Archives for the month of: August, 2017

Body floats off | feet square on the ground, but the ground | floating

Head says “work”, shape of a bull | body empties itself | body is hidden behind a thought

Body says “sinking ship”, body insists | on mass and bulk, head | asks for water

Ocean in a flask, body sleeps | but the sleep | drifts off, apart | Head surfaces, bobbing on the current, rolls and | descends and | rises

On/off—on/off—on/off—on/off—on/off… | On | Off | Body flicks the switches, head | opens its eyes | In a dream | a mound of angels | black angels and white angels | some still alive | wings broken | feathers glistening | they can’t speak, they can only | sing

Various forms of headhunter…

Body’s currents are numerous, a river delta | body floats into view | hands drifting towards London, Paris, Berlin | head is one moment the spring | of the river estuary, another moment | the sea into which the estuary flows

Shipwreck days | Old farmer | in wellington boots | carrying a bucket full of lights, lights | the things his head spat out | eels | plans for renovation

Head orders the sounds into place, sounds order body | to flow | Head floats off | on the current | body | is poured | towards a different destination | Head | tossed behind a screen | rolls out of sight, into the undergrowth

It takes only a moment | to bring a thought of mountains | to the mountains

Head very still, but body moving | body chasing butterflies


dug graves (you may have seen them?)

Water | flooding the graves doesn’t | know the graves

Head, spinning a coin of thought

Body a castle fallen, fortress, fastness | Tides and the winds | come back for their share | ask for their part and body | has no answer but “No!” and “Here!”

Head keeps body in a phial, stays up late | ignores the moon | maps out the slowly charging bull in lexicons

Head sloughs body | body after body | Head | cooks up body in a wok | tosses a sliding | disc of bodies | frying and sizzling | Head dines on body | Body | waits | hesitant in mirrors | pulls | head after it into the long grass | head | protesting but | snails tickle on temples | slime the proud | glasses of axioms

Body sloughs head | not symmetrically | head after head bouncing and falling | melting away | like fingerprints | on a train window | dab a power station or a | line of tall poplars | such | soft | impressions…

Body sure | a mute bailiwick | so ailments | know where to come | head | anguished suitor | sometimes present | sometimes absent | sometimes both | sometimes neither | wraps body | in a million | layers of cocoon

Bride and bridegroom


made beds

Head | coughs and blinks | bodies of raw | chargers | And body | on | ever enough | is never | enough | head | flees into skyscrapers and codas and postludes | prevaricates and vacillates | prevaricates in distillates | vacillates in postulates | second thoughts and afterthoughts | head | sublimates and explicates | astounds and implicates | terminates and intimidates | wonders | is it enough? | Body


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


Even the stones and the branches | flung at him | they say | recoiled from | harming | Orpheus | so | beautiful was his | music || The | nightingales come | later | the | girl in the basement | or the tube, with a copy of | Alaide Foppa’s poems | in her bag || They think that you have detached yourself from me / simply because you were born. || The river | carries his | head | in its | pocket || His fate | is common | to be | torn apart | and scattered | into the keeping | of passing | strangers

Followers of the regime, who yet | secretly adore | the works of | banned and reviled | voices | The head | after death | still singing | One day, perhaps | the voice will | fall still | and, at that moment, the vanished will | vanish forever | the surface of the | pool will | grow immobile forever and | the stones and the branches will | drop | dead to the | ground || Down | many | different roads | words drift | for now | into the passing | beauty of strangers

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

Dazed, they emerge: so long missing, it is unlikely they will ever quite shift the sense of a dream, their neighbours look at them strangely, then forgetting returns.

In chic bars, in far-off cities, gold has flowed into the rings on the fingers of wealthy, professional people: sunlight glints with the sweep of a racket, wave of a hand.

It is as if a giant fist has bashed their hometown, causing the whole settlement to buzz faintly as if still vibrating, impossible to get an accurate picture, a signal too weak, forever dropping out.

In the darkness, their skin has taken on an alien pallor: the new caress is not the old caress, enters at odd angles, cannot connect with what used to be, and lovers look unsure, smile nervously, sadly — loss has brought the foreign home, missing had become a state of mind, return too unexpected.

