Archives for the month of: April, 2017

Thoughts move over a day | The shadows of clouds move across a landscape | touching | neither the earth nor the sun

Clouds moving over an April sun | Thoughts of empire or starfish / Exiles from a city of light / shadows banging at the gates / asking to be let in again / begging for a little lukewarm saltwater or a golden crown

Starfish shadows | Five-pointed words, giving them edge | Eyes move over a poem, and words | touch

As for these clouds, drifting across an empty pixel sky, they touch | nothing


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


Rain thoughts in April | Reflected in puddles after a sudden storm, the August sun | A boat’s wake settles | Cars shear through standing pools of water | The space of passing time is elided | The present asserts its magical world, perpetually convincing us to obey | its quietest orders

After all of these things, and none of them | the months elapse, the street | melts back into the street again

What you see before you now | has been magically asserted | Forever at the salience of the moment | your hand upon an open door, you never notice | the silence at the back of the words | or the shadow | at the back of the mirror

Rain thoughts in April…


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

They brought violence | their way | of negotiating the world | The architecture of the statement had them | the white domes | in the dry hills | and the desert drew us | with its super-clear skies and ample | locations for graves | We had outsourced the war | and kept ourselves to ourselves | not even each other | The blank, neutral peace of tulips | in cream ceramic vases | punctuated our hysteria | our hysteria sustained | at such an even, moderate pitch | we mistook it for balance | and the cars were particularly beautiful, too | In the later days, even graves had graves | the authorities | buried the survivors of the old regimes | who, in turn, had buried | their predecessors | and the rebels | dug up the buried and scattered their remains | the parts | were ground down | bones dis-assembled to fume and powder | very fine | hardly distinguishable | from dust | Somehow a mosquito | survived in the cab of the van | and bit you on our drive | towards the facility | the telescopes | pointed to the ancient centre | the source | of our major moment | the most delicate | flying edge of the waves | flung | foam | She needed | your blood | for offspring she would never achieve | she fed | off nectar and water | she had her instructions | filed in her genes | all she was doing | was obeying | what choice did she have? | It took hours | to get to the club | but it was worth it | the DJs were great | they built a mellow, funky vibe | and the crowd was good | really chilled | eclectic mix | of people | all different origins and persuasions and | identities | Youth had come here | to express hope | and to make and to share | pleasure | and I was sure | no one was thinking of the end | the grooves were optimists | We began with the heart | and worked outwards | we didn’t start | from an idea | the ideas | came to the heart’s beat | and tried, and are still | trying | to work it out | that simple thing | I texted you about the bombs | but I think you were out | of network coverage | you know how things go mad | at times like these | I thought our love was like | one of those tracks you can’t | get out of your head | for days | months | years | Dusting for fingerprints | and finding traces | the house | folded into a single | point of ultra-fine light | and on the broad white sills | painted by immigrant workers | the exploded fireworks | of wilted tulips | rested their flaccid petals | of China red | no time | ticking | anymore | For the lucky | there were graves | for the rest | they simply disappeared

Spring came, with its ultimatum | We felt we had to decide | There was a strange evening, when your fortune cookie read | You will die alone and poorly dressed | we wondered about it | maybe | more than we should have done? | At nightfall, there was the usual pile up | of anxieties | I found it hard to sleep | I’d been bitten | by a mosquito | my arm itched | and then the beat came again | no one could resist it | the dance floor filled | arms were raised and hands performed | sinuous curls and waves | and, oh, I don’t know | I had a feeling as we | brushed up against each other | that life would be good | we’d make our mark | that people were good | that we were good | and the music was telling us | to defer | in the most gorgeous way | our great decisions | that for now we would dance, but tomorrow | we’d make our start on forever


