Archives for the month of: March, 2017

The serene world of electrical circuits and steel stanchions and railway lines | unagitated by running deer or by wonky metaphysics | The marble floors of stations, these are hands | A spew of wires from servers, these are eyes | Dawn over the city, gold tips church vanes and temple pinnacles | The girl whose body | was turning to crystal | inside her | The dates, the names, the maps, the graves: ancestral data | pixels and vellum | limestone and Indian ink | that is to say | inanimate things | Their trail leads to the heart of the problem | Archaeologists of the future may stumble on | the factory | where sometimes there are workers, regulations concerning the control of dust; sometimes | there are stains and pools | where water has entered the building after long neglect, and sparrows nest among the girders | The mineral creep of semen, the relation of ideas to stone | The great cemeteries of the living brain, each idea a grave | The great hospitals of the living brain, each idea a child | Coffins and cots, coffins and cots…

It had been a long bus journey, and she’d dozed in a room with dark red roses on cream wallpaper, then woken, half, then slipped away into the ordinary, dimensionless world of sleep again, then woken… | Why was she dreaming so much? | The bus rumbled and droned around her, and the vehicle’s ambient vibrations ran through her body, cupped her / She felt terribly deflated | Love was over for her, she would never love again | Now there was just sorting through things, so many | things | Moving articles around in the morning | storing them | maintaining them | keeping them clean | disposing of them when they ceased to work | She would have to think, to be hurt, to deal with colleagues at work, but without love | it was more arranging of atoms, obedience to rules | She would function, she would appear | She would fulfill her obligations, fill out the forms, pay her taxes, vote, but without love | there was a zombie quality to these events | the tiny, hot, raw purpose of her life had gone, and with it | the beginning and the end, from now on | her story would be all middle | digression, back-story, but it would all | be oddly plotless | There would still be tides, still be Jupiter and Neptune, her flat would still have a number, a post-code, but without love | she would be absent from her own world, there would just be translucent husks of routines and motions | Instincts would flicker like dials, reminding her | she was most certainly alive, but her heart | was disconnected, now, it had fallen into the world of orbits and mass, velocity and inertia, other people’s laws | The bus rumbled | Rumbled, rumbled… | The traffic thickened, the bus slowed, idled | Why was she dreaming so much? | While she slept, she was young, and she was in love

 

 

 


from Semapolis | City of Signs (series of poems, unfinished, 2012–present)

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for Si, Jo, Louise and James

What do we ask of the word?
That it be strong, and fine, and straight
like a flute,
that it may bear us
as light as music
across the silence?

What do we ask of the word?
That it be true? That it sing us to sleep sometimes,
and sometimes wake us?
That it will wait for us
like a nightingale in a fairytale
in an opening in the forest
and lead us
home when we were lost?

What do we ask of the word?
That it be real? That it remain for us
after all the silence of life is over
and a new, dark noise begins?
Or that it shape us to our own images
cool as a mirror, as mysterious, and as depthless?

What do we ask of the word?
That it may love us? That it may understand?
That it may remember us
the way a score remembers music
so when the new musicians play
we are revived again
warm, where the lips
hover over the silver?

What do we ask of the word?
That it do our bidding? That it move with us
like a Lord or a song?
That it give us power? That it carry us
the whole distance across a child’s smile
or an ocean, seamlessly and with no obstruction?
Is this what we ask of the word?

What does the word ask of us?
That we be like itself —
shy, impersonal, endless, and free.

We began with the interlude | The audience looks round at itself, pores over programmes | Soon the great work will commence once more || With the silence of statistics | sixteen per cent of the country | 4,000 children every year | the water rises and | the concert hall duly shrinks | into other matter || It was not your daughter who drowned, it was not my | land stretching on, monotonously, so flat | to the unwatched horizon

When the music begins | it fits you to its purpose | and your lover, your home, your career | make a terrible and poignant sense | but only | inasmuch | as they are | conducted by the music | ordered through the music | suspended in the music | and when the interlude comes | suddenly the floating | building of beauty | falls back to earth || and your waiting watch | starts ticking again | Then, the silence | of a great flood | takes on a | terrible and poignant | salience | and the nature of the water | is changed | as water must | seem different to you | as you drown || How quietly the land | unfolds itself | the rooks | carp and curse | It is a long time since | I gazed at the | lie of the light | pooled | in a small | dell in your wrist, and | the big mirror in the old bedroom | has the complacence of an empty plain | Here, there are no deaths, and | life is uneventful

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from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Fetching up | in the skin of a ripe | avocado | lying your eyes | on the shining blade | of a long knife | a lonely place | Unopened | letters | unclaimed cars | sitting for months in station carparks, dead | leaves caught under the wipers, guano | Shoreline | event | always | Heart master | wakes you | Taken sleeping | for thousands of miles | trailed for years | under water | Dust | slumps in | to the openings | vagina | ear | mouth | caves | in | your life | is past, yet still | passes | People remove from you | beaters, keys, portable | drives | The days are also | nights | on the island | barren beyond compare | only the volcano lives here, grows and | breathes | pursues its one aim | relentlessly | giving birth to fire and graves

Lie belly down | by a small rock pool | scoop up | in cupped palms | cold, clear water | laced with bacteria | drink, see | if your dream will end | You are given tasks, so do these tasks | Dearth, heat, dirt, a healthy | diet | Uneasy | sleeper | carving echoes | from caves and willows | secretly | far away | beneath your feet | your heart waits | with its gifts of flowers and earth | flames and sulphur | It is hungry | You feed it with fleeing | and it feeds you | this evening | with one more reason for flight