The blow of absence in a subterranean world has jarred their spirits, dislocated their souls — they move at subtly different speeds to all others, as if they carried the earth of the burial with them, cannot muster perfect focus, or own again the streets they pass through, show delight in the new devices.

The sirens call, the gates open, the smoke rises: it is all as it was before, but not for them. Try as they might, the trivial has engulfed their lives, their children have grown so tall yet lost weight, the ones who replaced them are callow and naive, disinterested in talk of endurance and fatigue, will not share in the promotion of legends.

In twos and threes, in small groups, in poor and unfashionable bars, they gather in shadows, seeking to eke out the precious remnants of the elapsed event — it is rare to grasp, at the time of their rising, the peak of lives, the rest must be a descent and lessening, possessing the lightness of afterthoughts, a gentle belittlement, right to the touch of babies’ skulls.

Some are not even sure if they really have survived: some — the best, or the worst — mourn the passing of the disaster, and wish a return to the darkness, regretting a death so deceptive they’d thought it home.



from the series Silver of the mine of gold (open-ended: 2013–present)

Hunters | bring in the dead things to show us | pelts of velvet brown partly | stripped off | smooth | pinks and crimsons | They show us their knives | to open the sloppy | jewel boxes for take-aways | to stews and broths | We say we wanted | living things | How true is that? | Not wholly true | We cannot | account for these | hungers, we found them | inside us, we cannot | escape them, either, no matter how we | run, and run… | Hunters…

Thoughts like gas drift through the room | They make us torpid | I have this feeling… | I want to go outside | and run and run | Find some altitude | some place away | from you and invites and porcelain | We drag in | lolling carcases | of stars | the heads of state | The clubs are full | the streets are buzzing | the city juggles pulses | I say | I want to die | but there is mist in the morning | a fresh | calm | clear and pure as the light | in a young boy’s eyes, a light | he doesn’t know | is living there, and I | am hungry…

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

It was already the end, but no one moved | as if staying in their seats after the film | like generals commanding dead divisions | The channels kept up their broadcasts | shops were full | signal was good | Soon we floated into another story | decorating our apartment, carefully | choosing the wallpaper to illustrate out taste | making love like | nesting in nothing for a few seconds | planning our holidays | Driving into the desert, Russ’s old Dodge | an olive meteor with a tail of dust, it felt | heroic, and yet | too sudden | like a hat blowing off the head | of a passenger standing at the rail | spinning up and away, into the sea | very small, and the waves | very many | On the other side | waking to a sound of gulls | then hiking for two days | all the time, feeling as if we were building | what we approached | At last, after camping on a ridge | we came to the cave system | known as The Giants’ Dreams  | Google it

Wishing the words back into life again | As if in a medieval parable, puzzling over | a choice of apparent evils | to take the road which leads | to empty success, or the path | ending in honourable failure | Looking back, things appear | less clear-cut | life’s insistence on fertility, entanglement | draws into league the saints and fools | the knaves and angels | often leaving mere mortals | marooned on isles of bemusement and rue | In any case, I soon left that town | and, swiftly | this ceased to be my story | The rhododendron forests were in bloom | the air at altitude so pure | we felt there was no atmosphere at all | Was there no hope? Of course not! | We had the young | to fashion a simpler tale | For you, though, irony grew | inescapable, like a form of gravity | Finding yourself jostled | in a crowd of hermits, forever | glancing towards the exit | while far to the north | in terrible snows | dead soldiers broke | free from their frozen posts, and reached out | to take up their frozen guns



from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

Fugitive colours | How autumn stole the sun and | roughly | a quarter of your life, lie | still against me | Tame the heat, and trail dead | tigers by their tails, a story of | poverty overcome | maraschino | cherry red in a steel town | but later | banish the personal | the forest | breathes and sings | A detective | novel | and the reader | king and queen of the | castle of sand | Even black, why not | black?

