Archives for the month of: November, 2017

The music gathers in its hands | what we left out of our lives | yesterday | and the day before | and what we’ll fail to | reach tomorrow | and tears it | gently apart inside us | but not only inside us | because we aren’t | only inside us | Ecru | pullover | and the shadow of the desk lamp on the blank wall | and the thunder made us duck | and laugh | the books we would read | the warmth we would hold to | the lightning we never saw | and always | just beyond the words | we used to | speak about the music | a breathing | hyper-calm | banality | tilting slowly | into euphoria | All the passengers | first lie down | asleep on the train | are they asleep? | dead maybe? | then all the passengers | inflate again | and float into the suburbs | of the edges | of what they left out of their lives | today | and yesterday | and what they’ll fail to reach | this evening | and tomorrow | evening | and those oddly | unimaginable things | call to the passengers | somehow | we have taken our place | among them | and after our catnap | or our death | we sit up straight | reach for the Oblomov | re-start our knitting | and the music arrives | to obliterate | and to illuminate | and to seem | to irradiate | in passing | the silence of the landscape | beyond the windows | and inside | the child’s pink dice | inside the drawer | and inside the cucumbers | wrinkled like cetaceans | dreaming | pickled in the jar | on the shelf | in the kitchen | and we try to | gather the music in our hands | but it won’t cohere | so we leave it out | of our lives | and the music says | Don’t worry | There’s nothing you can do | or be | that can be left in | the strange | collection of your memories | It stays mysterious | some things | just are | because you begin them | but can’t wait around | to their end | moments though | they last | I am a firework | thing | if you | listen | If you put that | WOW! | to the bed | embers | soaked in | adolescent | cider | Just feel | a little | euphoria | if you can | and when I am over | there will be your day again | like the terrain in sunlight | after you | emerge from a tunnel | and it won’t be the same | but it won’t be different, either

from the series fp2 (on-going sequence of poems, commenced 2016)


Lullaby comes for the spirit | Despite those complex towns | strafed over autumn by repeated showers | and a sound of planes | fire and smoke where there was education | shopping | the public | arena | lullaby comes | Despite the cannibal | mother | the alpine | patriarchs | cave-dwelling | memories | hairpin | bends the spirit | climbs | and descends | and climbs again | in a Bianchi concerto | lullaby | comes | Put down the items of your theory | lay aside your passions | both grandiloquent and modest | cling, if you like, if you must, to the names, but you must | when lullaby | comes | release and be released by them | poor Ontario | Mesut the Graceful | golden-loined | Aphrodite | and Hermes, the silver-lined | Tipped out | like excess wine, the voice | with its queue of migrants | its infinite portion | of the obsolete | quietens | small goblins fold back their spiny ears and wait | for the belovéd hand | to stroke their heads | the bedraggled numerals | bob and spin | as muddle enters | and ether more | slowly | stirs | for lullaby is here | the spirit | finds all flames | stripped from the fire | water without moisture | a darkness | beyond moon or sun | and the dead | at last | for the first | time | truly | begin to die | For spirit bows to the sweet | far-off music | silence ends in | Night | comes to sleep | and sleep | comes for lullaby

I woke suddenly, and wasn’t sure how much time had passed | You were beside me, naked in the August heat, curled up, your back turned | I was in place | where else could I be? | The parameters, I mean, were drawn | the poem settled to its measure | the lyric contracted to a point | it needed to illustrate | Fortunately, the future | with its unfazed mystique | seemed there, as ever, to bail us out | to prevent the egos’ boat | from foundering in our drowning waves | of mirrors | Evening was approaching, another day | passed without | coming to harm | or to achievement, either | I found myself | gazing for ages at a random detail | of the floating ruins | a column with stylised acanthus and palms


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

Hold on longer if you can | I’m going to slip away | We have said our piece | what’s left but to turn our backs | or say our piece again? | Smoke is coming from the horses’ eyes | You listen to the captains, shouting