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

Frankly, lost | There are postal addresses for this | phone numbers | forms to fill in | Civic authorities to process the matter | Space Age fins on an old American car, a washed-out peppermint | green | A bleached-out photograph, a silver bracelet on a slender wrist, the hand on the great wheel, a girl with cherished blonde hair, very straight and the point the scene | gives way to another scene || All those caresses | mostly trailed back to | an order of acceptance, taken for granted, but a few | of high luminosity | with their specific dazzle | leaving you quizzical, hinting at | secret gardens or thoughts | that might end up | tipping you into some sublime quandary || Dead ends | Any way out | The moon, very slowly and methodically | swallowing goats or moths, whatever – living things, and | mountains, roads through the mountains, signs on mountain roads, and suchlike || Losing my voice | so suddenly | and the speed of it | and the totality | gave magic back to the words I couldn’t speak, as if | I had accidentally | dropped a lamp and | mislaid a genie I | never knew I had || It’s so quiet | where the signs rotate and slip | off into other signs || Information is destiny | ask anyone who | gives directions

Crematoria | debt collection agencies | police forces | fire services | whatever the event, we have | structures in place | to deal with these matters | We tune the flames, tame the bodies | A dead end? | Drive back, hear the engine | make that particular sound | in reverse | check your phone | you have an app | Plastic bags to | contain waste | detectives | to solve or not | solve the crimes, and | criminals to | commit the crimes | We have critics and reviewers | the shadow under the famous bridge | perhaps a few sparks of notoriety | We have time to go over these things | time not to care very much | about most things || Tied my old boots to the | tail of the lightning | Recurrent | mules, packed high with their burdens | girls slipping off airliners | or dusty mountain tracks | Scattered, irrelevant episodes | they flock into our fold and we call them years | Walking out, and not coming back | playing to your weaknesses | He called it “failure” | the ambient glory of his life, the stuttering | beauty of his friends | the memories of lovers | who left him wondering | what he was and where | he might go next || Any way out | although it was April and the maps were | up-to-date | they said he was confused | asked for directions and was told | go left, smiled and nodded, then | went right


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

He found himself, as ever, on the edge of words | As a child, he’d had a small tin globe, still pink with empire, but there was yellow and turquoise. The two hemispheres, north and south, could be separated along a gripped and twisted equator, and turned into bowls of silver on the inside, a planet on the outside, decorated as if the colourful design on a Montgolfier balloon had slipped and drifted awry.

For some reason, the globe had been removed from its plastic axis, dismantled, and was being stored at the bottom of a wardrobe, a world of obscurity, scented with camphor | His memory wasn’t clear, there were also the nettles, the sheds, the apple trees | A lake, very calm and still, she thought it might be from a film: it seemed so peaceful, as if it had accepted, without regret, all of its drownings.

Placed into storage, objects enter a voyage-like state, an abeyance of locality, which, from the human side of things at least, belongs to the unseen, the untouched, the forgotten. Such objects are set outside the benevolent maze of our consciousness, and can’t even be said to be lost. Entirely without thought — is this a sad fate? | She hurried to finish the day’s entry in her journal. She was fascinated by the words brocade and damascene, although her reflections that evening were focused on bereavement and perfection.



from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

So the plane began to carry me away from you
That’s immaterial someone had just said
and the word fluttered in my mind like a single petal
come loose from a blossom twists in the air
I felt as if I might never see you again
I couldn’t hold you in my arms in the sky
We climbed and banked out over the ocean
then went into the clouds
Now I have to deal with the sky
One of your kisses is the silence up here
after the vapour trail has faded

You were in an old moss green silk dress
I stroked your arm
You knelt on top of me
Did you know that silk is stronger than steel I said
Then why don’t they build skyscrapers out of it? you asked
You kissed me
so we wove what we had from a moment
I wondered what the thread of that kiss could bear
Later, I found out

I was dreaming
The deer in the woods, one of them, a stag
with the face of an old friend
Even when I woke
I felt light-headed
and the day passed with the Zen seamlessness of dreams
There was a deer in the garden
nibbling at pine shoots
You phoned me and suddenly I was filled with sky

At high altitude over China
I heard your voice
when you were in tears
We’ve passed through oceans together
and been rolled for years among the waves
I didn’t understand
why there was no salt left on our skin
no taste of it
not a single grain

