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.