Archives for category: Poetry

Sometimes, the love comes again | blown like a memory of summer in a sachet of warm air | in autumn | surprising you | The description deepens | there are colonnades, trellises, wisteria | perhaps even hussars parading | It is the description that matters | for most of the time, anyway | Meaning resides | in the details | the Caffe Sicilia cups | of white china | the man with a doll’s face, a little like | Andres Iniesta | you knew from years ago but hardly | remembered | such things | absorb you | time is how they pass | The statements matter as well, of course | they are like blasts on trumpets | fanfares by unfurled flags | drum rolls | the bold statements | the flourishes, the definitives | but then, somewhat bathetically, we are back to autumn, and the shorter days | the angina, the vagina, the munitions | the conditions | the description | And with the love, comes the sorrow | a kind of anchor | at which the ship drags | the vital, the precious | ship | with all those souls on board | praying to their gods or sternly | studying barometers | or, swathed in gilt, issuing clipped orders | and everyone | both passengers and crew | fret as the storm continues | to build | in intensity | their unuttered cry being | Let us survive, so that we may go on describing | who we are and what we are and where | we are | every delicate, mundane | why and wherefore | how we each | rebel from the mass | and confirm to the tribe | that we wish to live on | to feel that sadness again | on the train, in the office, in the bed beside | someone who makes us | feel so alone | the acute, diffuse sorrow | like vaporised diamond | like mist | floating on wisteria | that state, or mood, or illusion | indulgence | vision | that meaning | that conclusion | which is yet so very | difficult to describe…

A scent of honeysuckle near dusk | the evening quite still | the neighbours playing Beck | The bricks, if we stroked them | would be rough | the step | yet to be taken | not so high | it was higher | once | Clouds, still dimly visible | like Calais or the Duomo | float by | in the calm surface of a pool | of water let fall | by last night’s storm

 


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

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It was the fire, the fire that always wins every debate, and it was lit in a kiln | a womb | a kiln

And the womb was the paper, and the paint brush sprayed out pines and cockerels and malicious cats, and the ink was a kiln | her hand | a kiln

You wanted to go the way of the painter, to crawl into the lit kiln | the nest | the kiln || to go that way through the mountains, and winters of mist and sleet, the silver lake, long feathery grasses, not a dab of red colour, no way to reach back across your days to her hand | the fire | her hand

You wanted to go into her mouth, and to come out of her mouth again, to feel the wet lips, plump and succulent, so the winter | came to her kiss for the will | to go on | and she conveyed to the snow her wishes, the flipping and flopping glimmer of bullion | of bone | of bullion | of the goldfish slipped from the bowl, suffocating | on the tiles, and you | wanted to go the way of the paint, to crawl | into the pigment and the hair of the brush | to go all that way back to the studio | the endless talk | the studio

For love, for love and the days pinned | marked | bleeding, for the days that feeling | made real again for the love, the love | in a modest room | in spring | under the branches of monochrome pines, of cockerels twisting on paper, for the paint brush | sprayed out painters and her eyes | her words | her eyes | you wanted to go the way of the lover, to crawl into the lit fire | the kiln | the fire

You wanted her to go the way of your tongue | a womb | your tongue, you wanted her to look at you across the | crowded train | on the tiles, the flipping and flopping and the | shallow spree of silver, the water, you wanted her | to go the way of the fire | the flowers | the fire, | and you searched in your head for a kiln, for some milk, for a kiln | you wanted her

For love, for the days | lit and skewered, for the days | made out of nights and the wakeful moon you made to feel | real again, for the rush, for the red | splash of the cockerel’s | blood, for the seal, for the lush | Korean silk, you wanted to go the way of the | paper, you wanted to crawl | back through the fire | the womb | the kiln, crawl | back through the fire for the moment, for her bare | feet kicking out | under the sheet | the snow | the sheet, you wanted to go into her eyes | her ears | her nostrils, you wanted | to go the way of the young again | old man | you wanted to start the fire | in the room with the ink, with the | cat with the malign smile, for love | for the cafés and the students | talking and talking, you wanted to start the fire | the painting | the fire