With the onset of winter | the trees are bared | So much a knife | and the cold a blade | stretch over | and kiss me, laugh your | small | snorting laugh and mumble | what sounds like | “Egg Sunday” | Curating a | flame | Trudging over | the frozen surfaces | of mile-wide lakes | a genie | wrapped in a cloth, old | burlap and moleskin | Measure of old feet | old boots | the creak of the ice | so many prizes for the plunge, why don’t you | take it? | Naked armies of the sea, far off | ride to a war on land, but you | have the castle | keep of a dry plain | and months to go before | spring sets its green | traps again…

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

Space debris | Camera | sofa | mantel with | grape black tulips | in a white | ceramic milk jug | with sky blue dots | square mirror with | precious images of | us | floating | Can we get to there, or get back | there? | An explosive | stillness | And the fuse of thought | still sparkling | with lit gunpowder | Sealed in | to the heavens’ | moment | Orbit a memory | and beneath us, as always, the rest | the spurious | other | the continental | excess | the long, hard, fertile | splurge of the world | No

Stopped the car outside | the Madonna factory | Statues stacked in yards, wrapped in crates | seconds and rejects | Rather | drowsy after | a taxing drive | Dust | trapped inside the china wombs | goats bleating down cobbled lanes, spilling | across the dying town | I half expected | chunky furred and crowned | figures from the Trecento | to populate my dreams, we’d seen | so many paintings | The vagina | ideally | uncaressed | hymen taut | the way through | unfound | like an America | or a silent moon | though she was late | as the bells | dinged out their sweet calm chimes | herd with echoes of god | inside a porcelain head | she was immaculate | Later | we parked the car off the road | in wild woods | caught by a thoughtless urge | a pinch of flash between | our thumbs and fingers | and fucked awkwardly | climbing the mountain of our little needs | such little needs | to such pure high peaks | of snow above | orgasmic clouds | And later still | much later | after the deaths | the great deaths and the little deaths | now alone | I study the exquisite skeletons | of moments | with their glistening | thistledown bones | drifting unattached | through emptying days | across gardens and courtyards | through offices and malls | on trains | in kitchens | lounges | bedrooms | on stairways | all the time | trying to grow used | to the idea | that what I see I cannot see | not as it really is | structured to its perfect point | I see my life | not space debris

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

Her lonely chores | Her day that was like picking titles for abstract paintings | Land Ahoy! | Cannibal Island | Hypergammaglobulinemia | Alone With Others | Pausing, toothbrush in hand | pushing through the curtains of the mirror | into the magic forest | Walking for hours until she came to a glade with short grass, like a suburban lawn | The sound of children playing in the plastic paddling pool | Riding the bus to school | listening to pop | feeling the back of the seat so hot in 1976 | her skirt damp with perspiration | the boys geeky or full of a dumb swagger | Show Offs | The Speed of Tears

At 17, she feels so old, her arms like rotten timber | with fan-shaped fungi growing on her | Hopeless, the world deprived of destinations | the blue hole of the sky into which sounds were falling upwards | She wishes she didn’t have a navel | it spoils her stomach | and the car is a grave, or will be, one day | Her mind is full of lilacs and skulls | a boy’s penis erecting | alien and comical | a dew of sperm | At this rate, how will she ever make 20? | Even 18 seems distant | the years like remote huts left behind in Antarctic expeditions | The Tigers Listen to the Flute | Fifteen Raindrops Long

Old people at bus stops, with their weird clothes | blinking | gawping at nothing much | tortoise, parrot, turkey, slug | The god, Apollo, will turn them into small brown shrubs | with their handbags still hanging from branches | ancient black shoes tangled in the roots | where amber millipedes coil like the parts of dismantled watches | I Fancy You | Heart of the Strawberry | His street from space | An order constructed around Sta-Press and swimming pools | with NASA in the background

The funfair in his cranium | the slides and waltzers | denuded of serotonin | stripped and rusting | He notes how the weatherpersons mention “areas of depression” | The cool girl in the black dress | with her honey-coloured skin and blonde afro | is she a writer or something? | maybe even in a band | His feelings, laid out like surgical instruments on a tray | a limited choice | and he knows | all cold and dangerous to touch | The Weird Boy and the Bear | A moment of happiness, so flimsy | like a parachute that seems to open, but then fails | delivering him to the blue quick ride of the sky | Ships, and Their Thoughts of Sinking

