Archives for the month of: January, 2018

We went in to check out the show | On the pavement died saints and martyrs | It was business as usual at the Palais | we stopped by for beer and fries | And the lights on the matadors’ suits | sparkled | like the shards of coloured glass we found on the beach | held up to the sun | we couldn’t quite | fit our seeing in | On the other side | of those instants of blindness | I heard the ocean just | doing its thing | putting up its defence | making its case | for a large | share of oblivion | or a small | pinch of remembering | if you | thought you could do it | Superseded | range they said | we couldn’t get the parts | and a tech-head shrugged her shoulders | they didn’t any longer | provide support | When the first | tear-gas was fired | the crowd began running | a species of parrot went extinct | a new | intestinal fluke was discovered | the people dispersed | most of them | the army moved in | We sensed | a certain froideur at your parents’ | it seemed to me like the beginning | of a break-up

Some was lighter, the colour of a Pinot or a Grenache | some darker | more Malbec or Shiraz | Where it falls, on dirty flags or sand | on frosty cobbles | dusty tracks | there is a world | the floor | beneath the furniture | and beneath the floor | the earth | Born with slightly deformed legs | I couldn’t run or jump like other boys | I’ll choose | a different passion | and that passion | will lead me to a different end | But nothing ends


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

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Diary that evening free. Traffic going past, the vehicles pulled on invisible wires of destination. A sideline. Sidelined… It meant something different. Those small, domestic catastrophes, kettle boiling dry while the stroke victim lies a few feet away on the kitchen floor. How was it the journey had vanished from her, and she had grown cold and mechanical, with no more scent of lemons, sweat or sea-salt than a speedometer in a car contains traces of moorland heather or sudden flurries of snow? But he was wry: a person is a teacup, the storm of life swirling inside; and a proprietary mole, mistaking his molehill for a mountain. It was natural to be shaken by hurricanes and typhoons, but foolish to care too much what happens after the dainty china has shattered, brittle smithereens littering the ground. Storms make no note of your address or license plate no. The pool only looked deep because it held a reflection of the fathomless sky, so perfectly blue that cicada noon. Angela had cancelled, and Bobbie moved away. She had discovered the empty centre. From now on, he imagined, he would have to live here. Existence under these conditions — well, it was forced, artificial, like those new capitals invented by tyrants or economists, entire cities concreted into swamps or jungles, whole populations displaced. Why weren’t people more cautious, he wondered? There was ever-present danger, and each moment was a story with a clear moral, like the skeleton of a gazelle decorating the edge of a drying waterhole. The ends would never meet now. There was the TV, programmes to watch and form opinions on. She had never felt so desolate. The wipers began to sweep away the first flakes of snow, and, because he was at the wheel, the car began to accelerate.

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

In the beginning was the snow | And the footfalls through the snow | appear soon after | Perhaps to a blue room with white skirting | duck-egg blue and | matrimonial | white, perhaps | to a happy moment or two | a distillery | of dust | moon in balance with sun | Nothing major | no revelation or | the sweet consummation of | crossed swords | no Hanged Man or Complete Physics | just heartbeats at a steady rate | sturdy | without show | all you need as you are | ready for a long ride | On these kinds of nights | the guitarists fall in love | and word soon gets around | until a crowd | great as the music | gathers | hoping | to hear them play

Who has the keys to the road? | Theorised | trees | exacted to bare January delicacy | the snow | a mush of bleaching | Seville oranges | under sodium streetlamps | Stripped down | to one set of footprints | Feel the mass | evaporate | gross | is the angel’s share | Left only with it all | hurrying to a room of | sparse | white and blue | to plot with her | tonight’s | new shape for the world | Outside | the Dynamos are playing | and the road | is closing a thousand doors | houses dim | curtains drawn | time moves on | until, at last, a hush comes in | even at the hearts of the atoms | the lights go down | ladies stop waving their fans | gloves and programmes are folded || and through the dark | I hurry home from | sword school | we lie still | in each other’s arms | quiet | fragile as unhatched eggs | as forming and as melting | ice | the way words always are | in the beginning

