Archives for the month of: April, 2018

Tiny museums, with dolls of bisque | Pomeranian | glass eyes | Pockets, with loose buttons | Assembled, then neglected | Ransacked, and then, again, ransacked | Sudden thoughts | Lights coming on, automatically, at dusk | The place we find things | and others, lose | The place we find

Marked as belonging | together | Bright sets | from neutral stars | by a tequila, Orion | the Dog | Location of departures | a loose cloud | of journeys | stations of the sign | Owned by one, but by another | taken | Slow, above us, a lustrous moon | swells and shrinks | Sleep, sudden, the day’s collection | scattered | Assembled with Alphonse, with the war | this point in the story | Neglected, then re-found | in different | formations | Sleep, slow, sudden | the darkness | subsisting | of undersea caves | Looking cool | and by another, found | The place we lose

 


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

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A topple of angles, vertigo of stop-start life, assailing sureness, slips falling into gin and tea.

The travellers will not make their boat, but must stay, swooned, at bandits’ mercy and skewing of Fate.

The Age of Distraction claims us all. Spin verticals until they are not, twist the old dial to stabilise horizontals. His morals are hunted, his meagre bearings endangered: his days moult to montage, a fake farrago of scenes.

Upon streaks and gleams, to noon glare in a chromium blur, in motorcycle silver he revs and glides, must save mother from drug peddlers, drug peddlers from gun runners, must save gun runners from terrorists, then slay gun runners to save sister, wound mother (now a drug peddler) to save children, become terrorist to slay a brother, old comrade turned loyal to a rival faction: ever he sets out, his issues unresolved, loyalties cruxed, in a fury of firearms, merely mires deeper his friends and foes in a spiritual conundrum, a cat’s cradle for conscience.

Seeking gaunt cliffs, gannet-taunted, the solution of cold spray from Baltic waves, the solace of matter, raw, before what was taught, resistant to thought, he, the hero, abandons the city, and skilled with miles, crosses scar and scald, bight and bluff, welcomes in batter and break, absence of groves, blessing of graves, signs of ending, places hard wayfarers broke, in mean blaze of sunset, bones separate from flesh, flash in fatal crush or graze, hands held up above icy tarn surface, face rotting below, aloof from our ties, awaits with the spring communal stir of mosquitoes, but has surrendered memory, the right to elegy, must settle his debt with gas, water and fire, and meet the fate of the lonely, having battled fierce harm and hunger and squall, futile at last, loyal to the faith that called him, fertile with stories – fertile with stories, but forgotten by all.

Sorry, what were you were saying?…

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

Cloud-cuckoo-land

The sky floods into your mind, and the narrow streets | are gates

The light of spring was so fresh, the sky so luminous and clear, for a moment | my heart was cirrus

Then the sky, too, forms the gates and | we pass through, on our way | to the narrow streets

The trees become | our grace and perplexity before their beauty | The forest drifts, then hesitates its way | into | statement

The moment flowers

<lush samsara>

 


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

Pylons and marshes | marsh flowers on slender tensile stems | NOT PULLED IN and not quite expelled | you wait for the gaze to collect you and end you

OH, YES, COMPLETE COLLECTION and the glimpse by lightning | There are camellias printed on your dress | no one will understand you, be comforted or start running

You want to die in the snow, you frighten the children, but fear is also | part of life | CHOSE HIS OWN PRISON CELL and wasted his spirit | in among rumours of bad terrain and mountainous pay-offs, in among | snatches of motorbikes and Jesus

Back once more to the old domain, the HERO AND THE SUN, the bull’s blood | flashed upon the ground where children picnicked | We took a flat-bottomed boat across the river | had no intention of killing time | with the jet-set and the in-crowd | mesmerised by their portable labyrinths

DO YOU WANT TO BE ALIVE? THEN let others choose the cell of your prison | let them bond you to your long death | The ghost leapt over the dry ploughed field, scaring the farmers and their slow-burning kin

Start running, start running | scatter the rooks with their miserable roots | of scrawny complaint, their miserly | GRASP OF CONCEPTS and comedic | insolence with the book | in the ashes of the silver automobile | partially | incinerated bodies of driver and passengers | luggage scattered from the popped trunk | litters the verge and the road and the field | of scorched sunflowers | possessions | trailed from mangled roof-rack and back seat | gramophone, stockings and gin | and you very still | staring from below the ice of the lake | up at the stars and their cool funeral | such a procession and NO MOURNERS

IN AN ACTUAL SNARE, the songbird | struggles and blood jumps | and the adjudicator comes by at last | to weigh the wings and account for the song | When he leaves the village, on foot, the wind | blows the adjudicator’s hat across | the cracked brown furrows in a circus | pall of dust | and the surgeon | has his own story about the lions, the ribs and the gall | The midwife | has no children of her own | and the full moon | is never once mentioned by the people who count | the train powers past the wreck and the day | can never be the day again

As soon as you leave, someone else takes your place, or no one

 


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

Not what is, but what I wanted

so, how the proud father hums in his socket | and where the swans come in | not sure if they’re comrades or villains

Assembling a ghost, very slowly, piecemeal | over the years | the years | stacked out the back, with rolls | of discarded | imitation Turkish carpet | another time to change it | a threat of vermin

Birds, perching on a scarecrow

Not what I meant, but what is

And the bulb that pops when the lovers | reach for the light

in Tangiers, wanting to read Tyutchev or Fet

to bring the river back, and so the swans

those old

villains

 


