Archives for the month of: March, 2018

How did you get here? | I was carrying around an egg | for days | and in the egg was a | devil

You don’t have the egg with you? | I lost the egg, now I am looking for it

Devils are also | part of the plan | The egg was so beautiful, I kept it | wrapped in a shawl and so it was | warm

Has the egg hatched? | I’m not sure | Not when I last | held the egg

This city has many places | you might lose | something beautiful | and precious | This happens all the time | Every moment | Visions collapse | It’s like rain | Now I don’t | know | where to go

This city has many signs | and many places | those signs may take you | No, none of the places feel right anymore | I have the knowledge but I don’t believe | in what I know, and | I don’t care for the river or the bridges | it has all | grown insubstantial

It sounds as if the egg has hatched | Do you think it possible?

It happens all the time | An egg hatches, out | slips a | newborn devil, this | changes the axis, brings one’s emotions | into a new alignment, you feel | pensive | ill-at-ease | adrift, the planet | depressurises | semantically | and fills, all of a sudden | with empty streets and crowded | trains | heading to uninviting | destinations | I would like to go back, and find the egg, or at least | find the shell

The remnants of the shell? | Yes, the remnants

All very sad | You are like the remnants of the shell, perhaps | you are the remnants of the shell | This is what happens | when you lose a devil’s | egg and | the city begins to | alter around you | Yes, I feel as if I am broken, that’s true

We are what we feel | We are what we think | But perhaps, after all, the egg is still there, intact, and the gestating devil inside it | is still | not quite | ready to be born? | The egg was so heavy | it felt as if I were carrying | a moon or a | sea | wrapped in that lovely | teal blue shell

And the buds on the linden trees were just beginning to open? | Yes, and the bells on the trams rang so purely and clearly in the evening light | My footsteps | were solid | I | cherished the weight | of the egg | wrapped in the shawl | It seemed to me | I was tied into things | and so the city | was right

Where will you go now? | I’m not sure | I feel as if I’ve | finished with going | finished with | arriving | None of the places | convince me anymore | all the things I loved, all the people so | dear to me | it is as if | they were all eggs | all | intact | with a purpose, but now… | Now none of the raindrops | connect together, each raindrop | has its own agenda, the shower | is without plants, and the plants | without light, without steel, without flowers… | The trams can’t | carry the trees with them | People’s mouths | move, and they make | sense, but their sense | makes no sense, it is | a gabble | it has no | life inside it, that is to say, no | real desire to be or to convince | others that | it is

All the eggs of all the things | have fallen and broken, and the creatures within the eggs | have died or | were stillborn or | have left the scene | of the accident | I need to sleep | to be unconscious | Maybe I’ll go to a bar and | drink and watch | people glance at themselves | in mirrors or in the eyes | of people they wish to seduce or | have already seduced and are growing | bored with

Yes, drug your mind, that’s a good idea | It’s always | a good idea, the mind | is the mistake, the mind | fills you with things you cannot | really bear or understand | at least | that’s my theory | Yes, there’s a bar I know, and there’s a | tram stop nearby | The bar is on that line | I’ll drink until | my footsteps don’t seem | to belong to me, and my thoughts | can’t move another | inch

Who knows, maybe you will | find that egg again? | I’ll find something, oblivion’s a start | In the end | I’ll rid myself of these bones, anyway, it’s a thought

We are what we | think we are | We are what we | feel we are | There is always the moon or the sea, if you can only | crack open the shell | holding them in | It doesn’t matter, the night | will end, the time | will have passed | some habit or | necessity will come | to save me | I will not | care for these | things anymore or | remember them or remember | why I cared for them

So it must be | So it must be

Farewell, then | Farewell

Farewell | Farewell…


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

 

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Attached to | details | Setting up home in a | pinhead | or a | hopeful glance | Somewhere in the wider | order of things, perhaps | not the high- | pitched giggle or the | tumour’s cloud | over the nocturnal | city of anatomy | but a calmness | of geometry | the life of | curves and planes | points, not of the diamonds | angles, not of the deer || But not here | Here is | pinning crushes | to a schoolboy | racer | the lush | slump of a raspberry smoothie | in a couple of gulps, the | tentative | trust in language | the scuttle, dive and | trumpet of words || Here is | dent and | wobble | glitch and | creak | Amazons, hidden in a songbird’s | throat | and spacetime | ensphered | in a sick man’s | whisper | What? || Here is | there shortly, here are | certain | grains of dust | in a handful | of dust || Always a | spider | come loose from her | web | and the leap | of the new | tucked into your | certainty || Here is | love | at first sight, and | the long | march of indifference | to rhymes and reasons || Here is | the arbitrary | inflection of mood | and here | is the tunnel | at the end of the light