 


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

— January 1, 2015

So, to the other side | May I welcome you here? | What are the other sounds? | on the other side | of the other mirror? | All that stuff was yesteryear | no need to think of it | Hey, Champagne Boy! | Hey, Vodka Girl! | Yes, there is a pretty disco | I like the standard of glitter around now | Tireless horses in our bloodstreams | like the footsteps | of indigenous peoples | beginning to run | faster and faster | Hey! | Hey! | Hey! | I don’t care | for this version | may we hear | the original? | Hey, slender boy! | take off my clothes very slowly, fucking | appreciate these moments, how they | formed like pearls | Hoi, fat girl! | bite down on these pearls | spit them out | as you see fit | Okay! | It’s not paradise | never would be | never could be | no one | really knows that address | I like the way their | names slide over my skin | none of them | quite sticking | When the tongues come | marching in ranks like | Mao’s postmen | can you hear | the noise of tomorrow’s | revision | sliding into place? | This is a box | The idiots | stay in here | the romantics | get out | and those who were | so superior | and laugh at the very | idea of boxes | well, they won’t wish anyone | HAPPY NEW YEAR

So the horses begin | to run out of steam | Floating for so long, the fireworks | start falling | big time | We put on our dead suits | no sound of footsteps on these stairs | Lay claim | to the next few seconds | isn’t that | enough? | Weary from building walls | out of mirrors | we’ll lie down for a while | My daughters are running | faster towards the dawn | they’re calling | Come on! | but I just have | to let them go | can’t fit the new New World | into my schedule | Instead | I’ll slink away | into the old world | of sleep and 2015 | has anyone | made it back from there? | It’s not paradise, never would be | never could be | no one | really knows the address | Some think | it’s ahead | some think | we need to go back | As for me | I’ll stay here | let the years | rise and fall | around me | No one’s heard | about this place | Why don’t you | call my sons | call my daughters | and give them this number | tell them | This is where | a real love begins | ask them | to drop by | and while I’m waiting | for their answer | why don’t you | put down your things | take off your coat | turn off your phone | and keep me company?

 


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

And they are young Americans | the cold river blue of their eyes | will carry you a long way | clear of the city, although | the city is where you want to go | and close to the banks | in winter the water | flirts with the chastity of a newborn ice | plain and correct as coffin timber | or boiled cuffs | and with curlew isolation

Softly spoken | no expertise with big sticks | resting back, the pomp of their ’fros | spread fresh on plump pillows | and to the holes in the summer | street noise | their half sleep goes | flashing with half dreams | a distant claim of sirens | nearby pottering | of sparrows on balconies | a fascination with Astro | boy and the narrative | innovations of Jane Austen | knowing most of all | an ease with moments | is a natural gift | delicious | flexing of their still foal limbs | a treasure of indolence | thoughts dripping down smooth | like overturned spoons | letting slip of molasses | such bitter sweetness | the scooped steel goes light | as the dipped weight passes | the better to rise | but the further to fall | with work to be done | and the clock quick clicking | on fast road bike glides | late for Eng Lit classes | running the rule over 18 C masters | bringing to the future 20 C kings | and a day’s hope to the fire | of the days with no kings | riding

And in heist-land job crucial matter of time | bagging up the money Fats tapping with the 9 | Sammy outside in the ride motor always running | headed to the ice plant swapped out drives | powered in the Caddy deep into night country | bats in the beams and the moon not local | when we pissed in a line by fields of motionless maize | last to finish up took a moment to breathe | that agrochemical smell and hard dirt and dust | the churn of our engine a sound of liberty’s heaven | cool bass line of endless motion and oil | and the crickets singing | crept into a pocket inside me | and only fell out later | when I went down in the rain like a Lichtenstein blazer | gats sliding on the sidewalk in the big-bulbed lights | out front of that star-struck showtime theater | cops and Feds and molls and rats all around me | and the jingle of the shells from dry-cracking semis | like Sammy and Jimmy and Fats and Dimes | died into fame and rose double quick again | martyrs of the market and comic-book economics | mimic the saints on turning white walls | bodies broken on drug busts and slab racks | and Jesus of the rolled stones and the echoing tomb | death not where we left it | not where it should be | but in August, on civilian duty in a flyover state | maybe on a border | three weeks into another terrible drought | a lunar heat | drenches the wired farms and shadow-casting silos | and insects and abandoned people don’t sleep | but remain wakeful | restless | so deep into solitude they can’t even tell | if they’re really alive | and by heirloom lamps | pore over bibles: “You know the way to the place where I am going” | The Book of Michael Chap 7 Verse 5…