In thought’s zero-G
above the clouds
the skyscrapers float empires drift deer graze
among the constellations
of stars and stars
which have no names
The cities left behind the cities to come
caught in the night flight
look the same
lit webs of memory
I missed you so much
I couldn’t get back to you
There seemed no end
to a love that was homeless
to a love that had once been home

She was in the habit of forgetting things | Two lines of ants, making their way | to and from | the discarded half | of grapefruit | She loved his stillness, the knack he had | of growing poised | as if he were sitting | for a study | by a famous artist | The book in his hand | How the mirror in the bedroom | fashioned the sunlight on clear mornings | in spring | The plectrum | for her guitar

Where do you draw the line? | For the past few months, he felt as if | he had been | falling off a cliff, but that now, at last | the ground was || It was a beautiful painting | looking away | seemed a minor sin | but what could you do? | Still, the wheat swallowed him | and the crows cast such smooth shadows | as they flew

The train had bundled up a collection of lives | wrapped them in carriages | When their love was at its most acute | it felt almost unbearable | She had the sense | her life was being densely | packed with intensely | important things | the gleam | of the edge of a button | on his jacket’s sleeve | the feel | of the brush | as he pulled it | slowly through her hair | He realised there was something terribly wrong | when she wasn’t there | at the airport | to meet him

Clothes drifting out of style | Windfall fruit | Ghost towns | Washing left overnight | on the line | How her lips tasted | coated with rum | His passion | for Scandinavian bands | Blue plastic tongs | at the picnic site | Novels you leave off | part way through | Not quite saying | what he meant | The trapped | ant’s antenna’s last | twitch | as the sun | slips away | and the amber | hardens



from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

One by one, closing the books of the days | Not this story, now | And no longer this tale | of doubt and grief and treachery | The library in the head | ticks in the heat | in summer | ticks from its venerable | squeezebox radiators | in winter | Sometimes it fills with water, and sometimes | with fire | or jonquils | The children are there | and old people | with their silver and plants | wars and recipes | It is a strange | paradox | as the collection | grows, so | the collection | diminishes | Not so often | the genie visits | the deer | gaze across the lake | the beautiful girl | adds you as a friend and then | vanishes into April, 1984 | There is less romance, there are more | maintenance manuals and | flow charts to help you | understand the disaster or the | marvellous work of art | At night the shelves are different, but | no one ever comes back from the night | How quickly you are dying now, with the rush of | spilled ink, if | you remember that? — and the sun | breaks up against closed eyes | which veto | all the vision of that moment for | a moment… | At the very summit of the mountain | after months of climbing, you found | in the snow | your dead companions | and the bible | and this year’s flames

Yes, I read it, but | it was a while ago, and | basically | I’ve forgotten it all… | She will be there tonight | imparting the wisdom of her kindness | The boy will be there | with his gadgets and all the impetuous | rush of spilling spirit, COME ON! | The girl will be there, she will | show me a beetle she | stole from Eden, an ivory box | carved with images of Jane Austen or Dulce María Loynaz, and I will | pretend to steal | that box from her, and tell her “It’s what great | poets do” || The mountain is so lonely without climbers | expending their lives upon its brutal flanks | I cannot | stem that nocturnal | ink | slipping out all over | the floor and | draining down | through cracks in the floorboards | and I think “A lot of words | were hidden in that | broken bottle, their young bodies | never formed to tears or praise” || In the morning | I try to compile their beauty | once again, but | I always fail! | The car | needs fixing, I check | the manual, and the Ark | bumps up against rock || A genie | looks over my shoulder, as I | ponder the exhaust | At night | I am taken in there, but once in there | you never come back


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

Under his old hand the diamonds fizz and coruscate, infinite riches touched by passing skin.

The hand is mayflies and daddy longlegs, the diamonds retain their cool and pointless integrity forever | Sometimes, though, a stranger may pour a few sensations over them, so they | leap to a scent of seawater, are flushed with the nostalgia of childhood beaches, the taste / of hot sand.