••


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Helplessly beautiful | A wave bearing wreckage | Clothes thrown around a room | Nothing a voice can do about this | Making these foolish moments, spaces inside your heart | you don’t notice as they form | don’t need to understand, and | yet, always afterwards, only ever | want to get back to

Uneasy spirits | Boats in a rising swell | tug at their moorings | Horses of nerves | start to run and then halt | uncertainly | it seems | for no reason | Children sleeping | in the clothes their parents bought for them | Butterflies | stirring in cocoons | Bodies | carried in smoothly rolling hearses | Tides | bringing us home | Watching it all | fall apart | yet | make perfect sense | Drawn in | Set out | Sitting quietly as | the high turns | low | Being what you are | observing a piece of paper | lifting and settling | in a draught | Following a calling | Unable | to stop feeling | Seeing how | the sea whorls, how gravity | drags | Belonging to the same | life as the snow | flakes | blown by the wind | past your room | through streetlights and car lights | Being together | Gaining only | more lost control | The spring | goring it all | the bull | torn on the blossom | of its own horn | Touching her face | with the tip of a finger | Not knowing | how it will end | A moment of quietness | in between storms | Unavoidably sensitive | made to be fragile | Made to go on | Thoughtlessly new | Helplessly beautiful

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from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Connecting things already connected | Taking apart things which can’t be taken | apart | Rearranging the furniture in a nirvana room | Ink, written into the stars / and the stars | written in young lovers’ kisses…

Tracking ghosts across | a city of forests | Hazy figures | gathering your life for you | Leaving signs in your dreams | In a half sleep, you open a door, and | here | let the brightest one | in


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)

Returning to a distant colour | Blue of the drained lake | Snow on imaginary mountains | the real snow | melts | Each day with its end, and the holes in the air | you slide through | Fugitive pianists, an old lover with her long fingers | Stir-frying and sorting | Trying to record | all the steps to the impromptu | haze of that evening | Weighing the mist | and the laundry | Common things | glowing | Your children | roll all their dreams towards the morning | In the stream outside, small pebbles | roll to | the blue | calm of the lake

Hands touch in | lost addresses | We mislay the mountain | find a button | Raw umber of wet mud | where fish flip and writhe | Cracked | map | and Angie almost 20 now | Baked soil | where the mercury | reaches | bones like keys | She comes | to the wedding | says little, is she | happy? | His scent, rich, pregnant | like a text | fresh from the press | We chart the sunrise | file the moon | Scales | bob and float | Phone calls to | pools of blood | Each day with its end, and the holes in the air | you slide through

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from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Taking more ghosts, the crook of the elbow | river of the glance | The centre is empty, so was the periphery: the mid-part? | empty, too… | You mean, you expected me to…? | Did you really think that I would…? | Goods stacked in the warehouse | moments stacked in a clock | You go back over the same ground, ants, rind | of a sweet watermelon | slop of pips and twigs | from ash trees | Morning raises its curtains on | the bench, the waste bin | but no actors come on stage this time | What were you thinking? | Why would I…? | Hidden, private play | obscure scene | even to the players | Planes zigzagging over the ocean | Taking a real gun | to the photo-shoot | Gestures, so heavy, they topple | like eroded cliffs | Ghosts, with no | haunting | River with no sea

You speak with forked tongue | She thought she could come to the end of her solitude, but | she let the crowd go a different way | she always takes | the quietest path | slipping left | The doomed mingle with the civilians | The privileged | look out at us from their | palace of lenses | studios with shadows of | lamps, aura of gold and plenty | of time | At the picnic, he cried and his daughter | played with the velvet pigs | too young | to notice | Your eyes don’t see your memories | nor your hands | touch the flesh | of what you lived | The wind | packs dust in its bags and | takes it away | the lipstick | crescent on the elbow, too

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from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Building a fire bridge | where no other | bridge may be made | the footsteps | are flames | and the crossing | is burning

Soft | spots | on speckled | foxgloves | across | By fire bridge, we travelled | by connecting, creating | the other side | Pistils | Murmur | Honey

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from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Beware, my friend, of people who mistake | the map for the land | Shun their company | or indulge in it only very carefully | for in essence all they do is waste their time | She broods on the secret of herself | as anyone does | but it’s her I notice | And so the sentences roll out | it is a meeting of sorts | the policy is shaped | night over the desert sands, dark Arabia | In an era of multiplying hatreds | fortunate are those who may live peacefully and read books | So sorry to be late writing this letter: if only I could tell you everything | but the carriages wouldn’t couple | the moon was full and very bright, they say | it isn’t mysterious

It wasn’t that we lost our way, so much, as that | there wasn’t a way | We slipped into a side street | like unwitting spies | Jojo was funny, as ever, he said | Someone must know where Costa Rica is | adding | Costa Ricans, presumably | Earlier, in the bedroom, as we untangled ourselves from each other | the mosquitoes were terrible | in the gloom above our heads | mothers flew, freighted with our blood | for their young | They had measured the sun into its correct position | the angle was bad for us, making it hard to read | Words aren’t the finished products | you said | They’re always prototypes, blueprints — they never turn out as we planned | Two months later, they closed the border | the victims on the wrong side | The map is not the land

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from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)