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

Special features | the film not enough with politics and murder | She has come to the various ends of her life | holds the fuses | decaying rivers where she was young | He drives for days | and destinations happen | to him but he can’t use them | In the forecourt heat | petrol pumps with raw colours | stolen from a child’s crayon set | the desert sea and its tide of dirt | ebbing and flowing | Below her feet, unfound oil | floats and hungers | You never see your own eyes | only reflections in surfaces | she wore a carnival | crocodile mask | then took it off | sat on the school steps | smoking | boiling her tears inside her | all the time polite | to sweet Harry, curious Jane | and her tears | made no steam and dried | He watched her put the mask back on | In leather holsters, slung on hips | the policemen’s guns | yelp and whimper | all afternoon…

No time now to put all the spilled time | back in the right slot | The dust is restive | these spring days | dress up and pose, yet then | strip off and lie | nude for hours on the bed or the floor | and dying feels fresh but | old, too | Money had caught her cold | filled her head with a bickering static | they sacrificed love for careers | in the evenings | tired | they shot up banks and took hostages | falling asleep somewhere in the middle | of the most | exciting decade | While they were loose with their names | running in herds across a darkened prairie | the moon | shed its arid, mummified light | and the restless atoms | swung always around | to take up the flags and the new formation

 


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

The green bell: a single chime.

Snowflake skulls.

Ching!

Stillness fills uncharted limbs, and her eyes | pour into the landscape | like a curious crowd | asking her singular question: the trees bend close but | hesitate to answer.

She sees what she must leave behind.

Ice-melt and skin-drift.

The city grows its wilderness for her, mice on his slippers, mud in the fridge | the slugs in the garden fatten and ooze | Where is the Chief?

Hunting parties freeze then tip | toe.

It is a large temple. It is a slow building.

In another war, in widescreen, slaughterers sit and smoke cigarettes, in warm sunshine laze on tanks | waiting for their lambs to arrive.

She carries even smaller children with her, they nestle in a row in her basket as she runs, they gaze up into her face | the eggs of their angels | hatch and the infant angels | twitch and gape and mew

Their wings glisten | They are so new | evil has yet to find a | foothold in them | They are all verb | no | nouns for messing

She walks under skies so fine | the insects have still to evolve | no flight has altered the air or turned the heavens | into a mere domain

<introduction to surrealism | class 4b | 1994>

Adults clamber round their ponderous lives | amassing obstacles | storing obstacles | arranging obstacles | The children watch them, but really | don’t see them

The children draw back the blanket on their hoard of gods and pine cones, twigs and feathers and bones | Dainty zombies, not naming life or death | Luxury zombies…

The sea bellows and wails | prowling the perimeter of their innocence | starving for the tiny portions of luminous honey | they each | secrete inside them | keeping the mountains wakeful too

She has no time for the pretty horses

The adults lumber round their own tired bodies | keeping the children as places | to put lost things | imagined blankness and the better way

The children | don’t photograph the blossoms | but kick the snowmen’s skulls out of their path | and don’t wait to watch them roll away | into the empty corners of thawing grass | at the very edges of the fields of spring

 


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

Survivors again. I never thought we’d make it.
I never thought I could be forgotten —
or that it would be bittersweet.

 


from the book Poems 1987–1992 (Odyssey poets, 1994)

Shaken loose | from flakes of the waltz | and layers of lace | are those my | fingers moving? | Twitching? | With their | green | caterpillar | skin? | Go over the same | old ground | Show the mecanismo | of lightning and the gold | to the fleas and | cats | explain to the fire | the nature of burning and | to the stolidly | beautiful | the nature of their | beauty | Why speak of | change? | What else | is there?

Schubert and the butterflies | of holes in the ground | we dump our fire | Old | newspaper | desiccated | assassins and goal poachers | Marimba | bones | the pot-head | skull | each moment | an egg, so many! | and the eyes | cocoons || Dust in the attic | with the toys and | kling | klang | klung | of a de-tuned | piano || Go back | to your last thought, what | was its shape again? | Lightening | your path | over the water | where the mosquitoes | pace | with their booty | of an animal’s | blood | and my heart | holds down | a cicada’s | shift | is loss | a trail of | golden debris | cogs and | jewel bearings | My teeth | scuttle back to their | roots | we | hit tacks into | day again | assembling | the scene | sketching | of lime trees | the wind | in their tops | the wobbling | sun | Our meaning | is always | difference | like love || Isn’t that the same | for everyone?

 


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

Shot of | forsythia, cracks of | blue-grey sky | The fork in the wrist, in the cliff, urban commuter trains’ | tracks | Your sickness means | the iron is heavy to lift | “the man | carries the horse in this village” | will you | carry it far? | Then you are healthy, the iron runs | liquid and light | and the world is young | you may ride for thousands for miles | into the outskirts of Berlin | to the fragrant pasture in the lowlands | where there are wolves and yurts | The fork in the fading photograph | the fork in the lungs | at the day’s | woolly ends | at noon | You glance into the cold | nihilistic furnace | of a cat’s eyes | you want the birds just to be birds | a place to park them | let them stack and rest | inert | not fly up suddenly | all as one | sensing the approach | of an unspeakable change | a tremor | a faint | scent of smoke | a fainter | roar | Offering this character | your mercy | your time | your care | offering that one | short shrift | not filling in | their features | Apportioning to the sea | this measure, the sands | that value | their love | this moment’s | qualities | Scripting the world | not the drip of pain | drop by drop | from a Greek | greatness | but cracks | of clear April sky | and on the ripe | tartan blanket in the basket | the teats and squirm and nuzzle | of Nuisance and her pups | How to | pursue your story, now? | Isn’t it mostly a question | of holding on | while you’re | making your mind up?

Into the blue-grey void | a turbulent mist, almost violet | a perpetual | agitation, full of curves and eddies | as at the base of a great waterfall, no detail | can be made out entirely, all | is a swell and drift and feather | of misty spray | How to carve up a cloud? | Anyway, the traffic waits | So much is autopilot and yeah, so? | And as for their love, it is enough | for now

 


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