 


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

Falling prey to the names, our purpose diluted and quest diverted | so this was the famous “Yet, still”… | Wrapped in hiatus, watching the bokeh of water droplets | out of the sides of our eyes, the ferns | unrolling their fronds, the waterfall’s imponderable | model of immortality plunging past yet remaining | the lucid engine turning over, so this | was the place we could not reach | the place we discarded | the notorious | sojourn | The enemies fell away | The targets shot backwards | and softened | were committed to haze | The lovers made their appearance | aptly enough | a shower left us with a thousand suns | and sex temporarily inflated them | to a million moons, then the pines | went quiet in the cooler air | we released our musk | the stability of our dreams increased | the tent cities of the refugees | couldn’t be retained | gods passed over | tyrants capsized in their braid, they all | fell prey to the names | What was the point | of rehearsing our play | if we were never | to perform it? | Yes, it was the hour | of distraction | the nap by a wood fire, the nap in which | the angels came or | the rebels took the citadel | and the statues began to change | before awakening | Yes, it was | the unwanted children | the legendary | delay to flight | detour through rough country | the missing ferry | that spoiled | our connection to the “mother of churches”, the turning of fire into gold, the private show | the musty, damp-stained velvet | curtain drawn back to reveal | the back door to eternity | Oh, those jackal and hyena names, those vampire and Loki names | those magic lanterns | those paper boats | and coloured vowels | and gun-metal | inscrutability of the cocoons, metamorphosis | postponed | What was the point | of pouring the river into a map,  or changing the nature | of our futility? | Marking out your plot | in airspace and oblivion? | We rested on the blanket | sipped Colombian coffee from a flask | snatched smoothly at shots | of clear apricot schnapps | fanned ourselves as the heat came on | puffed at our pipes | undressed | painted | laughed | kissed | made love | No point at all! | In the distance, the mountains made the heights | for the snow to fill | in graceful forms | permanent, like Fuji-san | Yet, still…

 


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

It was like building a great ship in a land where there was no sea.

To labour over many years, in a dry country — but seeking to make the ship magnificent, to ensure it was sound, and beautiful, to build it alone.

Now, towards the end, the ship is done. It stands, towering over the mean wooden buildings on the outskirts of a lacklustre town, prow pointed into the desert, and the desert stretching away for hundreds of miles, until it reaches the mountains, and enters vanishing.

Townspeople sometimes lean out of their windows, or, while watering flowers up on the their roof-gardens, pause, and stare at the vessel, and the huge curved pool of shadow it casts over derelict shacks, broken fencing and stony wasteground. The hull gleams, the masts strike up into the blank, heated blue of the sky: the propellers’ massive petals are frozen, and the rudder steers motionless through the sand.

A wonderful vessel: as elegant as it is gigantic, as graceful as it is imposing — perfectly suited for the ocean, sculpted for the waves, honed down in design by necessity for sailing: anything superfluous, any feature that would have added weight without purpose, or increased resistance and impaired passage through the water, all was removed, until the finished form was reduced to pure, essential nautical lines.

Yes, yes — a miraculous vessel.

And the people wonder. Living here, weeks’ driving from the nearest coast, they have only ever known dry land — for centuries, for millennia, all the inhabitants of this town, all they have ever known is dry land. A bare earth, rock, a few trees, and then the desert, the creep of dunes, the shifting dream the wind makes in its sleep: dry, dry, hard, ungiving — land forever.

And so they wonder. Why?

The years begin to pass.

For decades, perhaps, they were sceptical: but the ship was so great, and so beautiful, built to last. The houses came and went, the fires, the famines, the years of plenty, governments changed and rebels marched, the economy collapsed and revived, the town thrived and declined, and through it all the ship was still there, and the people couldn’t deny its presence. And eventually, they began to feel that, by some obscure process of identity, they belonged to the ship, or it belonged to them; and, eventually, they felt themselves drawn closer to it, as if it offered a kind of home; and then, eventually, they began to believe.

And with the belief came understanding; and with the understanding came deeper belief.

At dusk, at sunrise, at noon, in odd moments of the day and night, they peer over at the ship, silent and enduring, poised on the desert rock, prow pointed into the dunes: sometimes they stare at the black rows of portholes, sometimes they crane their necks and look up at the rail: sometimes, they admire the anchors, visible at the bow; sometimes they glance in passing at the towering masts glinting in the moonlight.