How lovely, the migration of his touch across these calm and lucid stones, the snow | pocked with steaming balls of dung, reindeer in their urgent herds, or / glimpsed from a nondescript sidestreet / the unheard wingbeats of geese travelling at altitude across a city near dusk.

An immortal silence grounds the diamonds, but the movement of his hand | brings the crackle of flames and a woodfire snap to their edges, tempting them to warm themselves and even to sing.

Inert and radiant, the diamonds await our darkness and our pelting heat | our sparkling storms of instants / our fuzz and scrape of pentagrams and Keats and curled pieces of dried orange peel | our confusion, a true story.

In a flat in Battersea, the diamonds stay | His hands are long gone, but once they let the diamonds hear – if only for a moment – the whorling lisp of far-off waves, and feel | how his heart pounded as he ran along the shore / his eyes half closed and the sea / a shaking firmament of dazzle: how he was | chasing stillness.

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

Somewhere, now, someone is saying the word, ‘love’.
Perhaps a lover, or a father.
And the syllable is forming in their mouth
like rain forms over a city,
or a stone forms over time.
Somewhere, now, someone is saying this word, ‘love’.

They lay the word down like a fragile keel.
Eye it, like the clear, suspended tear in a spirit level.
The sound it makes, a river returns to,
drinking from a human hand.
Love is a word of navigators.
Love is a hot plumb,
adolescent, masonic, and metropolitan.
Love is the dirt we walk on.

Somewhere, now, someone is saying the word, ‘love’.
They’re saying it over and over –
like a bell inside a spire, it tells time
to go away, to come back again another day.
Or maybe they’re cutting love’s deep mark, violently, into the sky
for all the drifting clouds to see
and steer by.
Or they set it down, like a glass of red wine,
on a raft of bare floorboards,
in a large, empty room
where, on a second-hand rug
of scarlet cashmere, a sea,
their lover is waiting.

They’ve brought this word from so far away.
Have carried it, from outside of us, in.
They’ve crossed their whole lives, like deserts, to reach it.
Have found love, belonging to no one.
Have flipped through its lexicons.
Have revived love, moment to moment, with years between,
with one ragged kiss
struck like a spluttering, sulphurous match.
Like divers, they have retrieved love
from strange depths, more endless than mirrors,
have reached down for its ancient, maritime stench,
have blazed like tiny, panting gills
beached upon its giant, respiring littoral.

Love is a silent letter, preceding even ‘a’, chasing ‘z’…
Love is a Red, an insurrectionary, out in the streets,
shaking the whole state.
Agent provocateur, love changes orders.
And lovers become places of such great tenderness
they’ll take the rain itself under their wing,
and the violent storm will run to them, alone
among the scattering heels,
and take shelter.

Love personifies the night.
Love is the way you know
the falling snow will call your name once,
forever, but no more.
Loves dissolves the same
world into another:
you notice sparrows tussling in pines for the first time,
gape at the shadows of clouds moving over the ground;
you try to concentrate, get your head clear,
but your mind is fuzzy and singing,
and bristles like a magnet,
bashed and stunned with the things it’s attracting,
unable to stop, not wanting to.

And lovers wait in their special way,
while all the world goes by,
in cafés and railway stations:
love itself is a form of assignation –
(but with what? When? With whom?)
Like a poem you may carry with you,
love is a garden among styrofoam cups
and the mocha zeros of coffee,
the porters and trolleys, luggage and beggars:
love is the catalyst and the hour.

Love puts together what was never broken.
So we may find the heart outside,
love waits beyond us, a wave, a direction.
Love is not an image,
but is to stand on both sides of a closed door:
in saying ‘I love you’
we use a metaphor.
And somewhere, now, someone is saying this word, ‘love’.

I have heard the sound of machines dreaming.
In the clock factory, they fit
cog to hammer, and wheel to wheel.
One day their little robot hands may slip
and change the nature of an hour forever,
and we may lose the habit of eternity.
Meanwhile, the night wears on,
and though the watchman is sleeping,
still, they are making good time.