Some of them tried to stay, and build something | It wasn’t there when they got back | and it wasn’t what they wanted, anyway | They needed a story to put their story into place | the gilt buttons on the cuffs | and the braid | but I don’t need their story | or yours | tell it if you want, though | maybe someone will listen? | and it will come in useful, someday? | Keep talking | Don’t I please you anymore? | You know, I think I’ve just lost the knack | of caring | it will probably come back | Caresses like mist on the lake | pass over our bodies | we can’t spend the day | chasing the wake | it leaves no memoir | the children | wave from the boat | but they’re someone else’s children | They want to get it right | or at least, pull it apart | so it doesn’t work anymore | as long as they know it’s finished | that’s the main thing | then they can move on | You know who they are | because you’re one of them | As one captain dies, another starts up | and the orders begin | That’s the problem with the past | It’s never going to happen


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

A hermit bead of water | Lambswool winter day | Won’t you come into the shower with me? | Stillness of dissolving orgasm, mist | we wipe a name in or a child’s face | Putting down the last mirror, as if the last card in the deck: now, the game is over

Hush, and scrape of sticks on rock | Planet of silences, the mountain | knows its place, and it’s not with us | Scent of rock, sense of rock’s respiration, slow, millennial | At this altitude, very quiet, very still | The wedding rings of the deceased | placed in a drawer | just, fresh, not yet | quite | heirlooms

Solicitation of ghosts | Bare structures, walls of pale blue, sparsely pictured | a Swedish cabin, the space between our lips instants | before we kiss and after | we kiss | Are we alone? | When did she notice there was an angel in the room, the Virgin?

Change the world, and then breakfast | Victory, and peace | We drive past figures of the meek, who look uncertain, bemused at their inheritance | Now, tell me, is there a finer thing in life than to write a poem? | To bring words to their spring, and let them grow | cocksure for summer? | Poems are another love

Won’t you come into the shower with me?

from the series bliss point | angels of disorder
(open-ended, 2012–present)

A red rumour, glistening and fringed with wiry hair | a peephole in the sun

Blind fragments crawl across the floor, searching completeness, how | distant the past seems, though | it runs right through me, bringing | evocative scents of plants I could not name…

The far-off cry of earth, burial-place soil, lumps of moist clay | vectors of invisible journeys — the tip of the iceberg

All the translucent meteors of our glances | burning without flames / forever passing and with no home

At the apex of our touch | a caress might loop in a love, but / the base is immense and contains forests | the rhythms of the tides of cold northern seas beat against our temples

Our radiant skulls | crumble under the waves…

<moth at the window | that broken old bucket of a soul / pours out fluid ships of molten gold and the eyes of drowning sailors / roundels on unfolded wings>

Silence flowers

Generation to generation, we pass on new myths of words | those gigantic creatures / trolls and ogres, dining on syntax

A young skinhead puts tickets to the cinema into the glass window and the shaking of the engine stirs him erect

The modesty of incompletion

A part for Neptune, a part for Arabia | tendrils, bound to Pluto / veins of Rilke’s silver / bright RGB pixels

Knowing it isn’t enough, but having no other words

Moths fretting the lighted window of a kitchen at night

to query the beauty of the stars

My fingers, still hinting their | gorilla approach …

<lush samsara, so dense and fertile, the forest | embeds its ephemera into the form / of a day without care>

If there is only one thing, how | may we stop it | coming for us?

You don’t need | to pay, he tells her, but she says

I always pay

Out on the calm waters of the yacht-fringed harbour | the ferry heads for our stop | You look so great, on the deck, standing there | against the logo | of the City Transit Authority, you seem | to pack into the moment | more than it can ever carry, and I like that | It makes me intensely aware | “taking it with us” | is hopeless, and | we’ll never stop trying to

If I ever stop wanting you | it will not be me

You are never you

she says | and after a moment, she adds, thoughtfully

I guess that’s why I love you


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

Connecting back to | things that are not there | Decorated walls in | Chinese plum trees | 1930s | only a | few blossoms left | The love you invited | The sense you made | Black | trails of pixels | For lovers, and refugees | So many | wrong numbers | Ghosts on the line | asking | Is it you? | Is it you? | Is it | you?