And she conveyed to the spring her languour | to the sheets | to the spring, she conveyed | to the birds her desires | to the apricot flowers and the geese and the ducks, she | came on foot the way of the mountains, through the cold, when dynasties | die and coups and rebellions vie for completing chaos, she | rocked on the train and let her fingers | stroke the pink and vermilion | contours of your lips, she | dipped for shadows, and the students | were fervent and naive and stupid and talked and talked | pointlessly and brilliantly until they | seemed to turn almost translucent with fatigue and ideas for the future, and you | old man | didn’t want to end | anywhere, not | anywhere

You wanted to go back | to go the way again of the | lake in winter with the | plaintive calls of | geese and ducks | to find once more the ice that feeling | made cold for you, made you both hurry | across the tiles to the bedroom, and the fire, the fire that always wins every | debate, you | wanted to lie down there, in the kiln | the glance | the kiln, you | wanted to go on | to stay | go on, and so | old man | you came here, to the ink | the paper | the brush, you came here | here which is anywhere | and

vanished into all these things | these nothings | these things | for love, for the blood in the mire, for | the ink in the | boat on the river, for | the horses bucking and skewing, for | the glaze on the pot and the blossoms’ | cockerels’ red | petals, for | the name of the star, for | the ducks mating in purring blurs of gold and teal and pine | wheat | pine | by the side of the | freezing stream in spring, you | vanished into all these things, these nothings

for love |

for | her

for the fire

 


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

Some rooms claim us more than others. The slightly startled and neutral space of ‘spare’ rooms, perhaps unvisited for days. The bedrooms of children away for weeks on end at college, or travelling: dolls and idols, last season’s line-up, unsophisticated models… a whole early life faintly frozen in the act of becoming irrelevant. The toy pilot’s eyes, gazing out from his dusty cockpit. Cool blue and white sections of a heat map. The congested, bony darkness of cupboards, with brooms and meters. Attics.

There is a kind of spiritual interior to buildings, the living continued within them by their users. The way, for example, the staff will possess a knowledge of a railway station that is distinctive to the knowledge the passengers have of the “same” place. For the two separate groups of users, the rooms and spaces will connect up according to their divergent interests and occupations. Although the function of a railway station is to form a locus for transport, for the staff, who earn their livelihood by selling tickets or cleaning the facilities, transit isn’t their intention in coming to this place each day. They go not to travel but to remain. They ‘live’ the station differently. || In a sense, then, it might be said that buildings possess a double interior: that of their material nature, and that of their inhabitants’ existence. Each, I am sure, keeps secrets from the other. Which leads me to the notion of a triple interior: we might view people themselves as forms of architecture, as fluid buildings. They could be said to inhabit themselves. And it could also be said, that parts of an individual, like out-of-the-way or decommissioned rooms, remain hidden from self-scrutiny, and are only rarely, if ever, visited. No one can be said to know a building entirely, not even a prisoner in a cell, who has counted the bricks making up the walls, and mapped the cracks in the ceiling. Buildings keep secrets from us: they are never unfolded into knowing. They are buds that never blossom. You only need someone to stand next to you to render the interior of a building uncertain. Indeed, you only need to stand alone in a room, and try to remember the building’s exterior, to find yourself in a place of considerable mystery.

 


from Semapolis | City of Signs
(series of poems, unfinished, 2012–present)
(this poem, October 2012)

We know what this is for | That there isn’t enough time, but we have enough time and indeed | perhaps too much time | to reflect on | precisely this circumstance | To the Partingtons’ in the evening, the stars in the ice | taking us by surprise | like a rush of snowflakes | upwards or downwards | (we end | a little drunk) | Turned | ballerina | and gin flashes to the goose | and effervescent | whirl of sex | Clothes with the spilled perfume in the morning | I keep coming back to the same things, not that | they’re important | but simply | they happen to be the things I have | new things have stopped happening, somehow | perhaps that’s a sign of age | or merely that I am lucky? | Lucy very friendly | licking my face constantly | We know what to do with it, what it will come to, but we don’t look too far ahead — what would be the point, if points | were what were needed, anyway? | But they aren’t | Like images in a mirror | And as Milly said When it comes to yourself, you need | to choose the right mirror | The young, boiling across the street | on their way to class | perpetually renewing themselves, year after year | and the old watching them | year after year, in a steady-state, statistical ferment | a stillness in humanity | a rising and falling | with the essential | immobility of fountains | In the church, the smell of camphor in her furs | the taste of lipstick on my teeth | the ageless wariness comes in | the bareness which wakes us up | when the signals stay on red too long | or the truth begins to call in dusk | the awkwardness hanging around | the depleted trust fund | For shame, even at your age | you still take yourself | axiomatically | you don’t notice | their first thought is not for you anymore | Haven’t you listened to what they’re saying? A different politics in the grammar? | But no, of course you haven’t! | And different again | And different again…

