The signs were there before them | though unread | or read only in such a way | as to remain | essentially | unread | This was the netherworld | a kingdom of shadows without light | without boundaries | without a king | and travellers to this realm | arrived with certain intentions… | Waylaying | was the custom there | a crabwise scatter in the brain | detours along high ridges | clatter of pebbles dislodged from hooves | dropping into dry ravines | “shrouds” forever | rhyming with “clouds” | infinite digression | slow | inevitable | evaporation of precious fluids | chemistry that destroyed | the unique element | under study | the ferries delayed | post undelivered | visas out of date | Moratorium | Embargo | Gloomy governments | applying their cherished | veto to the future | more mist | longer delays | fraying promises | vanished messengers

Bold heroes, with their italic smiles, brusque with inferiors | charming | dashing | to the silken hodgepodge of reversing dreams | will sapped to spurts of pleasure | languor of slow-rising smokes in airless rooms | ottomans | marooned in boudoirs | abandon their quests to conquer | to enforce | to reach and purify | but in the limp zigzags of a serpentine milking | explore the torpor of the “lesser”, the “lower” | the base | the foul | the small | confines of an easier truth | a greater lie | and are feted for their failures | encouraged to remain just one more day… | They were counting lemons using oranges | counting swallows using crows | there was | I maintain | a fundamental irresolution | in their method | gunfighters in the wrong saloon | still firing | though the age of violence | was long over, or at least, passé | the bloody pots of skulls upturned | the gore spilled out (and parts of teeth) | reminding of rugs of pomegranate and bronze | flung over walls in distant | Egypt or Armenia | Forest of dust | an alley trapped | in your childhood | a way between | snatches of flashes | lights hung on the tips of bending grasses | browning in the late autumn sun | hours lying on my back | in cuckoo-haunted meadows | reading the brilliant works of that region | The Cat’s Gift to the Mouse | the Poems of Tichy | and the cool, melancholic | Firefly Epic | Perhaps you won’t believe me when I say | we’ll all experience the day | when the mirror refuses you a visa | and you find | you cannot pass your time | the same way you’ve always done before | You see | the nature of the enterprise | has slowly changed | even as you promoted it | the terrain has been | gradually altered through the obvious means | of your journey | yet | you are surprised: these mountains? That valley… | The cold river | the plain | littered with dead horses and dead riders | many of them young | many of them innocent, you insist, whatever | that means | It was a venture | you approached light-heartedly | as in general life should be approached | not facetiously, not disdainfully, nor cynically, nor with a lazy mindless lack of bright attention | but with a sense of perspective | a joy in the near and simple things | awareness of the gifts received in lieu of destinations | a proper and respectful | sense of the two immeasurable | blocks of darkness that line your life | for your own travails at least | a degree of the devil-may-care | a pinch of so what? | a healthy | portion of wryness and of rue | for the setbacks and the losses | a dedication to moving on | not weighed down with too much possession | but seeing well and seeing far | through lights in the heart | but now | you uneasily discover | is more serious than you had imagined | and nothing at all as described | in the elegant pages of Firefly Epic | Astonished, actually, really astonished | to realise the epoch is not | stable | may not | even be | an epoch | not the epoch of your own | life and interests | but a horrible cage of animal puzzles | beasts in the shape of human beings | human beings in the shapes of plants and minerals | poppies and mandragora, diamonds and quartz | and when excuses were all the rage | a significant problem to run out of excuses | And you understand | the signs | You need help | You send | a message


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, November 2015)