I’m not here |      | My flesh has | receded | A house full of echoes | wandering like | cats | looking for voices | Boats run aground | The ground run aground | Keeping the void | tidy | decorated | with pine needles, sprigs | of holly | Hiding the day | in a crack in the wall | Detached | residence | A stranger | walking towards you | holding out | handfuls of sea


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

Beaten up Converse | of course | So, Sanjay, why are you so skinny and lithe? Is it the yoga? | The right | length of pause | Yeah, Mick … and the prosecco | The nightly bathing | in prosecco | Right angles, of course | summer in a bowl | the windows open | the music radiating | the conversation | and some people are even talking | about the dialectic of negation | They’re standing | near the peonies | which are on the side table | near the bookshelf | the small | bookshelf | In the round vase | pretty chipped up | a little gnarly | we bought in Camden | in about | I don’t know… 1806 or something | so | you’re saying I’m | getting old? | Or | Is that your polite way | of saying | I’m getting old? | And you will say | eventually | for as long as this | link works | and these | pages turn | and the gliding | mass of clouded | neurons | is casting shadows | over the moonlit terrain | No, that’s my way of satirising my own | inability to calculate quite how old | you are, Mick | Radio silence | Because you’re | so old! | Angry that they are so | sad | the peonies are setting themselves | on fire | and they are asserting | their allegiance | to burning solar systems | and to mute people being abruptly | gifted | the power of speech | their manes | ruffle | they dilate | into the figural | then detumesce | into the literal | they tremble as people | dance | or just walk past them | brushing their hips against | the side table | So I begin | to drift away | the music | streamed from Yann’s | battered laptop | and Sanjay’s moved around the room | he’s talking to Lisa | you can feel the energy | from here | are they talking about | prosecco? | Low light | Time | in beats and clocks and memories | Pathos | of course | A little eros | of course | Logos | naturally | but not | too much logos | tonight | or less and less | the later we get | pathos and eros begin | to take over | or at least | I dream that pathos and eros | are rising | among the peonies | which tend to attract | ants to their flower buds | due to the glistening | exudation | of nectar | Now I am | moving round the room | so to me | the spine of Nihei’s BLAME! is | no longer readable | on the arm | of the sofa | (it’s going to fall | someone’s | bound to knock it off) | and I’m by the balcony | which is empty for some reason | and London is laid out for as long | as I glance at it | street grid | the back of a fridge | crossed with some | sublime element | of eternity | useless trying to talk it into | contention | just flag it up | and move on | Coral, sunset and a crowded room | hipsters | and pseudo | hipsters | surrounded by repeated | walls of heaven | that rich | orange pink | the peonies are from Luoyang | have travelled a long way | to wilt and twitch | on a side table | for some reason they | make me bashful | when I look at them | then they diffuse | away from the contemporary | referential system | and divulge themselves | as more fire | on the plain and | in the sentry towers | at the remote frontier | the guards | years into their | posting | trying to recall | the scents of home | When does your | album drop? | young people | well, younger people | say “drop” when I would say | in this case | come out | jeez | I’m letting language | gently kick me | off the stage | I must keep up! | The balcony | of course | smoking a forbidden | cigarette | then I | have a moment | and the pathos rises | and the sorrow ignites | (I’m so sorry) | so the eros | fades to zero | and for a while | I’m super-aware | that the sustained | run of good luck | of my life | can’t go on | Mick, face it, you’re so | fucking old! | I notice that there are a lot | of pretty iffy dance | moves being made | and there’s no | copy of BLAME! on the arm | of the sofa anymore | it’s not the march | of socialism | or the nature of angles | in isosceles | triangle theorem | it’s not the effect | of the Alt-right | or a consequence | of Jupiter moving | into Mars | not quite | not much | not exactly | and Sanjay is | waving his hands around | he gets more | gestural | the more | absorbed he is | in debate | But nothing can prepare for it | and when it’s over | nothing can recall you to it | and Sanjay | doesn’t know that yet | and maybe | he never will | he’s still in touch | with the scents of home | when the light of the moon | is the only source of light | in the early hours | and Sanjay has got up to pee | and | above the illegible | print of the poem | on the book open | on the kitchen table | there is only | that same | light of a different moon


from the series fp2 (on-going sequence of poems, commenced 2016)

In that country they did not belong,
they belonged. A sonorous lament of bells through forest mist,
tolling of unknown rituals, in the crumbling house
all the furniture wrapped in shrouds,
his heart cocooned and beating blindly as if lost
between moths and silk. The squeal and twitter of monkeys
reminds her of the end of sense.
How quick then to reach her thoughts
all the contorted music of our flesh has come.
A burning boat, his youth
runs with the current, so the river in flood
speeds him up then slows him down
into dilated stretches of time, where his helpless wreck drifts on
like wisps of village smoke rising in the languid fumes of opium.
In a pink kimono, and coat of cherry red,
he pads in sandals through the snow,
can he survive his sadness?
And, if death relents,
can she survive her innocence?