Have I chosen the wrong mirror | I wanted to ask myself | The results weren’t too satisfying | That night on the ice, with the stars deported to the gleaming darkness | and I kept seeing you | or versions of you | a young man, cycling along | your blond hair cut in a rather 30s style | and in your intent face | a short, green fuse burning and a directness | a destination in spring | That was the ignorance I assigned you | Would it be wildly wrong to say | that half of morality is trying to work out | the relation of ignorance to innocence? | The stars boiled up from the lake | in an old-fashioned epiphany | like carnations and can-can | and some sharp cut-glass, as in Mandelstam | but their function had changed | no one needed | those types of sensation anymore | and even to me, they seemed to have outlived their myth | The tribes in the Amazon basin, for centuries | without Ruth or Joshua | and apartment from apartment | never any love, and love always, and everywhere

 


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

Enigma, unfolded and | unfolded | Tight buds where the fingertips | flush | blossoms | Harsh, also | rectilinear | a structuralist purity | in the rococo dirt | Gagging on angel, ashamed | Soft, edible, like the house | the children find in the forest | marzipan doors | translucent | jellies for windows | Palpitating | yet dry | the lush | purpose in hand | not the ashes | not the plane | downed in the jungle | Concocting | a brilliant story | but not enough | to make an ending, or even | a middle | But beginning | But ending | Folding | the wings apart | to reach | more angel | Arid | on the ridges | Totalitarian | in the stewed | amnesia of stars | Giant desert, grain by grain | swallowed | a perfect | gut of deserts | At the heart, sumptuous | But there is no heart

Test pilot’s bones | skull | capped by leather | goggles | bagged | in fraying suit | still at the controls | The raw great light of the adventure | the trapped meteor in the passing | the gas demon | in the fuel | Sky, made useful | put to work to flay | our challenge’s martyrs from mid flight | Vines | bindweed | The shattered, empty crate | and no one to puzzle | over spilled contents | Nibbling a table | in a memory’s | corner | the descent rapid | the path shallow | the fuse lit | the gunpowder | waiting | Narrating | our own | part in the history | becomes the history | a fork | in an abandoned road | Fragments, but insufficient | to make a start | Barren, where the heart begins | Glittering | a slew of wreckage | across the green | disaster | a shapely diamond | crisply cut | cold in the hands | of adjudicators | More angel | stuffed in the mouth | Implosion | The skull’s | flirtation with a butterfly’s rose | instants | told for centuries | Precise | record | Ruined | purpose

 


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

Thoughts | like photographs of falling snow | You move slowly through the fields | The city has no final address | From threads and needles | they make space and the | ruffled and desiccated stars | Although the sound of their voices and the warmth of their breath | fills each cool chamber | and was poured | in the concrete and | was the | map of silence around which was drawn | the shape of the house | they claim the rooms would be | just as empty | if you were there, or | if you were not there | the snow would fall as snow | if there were | thoughts or no | thoughts | as if | these words would not be here if you | did not read them…

Sewing space into a pattern | its archetypal blue | of winter | after the snow | The light | written into | frays and scatters | You catch hold | of a passing thread | emitted by my | sorrow | The day has just been | made differently | Losing the world | moment by moment | not noticing | is our world | Ending one subject by | starting another | Our velvet racket | is the crows’ caucus | Making the snow rise | waking it when it only wanted | to sleep…

 


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

You think you are reading, but what is that? | Most of the world isn’t in the poem, therefore | why come to the poem? | when there is so much more, so much else, so much better, endlessly | elsewhere… | Her father was a painter of signs | they made a fire for him and burned him in his own house | and I remember | undoing the buttons on the flies | of her jeans for the first | time, I didn’t feel any shadow pass over me | or sense the presence of | an accidental god passing by | Towards the end, a postman wanders into reality, wavers | is cut | and then there is just the individual and the clouds — mostly | the clouds…

