades.
The tangerine asters are not model suns,
rehearsed in the glass, with all the letters reversed.
So many things have needed to part you,
you want to rest for a while;
tired out with being needed so by death,
you want, finally, to die.

And I don’t think of you.
The asters, leant against Orion,
and the fragrant Crusoe’s footsteps
across the island of 4 a.m., talc on the bathroom floor —
so many partial things have needed you to be whole,
so many partial words,
they break you — and, in the breaking,

You think of me.

The brilliance of time passes.
Tired out with being Nils, you want to be César for a while,
or William. So much darkness has needed you,
such whole darkness has needed you to fall
and to call yourself the night,
that you think of me, you do so very softly,
as you think of daylight stars.

You call yourself the night.
And tired out with being love, you rest for a while.
So many things have ceased to live for you,
so many fragments been born from you,
I’ll call this poem Aubade,
and write it in April, in the afternoon.

You call yourself the night.
I call the night, Aubade.

I think of you.


Frail, like rain. Great, like the storm.
Frail, great one — close all the windows,
there’s a storm outside.

There’s love outside.

Frail, like rain. Great, like the storm.

There’s twilight outside —
and in the twilight, a line of five palm trees
rise against the horizon.

Frail, like a moment. Great, like time.

There’s love inside.
Frail, great one — storm — close all the shutters,
there’s someone waiting outside.

There’s someone moving inside.
And through them, across them,
fine white sand is being blown like smoke:
you jump a little as the curled flakes of walnut shells
stir in the air, and begin to slide over the table;
and the sprinkler system comes on
at the exact moment the first few drops begin falling.

Great, like the stars. Frail, like light.

There’s nightfall outside.

There’s a voice outside —
and, in the voice — calling — words among palm trees
hushing against the horizon.

Frail, like a wave. Great, like the sea.
Frail, great one — calm — open all the shutters,
the storm is over.

I’d like to give you every word there is,
but there’s too little time —
and I have only the frailest words — poems —
that bend their thin shoulders
under the weight of the great world
and tremble a little.

Frail one, my Palm,
I have only blades of grass, or the pale, plastic, celestial blue
of the top to a bottle of Evian —
I have only seconds, or cracks, not years, or ‘reign’.
All the rest have gone, and we cannot use them now.
This is all there is — these are the end —
there are no others. And — humble, dronelike —
these are the ones which have come to us,
their backs bent, trembling a little.

Take my words, dispense with them.
Crush them, shatter them, use them, forget them.
They’re frail, but only for you.
They’re great, but only when you have gone.

When two hours meet, the clock chimes in the squat church tower
and mingles them with bronze.
When two hours meet, they meet in the bell.
Then the hours leave each other,
and the bell falls quiet.

When two words meet — frail, great one —
they meet like this.

And then there’s a sky, which is great, like a sky.
There’s the lighthouse on the point,
standing under the sky — Barrenjoey.
There’s the pale blue plastic lid from an Evian bottle,
the silver nutcrackers — memory — among the shells.
There’s the ocean, which is always leaving — it says — tomorrow.
And there’s a voice, which is always staying — it says — today.

Yesterday, there was a voice, which — we said — could never end,
it can only begin. And there was a word — it says,
now — which lies on your voice the way
a cloud lies on the wind. And then there’s darkness
on the point, and the shirr of waves in the darkness.
There’s the faint sound of a catarrhal Volkswagen engine — Barrenjoey.
There’s the road itself, heading towards the rocks and the horizon.
And then there’s a sky, which is great, like a sky.

I don’t want to give you every word there is —
but only these words — sieved out and modest, and sure.
When two words meet, frail one, great one,
the world bends its back under them
and trembles a little.

Take my words, carry them a little way.
Keep my words forever for their aftertaste
of misfortune and smoke.
Keep them for their silence.
Keep them for their duration — frail one —
carry them for their fragile sky.

Yelling one, crying one, stamping one, peaceful one.
Keep me for my duration.

Great one. Frail one.
Great as the wave. Frail as the sea.

What? The tip of a cloud and the tip of your tongue:
pale blue Chinese doors from A Touch of Zen

but did they go through? I can’t remember.

What? I wanted to say: I wanted…
What was it you said, instead of what you wanted to say?

I want to travel. I want to see fireflies.

We kiss on the threshold of memory.
I kiss you as if I can set you alight,

burn you to nothing, you won’t need to do anything more.

But what? What was it? A haze, a soft rehydration of water sprinklers…
Humid clouds near the horizon, piled like damp muslin:

To go places. You know, I’ve never seen fireflies.

Still, though, what was it? I was right on the edge of it…
Why would it never quite resolve itself

into perfection? Why is it never quite clear?

You put my body out like a light, to a sound of lawnmowers
droning like bombers, blew it out

when the curtains drifted sand and shadows in summer.

Yet… There’s still something left to burn.
What is it? In the ashes of Troy, Troy again, Troy the second and the third,

Troy the fifteen millionth…

Is love so destructive? No, not at all.
You just have to realise

what it means to see fireflies.