Show me your sign.
For if you do not, how will I know you?

Show me your sign.
For if you do not, how will you be?
How will I see you? Or feel you? Or find you?

Show me your sign of love.
As the ginkgo leaves outlast the mountain,
and the new poem arrives to oust the old,
he will not survive her innocence, and she
cannot survive his sadness.
Still, show me your sign.

In the derelict temple where the passing
god of all things
has taken shelter from the unseasonal rain,
her fingers arrive in no sense,
with the lit candles and the readers’ gaps and
sighs, and molasses too,
the downpour tosses into her eyes
a simmer of translucent zeroes, a perpetual unrest
as the gamelan of storm on rooves and drains and gutters
throws to her ears the puzzle she has
already prepared for it,
strange how the weather is just there, monotonous and given.
Her soul is a glass forge, where swords are hammered,
we always end up cutting ourselves upon their edges
and looking surprised at the limits of our knowledge, so sure
we’ll get it right the next time, no problem.
She figures out a beast of mercy.
His uniform is operatically white, he is a captain
partaking of the very drugs he’s charged to curb, his dream
is larger than the whole city, even at noon.
When there is nothing else, people bring words, then leave them
to curl like flowers before neglected graves.

Show me your sign.
For if you do not, where will I be?
I may not even know I am alone.

Show me your sign –
your sign of love.
For if you do not, how may we go on,
to conjure from this darkness a society?

Show me your sign.

Show me your sign of love.

Far off from this empty capital | peasants bow their heads into the wind | butt against the earth | the green | liquid and rot of the forest…

Bureaucrats hurry to shred information | You remember, move quickly away | hang out in a destroyed bar | where they still play | the old music

Sometimes, they’ll use the lamp posts | for gallows | string up | not only the tyrant, but the tyrant’s | lover and children

But this is not history

Are there laws | bring you here? | A mound of accidents | elegantly refined | into a life?

Browse through a dusty novel | with images of famous bombs

What use is new music?

In the wreck of a beetle | tiny wasps are laying eggs | but you have chosen the desert | not the dunes…

You have chosen the forest | not the path…


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

Too late to put an end to it | Touch the bruise as if | dipping a finger | into a pool | feel the pain | ripple | to heal | Placed a building | in my glance | stone doorway | no record | of the people who | entered and left | that way | You open | the fist’s | flower | in a long-lashed eye | aubergine and café noir | charcoal and ashes | hint | of flamingo | peach-skin | dawn | The doorway | waits | Life | flings | you from your own | uncurling | fingers | and thumbs | Ice | is good | They didn’t know | any of them | where they were | couldn’t | draw the contours on the journey | The stone | either side of them | the clock with its | temporary stage and wings | the calendar | the quarry | the parameters… | Some thought | they were about | to leave | Some thought | they were arriving

I | put your lipstick on | because | I want to feel | close to you | Envelopes with news of deals | needing | Sure, I’ll… deal… with… | Air in the wardrobe | Blood, I’m afraid, on the mirror | and the dresser | and the chairs | It seems | I am | a gangster of Europe | Old | letters in a rack | drained | airmail blue | stamped | franked | with dry | visas of passage | Shadow | under the bed | Centuries | in the washers | It seems I am | related | to other | hard men | to street punks | to all the | pointless | bravos | to gangsters | in America | to yakuza | and most honourable | gangsters in China | White suit | florid tie | diamond links | heavy | gold | on my fingers | pull up | in the heart | of the financial | quarter | Why do they | insist upon | a different | order? | Go their own | free way? | Threw a door | from my glance | and felt my muscles | tense | before the lightning | sighed to | hit | You cannot | leave me now | no matter | what you think | You will have | a hint of | dawn | round your | long-lashed | eye | and your look | clings | a moment | to what | the lightning | lit | I want this | to go on | and yet | I put an end to it


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