 


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

The fallen are everywhere with us | in the vanished snow, in the | steady wave of light from the monitor | in the reflection in a bus window | they form | an environment | a phosphor of ambience | a moment’s pause | after the tale of daring-do | and you drop back into the instant | oddly dissatisfied | abruptly wishing you had a different life | that the colour green | was dead | Threads | fray | The molluscan sentence leaves | its trail of chromium slime | the diary | has its story of the hours | very close to silence, the last echo in the line | sadly beckons you | Gaining momentum, but losing direction | you mean your way into a suspended | fate again: are you happy? | Strange | angles | Nothing to think anymore | The mainline station | buzzes with options and other people’s | perfection | what do the ghosts | do with all their time? | What do the mermaids | make of the rain?

Raining again and the sea | is gelid and heaves its molten flint | mules not with gold but simple weight of wasted rock | why did they leave the gold behind? || You worry that you are merely | the echo of another voice | or perhaps the echo of your own voice calling | from long ago, when you were young | In widescreen, the angels with their guns | emerge from the dust and sage | and you hang from the slender | thread of sentience | the light of all the eyes that will never look at you, and | the darkness of all the eyes that turned away

 


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

Ignored out of history | they still make a happy sound sometimes | You do not count yourself among their number | not quite, not yet | They are building the bridges, repairing the roads | they have difficult tasks, and will work hard to attain their goals | they research Brahms, publish a masterpiece | They are so famous, but the fame | begins to grow onerous | it’s always either | never enough or too much | An old man sieving for gold by a river | an old woman, perched on a barrel, smoking a pipe | Along the stream, a single kingfisher strikes its electric course | specimen of a species, also genus, order… | Il faut être absolument moderne | and they are | and they are like anyone, they can look a little inane sometimes | in bad photographs or when they’re sleeping | And then the part comes | no one can manage | a role | impossible to imagine | but who can resist the terrible charms | of the sinister impresario? | A mountainous silence builds | just inside the care home | and toiling towards its peak | the crumbling mountaineers | peer and wonder…

The laughing avalanche | The grumpy tsunami | Denizens of the Silver Age | feel the gradual diminishment | of their place | the acceptable | substandard performance | the cheesy alloy | the smaller circle | Whole nations cast under a spell | fiscal wands being waved left, right and centre | the tubas and parping trumpets | of a magical band | led by a hippo and three sleazy cheetahs | we could watch them all day | we will watch them all day | Down the Romantic corridor | you smartly pace | driven | willful | masterful | So, goodbye: there | you’ve gone | Cotton wool beards and storms | that sound like giants’ snoozing | stuff the darkness with a velvet crush | and rolling round the interior of the dream | all the spinning tops are rocking to their final rest | When will the dwarfs awake? The evil queen | get her comeuppance? | You’re running out of money, but I can’t give you a loan | and you say that you’re joking | but we don’t think it’s funny | and if it isn’t funny | it isn’t a joke | so you’ll die | You think I’m joking? | Fragments of dialogue and theories about stars | drop like burnt crows at dusk | In the beige light | of an Alzheimer’s sun | the TV is still on | but no one is looking | and the night spreads and trembles | like an aging population | covering the world, while the young | bury themselves in their new fascinations

 