In class | measuring devices | Adjacent | incline | millimetres | arc | perpendicular | What will they do with the lions? | And the lioness’s roar? | Walk the long dead pavements | through the estate | Her parents are dinosaurs | big bodies, tiny brains | grazing sedately | unwittingly, each evening, itemising the different manners of their defeats | If you think in angles, you only end up with angles | If you think in circles… | The children play with the snake | and put it into black structures | On the train into town | she is in Wisconsin | like Russia is | like Minsk, and Kiev, and Guangdong | No one riding today | Like rollercoasters with only shadows | Delta Series, No. 5 | Monkey and Coconut Milk | It is hard to put a shape to absence | draw clear lines around it | One day, there | One day… | Carriage on the charm bracelet | Vacant Lot | He is not coming today | the boy with two scalpels for eyes | And soon, the holidays… | Land Ahoy!



from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

Those children, accidentally | given to fire | Flats burned out in Dusseldorf or Croydon | not places | a spellchecker knew | past the alley with communal bins or the pharmacy | the streets covered with firemen’s foam | and the blackened interiors | afloat on local websites | digitally | marooned | Each moment with its key ignition | By the plastic shower curtain | hanging a rippled Miffy | in a lilac slip you had raised your arm | to shave the hair under the pit | my face | in a cabinet mirror | for a moment a haunted voyeur | handsome but so useless, in the end | while a little way down the road | to mandolins, incense or choirs | people knelt to separate gods | and some prayed for fire

Immigrants | the lovers | mounting each other | looking for those moments of a good life | or striking flints to infuriate the heavens | wanting to belong | where no one, really, belongs | and sure enough | soon enough | we’re sent back | to a country that will just not | stop burning | Out of the side of your eye | a ladybird climbs fine white net | castaway | agent of this treacherous summer | with its shoals and shallows | its slumps and queues | of the unemployed | its dirty tangled wrack of drifted images | even the young cannot escape | already being ground down | to a particular style of angel | a rare | genus of devil | Softly, very softly | near the end of sound | I remember those tiny slivers of intimacy | that sometimes seem to make | the bulk of life | how the other paths | might bore, or might surprise | but the one I took | took us apart | as gently | as smoke floats | towards sleeping children’s eyes

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

On castaway streets, the little windfall plums beginning to break again | making the pavement at the corner sticky and stained — the pleasure and melancholy of seasonal return | the familiar and ephemeral | my second turn around the island | To the tale of the tormented genius | with feverish finances and the unfortunate habit | of making bad marriages | so quiet in the provinces, one may sit and count the slow, lucid ripples | reaching this gentle backwater | elsewhere has become a legend | and her presence, largely, forgotten | Alcohol does not help | but repetition calls one summer from the last | — in this way | knowing happens, because it was, and is again | no more | The fervour of his delirium, the torture of morals | taken seriously | by a person essentially fickle | no wonder it ended badly | In the middle of the mental breakdown, pay at the counter and leave

I’ve noticed, the horse chestnuts are the first to turn | Autumn’s outliers | Gold and silver and bronze on the podium | Not hearing a human voice for the first three days | and then for another three | another fourteen | and twenty three after | and after | … | Ghosts are formed by habit, we do not notice that we’re dead | taking the books back to the library | Don Quixote and still at page 47 | becoming attached to a name | Old people sifting through the background | prototype phantoms | testing out the rings | somehow | inferno, limbo and paradise | become confused and leak together | to form a single, spiritual mush | My body has gone, gnawed by crabs off Toyama | I suppose the bones last a little longer? | Still keeping the diary, though with less and less to record | or perhaps only the same things | from last year | the windfall plums on the pavement at the corner | staining the flags black | though when they’re freshly fallen and broken open | their flesh is often a gelid amber | dust sticks in the smeared fruit | Also, I notice how slowly the very old woman moves | with her zimmer frame | as if inhabiting a film shot at different speeds | to the rest of us | a string of pearls on her breast | harder than she is | Familiar with repeated scents | with the first heat of spring | the first coolness in September | knowing these phenomena more deeply | and more acutely | with less time left to savour them | On a path at noon, out by the bay, a gory privilege | skin beginning to burn | and among my things | the meaning of life and a bottle of sand | and a cleft in the rock where a genie came out | and said “OBOCAMBABARRA!” | When you’ve used up all the known places, only elsewhere is left

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