And they no longer wonder, Why? They understand.

And so they settle themselves down, and wait for the sea to come.

•DUSTLESS-FIN-1

I wondered whether they were running drugs | across the country? | Her spirit mouldering | in a corner of a room | the walls a pistachio green | the pictures her children left her | slowly fading in the sun | You hid the river inside you, its cool black depths | secreted under your phone or demands | from the Revenue | all the time you wanted to float away | but could not | belonging as you did to attitudes | Filed under “Missing Persons” | she let the brightness in | put her head on a silver plate and carried it | the villagers | were lighting lanterns | was it a ceremony? | He didn’t know | being a stranger there, and even more | a stranger when he went home | Searching for the highest high | in backpacks and suitcases | died of thirst in a cargo hold | died of thirst | gradually, over time, being swept away, died | of thirst | in a long, black river…

Her children spread and married | some had kids | some stayed single | the buildings gathered | the gardens, the balconies | the lawns with plastic toys and barbecue area | and weeds | where some died by misadventure | some died from skyscraper fall | or from feeding their horses the wrong diet | or parachute failure | Their seedhead float | and slow, domestic diaspora | they thought they were tending pets | or buying charcoal | Mining silver | for the platter | and the stream | doesn’t flow in inches here, or inches there | but as one | and along its tangled thread | the spring is in touch with the sea | He turned into a donkey | and she into an ape | and in the gloom of their fable | fleas shared them | and the fleas | told a longer story | with a longer journey | and at the end | well, there was no end, just a kind of Well, anyway


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

Soon you are too far in to forget, you believe | Its forest | arouses around you | rising and rolling | Your wristwatch, tied to a heartbeat | Your footsteps, trailed by an echo | Grandeur in files, rude monkeys | grimacing | baring their comedians’ teeth | malinger in hard drives | A waterfall on a phone, her promise | (broken) | a wagon | left on a branch line | Habit brings you | spectrally | back to this place | you hardly wonder why | You had reasons, but what are reasons? | they slide | on the current like | reflections of vegetation | on a river, and | when it’s very dark | (clouds cover the moon) | there are no reflections | at all || Starting off again | Turning a new leaf | You will never know when your life is over | As for the words | they squawk and chatter | off into infinity | and refrigerators | No one, and everyone, completes the puzzle, but | what do you care, anyway, when the trees are so green, the air so clear? | And all of this is | lost immediately | the greatest | along with the | most humble things | You must realise this? | At night, sometimes, the forest falls | silent | You feel | a trembling in your heart | and you know | you make the forest, and you make the forest | with forgetting…

Completing a draft | Checking the colour of a character’s eyes | (the blue of forgotten | childhood skies | in early August) || Shock | of the old | life | stirring again | days of games arcades and supermarkets | and your mother’s hand | before the flood || Don’t come back here, what would be | the point? | It has all | taken itself into the snow again, and the snow | has melted | Your memories | carry you, but | they are so lost and so full | of lost things || When you remember them | to life once more | this place may | spark a Spring | and the meteor | arc across the sky | but such a March will never | bring the snowdrops | out | and the white tail | will only scatter in gossamer bones | laying its howl down and | resting, at last, from the passing | through endless space… || Or was it the hazy blue of the waterfall, near noon | in the mountains?

 


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

Closing out the game || Shutting off the lights at the end of a summer day | carcases of | moths and beetles | pool the lamp || Touch her arm, near the freckles | shaped like a rabbit’s paw | beads of sweat | scoot off her back and shoulders and | the bible grows heavier | more turgid, the | damp clothing | drops like | Lazarus’ spirit | into the darkness where | forgetting slides || Fug of | want | a lassitude so clear | you can see all the way through | to sleep | and beyond || Grasshoppers | green | samurai and mecha | sing near skirting and the sandalwood | box where the pearls | move so very slightly, their hearts | still | beating

Memories, like falling snowflakes | too many to catch or count | So bright, that sun, and | all its work | yet to be done…

 


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

In the skeleton of things between us | grass grows up through the bones | but then the grass, too…

Office buildings, railway stations, late night drives through countryside | scented with sugar beet and arable boredom | the cars with their Gothic interiors | cathedrals of moments, the burst of seedheads | torn red leather of the corpses of those journeys | back to friends’ houses, or to strangers’ houses where the parties lay | in wait like ambushers | the forests of beds dripping with oils and gums and dew | dawn entirely mislaid | mists where apes hoot and grunt | and rare birds with electric yellow feathers | squawk their part of the synopsis for your grounds | limp vines of dope smoke and vodka | The mountain skull…