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

Asking for heat | Getting lost only seconds after entering the building | Asking for fire | to be kept in the right place | not lying around in | dollops and stacks | causing hurt | Choosing between | bread and diamonds | breath and space | Throwing the room | into a new shape | what else can you do? | Committed to life | what else can you be? | All the guests in your head | and one of them | you | Keeping the cold | with you but | tame as you may | domesticated like the | gods and needs | and the fire | we place in the other | dish of the scales | Quiet in the empty house | Hoarding our tangents | Sensing other lives | fanning out | over the country | Living near airports | Watching the flames | eating | roof and floor | Reading Ray Bradbury | Listening to news | Taking the glacier for a walk | each evening || the air | feels thin | worn out || One | less | dawn || Never pinning down | the ghosts in the mirror | Asking for love | but putting too much fire | into the path | through the woods | into the walk | by the sea | our own fire | the fire | just for us | The ice is jealous | Putting off grief | for others | Putting off grief | for ourselves | The small green dot | on the wireless receiver | means that the thermostat | is asking for heat | And it was a great party | but now it is ending | who is this guest | who just won’t leave?

 


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

Tending to a particular | demographic | A forest of tall trees, a scent of sawdust and engine grease | Elite | fluttering of his eyelids | the vast “episode” commences | a shaking of dark skies | the pelleting hail on tin roofs | a lumber truck lifted into the sky | crush of malt and | mixed in | a speeding flick-book of Bowie | young Brando | James Dean | the end | thrown into a pillow storm | of white clouds | black clouds | This is not Gansu province | population of 26 million (as of 2009) | covers | an area of 425,800 square kilometres (164,400 square miles) | The storm is | stored in glass | a particular | fuss among the electrons is over | they descend | from their hermitage | in the air | go back to their highpoint memoirs | look ahead | to the next meeting | copious notes to be made | The papery boots | of currencies on the march | stomp in whispers and in silent scrolls | economies collapsing | in a side bar | of Mr Tittle-Tattle | or Monsieur Incognito | Burned by another race’s sun | taught the phases | of an alien moon | Walking away | allowing for bias | or staying put | in the wrong | place | feeling | the right emotion

Performing the style of marching derived | from the Prussian Stechschritt, the “piercing step” | called the “goose step” in England | is technically difficult | certainly to maintain | the standard march tempo | of 120 paces per minute | The boy is into | 90s indie | stuff like Mudhoney | Nirvana | Pearl Jam | he plays the drums and is | tight in his uniform | Soft shadows | in the moss garden | above us | the far-off burn | of a military plane | passing | you touch | the side of my face | the whorl and whirl of your finger | tips | the raw | silk of two skins | not quite | meeting | In the immigrant forest | the gingerbread men and the rapists and gangsters | mass and loiter | the rumour leads to hanging and beating | the words lead to blood and trauma | old | Middlesbrough lingo | kicked his fucking teeth back down his throat | Taking sides | of a bed | planning to meet | in Starbucks or Bills | Sailors on shore leave | graze and scatter | Future comrades | roll and decay | drowned in the waves | in cold, distant waters | their bodies | sway | and this is the unheard reply | to the nation that owned the sea | of the sea

 


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

Where the dead so gracefully | mimic the living | with echoes in their shoes

Across the station floor | just after rush hour |     | But the emptiness inside us | in which we render solid | the objects of our departure

Upstairs | the Sandersons move |     | creak underfoot | overhead | from underground |     | passengers drawn across the city | reading of Trump and Europe

Cold air |     | the ghost’s | carcase |      | carved into provender | jewellery | even shelter

When the WiFi goes down |     | the boy in the black | blazer comes in |     | the lodger |     | stirs in his room |      | plays desultory fragments of tunes |     | on the piano

Slippers | one | turned over |     | baggy, the leather | space |     | a pouch |     | formed from the long | wear of intimacy | blind | feet |      | and the miles of steps |      | and the hours of standing

Soles | in one room | planed | to glass

Dreaming | rendering the book |     | a gas with arrival |      | a mist |     | and the ankles

connected

unkissed


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