The track through the jungle of our “affair” | the intestines of the river, small boats being quietly digested | caught on shoals, their bottoms ripped out on boulders | circa 1900 in a society | draped in a bridal veil, a fever | disguised as a society | Obsolete mining equipment…

Messages sent, puffs of coloured smoke | pigeons with information attached to their ankles | the intricate strings of semaphores | flashes of telescopes | quarries and pits, graves and dumps | Missile crises…

Languishing | The gigantic peach of a colony | bitten to reveal the pit | the sentinel abandoned his post | Grasshopper on the eyelid | The subject, with its vertical rivers of memory, flowing in two directions, in circles, two waters | both adverse and complex | currents both cold and lukewarm | reversing and surging | the bodies of past selves floating and hanging, turning and sinking | the gangster and the priest | the actress and the writer | tangled in the skeletons of grass | and the tears of bone that rattle as they fall | on pages of stuffy literature | Victorian triple decker | modernist masterpiece | post-modern epic of indeterminism and non sequiturs | The skull, sitting upright on the road, driving through the tunnel of the eye-socket | coming back here as to | a dreary provincial town | where one’s…

And you can say “sick at heart”

And you can say “Sunday”

The sky slopes and down it slide | tiny jigsaw pieces of stars | I wish to book passage as soon as possible | my head is cluttered with tusks | and I woke to find | my soul had become an empty warehouse

I made you an adversary because of the courage of your luxury | the pleasure in your life, the wit, the spines of skyscrapers crumbling | only where the iris floats loose from a kiss | the eyelids flutter | only there and then | just at the moment of dawn | did I escape my rigid whey-faced churches | the cemeteries compiling records of tasks | properly accomplished | all absent and correct | through the powder-cloud balls of artillery smoke | the futile grind of nations | after the symphony, always the battle | the way roses are turned to uniforms | and Sunday lies in a field like a discarded wheel | perhaps not even then | or there…

The summer steamer and the hollow pomp and bluster of a military band | parasols taught lessons by the swirling gale | a mound of broken marriages and celebrity vampires and prams | sallow love bites the colour of rotting avocados on the necks and breasts | of hovering teens | so hot even the gold is going off | like milk neglected on the burning sill | and rest, eyes bulging | having taken our jolly poison | idiots clapping at the dull magician | displaying the bleeding parts of the limbs he’s sawed | admiring the sequins on the lady’s bodice | yes, you can | go to Manhattan

I need to be stretchered | I am anxious to leave as soon as possible

Please take me on board

 


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

 

The story of my life? he said | It starts with “Who knows?” and ends with “Who cares?” | Tiny drops of rain, as if from an atomiser | notes of sandalwood and citrus | a time for lambs | Then a trip by boat, though “voyage” seems too grandiose, your touch | coming through the wall | We lose some of our friends along the way | enjoy a picnic by the river, where our boy | sculls past, we lose | more friends | The monuments of solitude glisten | in the still night air | but we will stay here | until it is time to escape | and escape | if we are lucky | The vase, from overseas, perfectly shattered | resting in its packaging | like a young bird tucked in its nest | And the box with the necklace, cedarwood

With a pert shuff shuff shuff sound, you spray yourself with perfume, the world | troubles me for a little loose change | Tech giants march over breakfast | grapefruit from Mexico | the gulf gently increases | We struggled to get a decent view, the crowds were awful | before we knew it, the motorcade had passed | Buried in a diary, the hesitant impressions | Later, first mice come, then the sea | The girl was definitely bleeding | Trimmed with forget-me-nots and roses | her nightgown blooms | the goblin drooled over his hoard | of stolen dreams | which gleamed like chisels and files | in a toolbox | You looked up from the words you were reading

 


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

Silver trains passing | one leaving the station, one | entering a tunnel | Caught a spark | dragged it along | for a while | So many lives | not hooked to that | blue | Stillness of figures | in the opposite carriage | a cordon | of air | a gust of petals | whirling | between the tracks | as a new | kind of stillness | begins

Notebooks | Poetry on the edge | of prose || A darkness | at the edge of the mirror || Of all the journeys | fanning out | across the city | with a new | shape of air | between them | and her head | lowered, slightly | to one side | and with no | chance of return | you | take this one

 


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