Numbering the flames 1 to 7 | or some such foolish venture | The savages came whooping out of the woods | the music tilted everything towards a dream | like a lyric poem | makes the sigh of | the world rushing off into itself | sound | for a moment | like bare feet cracking twigs | on the forest floor, or | the hoarse calm wrath of the fire | consuming a home | and a whole collection of truths | If I say, “Why, look at the world | from the point of view of clouds, what | sense does the traffic make, or the people | waving their guns?” | it can’t stop the postman | walking out of shot | or the loss of innocence | being found in these words, over and over again…

 


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, September 2013)

Sir: ‘Tis a tribulation of genius | to be patronised by inferior minds | Whirled back by the London crush | the vampires of old times | something as tired as a milieu | Cabs drawn by dead horses | tuberculosis in December | etcetera in everything | the rickets of the game | Days I had to work | to make it seem like love | Other days, when it was easier

Softness in the mist, more softness | in your damp cashmere | The material… | Vanishing again into yourself, things the sea takes back | Until there is nothing but the sea | Set out my ocean stall, stale old wares, the brilliant | sculpt of gulls through salt-washed air, sailor tang, seamen | innuendo… | How the sea wanted honey | the ships’ horns | weeping for honey | Spoon by spoon, the medicine | is taken | this is | all we can offer you | Palliative care | What happened? — parts of sentences covered by blah blah blah | that’s what | In a village of idiots | the least stupid idiot… | To feed a zombie memory | caged and groaning | they are doing George A. Romero in FS | Polishing smoke | Snatching back | the picture they got | out in woolly-back country | glitters in a pouch of glance | a greenhouse | engulfed in ivy and weeds | no farmer, I guess?… | And do you know, some of them even have the gall — Darling! — to ask | “Why the sea? Why only | the sea?”…

 


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, September 2013)

When she talks to the cherry tree, it belongs to her just a little more

And when she puts her ear to the cherry tree’s trunk, she swears she can hear the beating of a tiny heart

There is too much of the calm summer day, she lies on her back on the grass and throws little questions up at the sky | When they fall back to earth, she has gone, and the mystery around them deepens || Then the evening star | is unendurably beautiful

All things have set out on an adventure | Some of the planes | don’t return

Vortex and YouTube, building a pyramid | with sugarcubes | why do I endure | the indifference of your beauty? | this waiting around | examining | all the fashions of your ignorance?

All these days of ‘but’ and ‘perhaps’ and ‘maybe’?

By praying the cherry tree tells her in her sleep you create a god

And truly, none of the planes return, their base | is no longer there | it set out, too, for the next pattern of its incarnation | a cinema | rice paddies | a place herons stalk

The young man in the café with his love and his time | doesn’t even know the cherry blossoms are the roads | he will take out of here | he only sees | the sky in its most insatiable mood of blue | most fatal | most acute | and too entire

Why can’t I bow my spirit to the spirit of the matsuri, run and chase the procession? | clap, and stamp, and dance | and sing?

Why do I want to drag down that sky | and give it even a moment’s rest in pointless words?

You won’t look at me anymore | and erase me with each breath, but I | stupidly faithful | each night | give you a handful of gods | for you | to toss casually away | onto your heap of useless things

And after all the things have set out on their adventure | why am I so stubborn | refusing the careless matsuri inside me | and loving you | my style of treachery?

 


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

It was Reunion (Panther) | I carried around with me, all the while, a bag of shattered glass | which made a soft clinking, crunching sound | and you can hear it, now | though no one, in the past, heard it | A branch of red coral, and the Greek coins | a Pegasus from Corinth, a Minotaur from Knossos | Such things | And you were the go-to guy for beating up | for rape or to kill a little time | drinking Zwetschgenwasser, keeping the fallen plums from going to waste | on the hillsides, on hot evenings | before the true disaster overcame us | And is it right, a friend always needs an enemy | the same way | an actor needs a cue? | You hear it? — that gritty, glassy sift | whenever I move? | That evening, you were the go-to guy | and so I went to you

To be far away, it’s the fate of everyone | and not to care, and not to understand | Coming to you at a tangent | I remember that terrible evening | I think I was in shock | and the event is crooked in my memory | inevitably distorted | like a black stick | from an old plum tree | seen through the clear medium | of a jar of clean water | as if broken | and I suppose it is | broken | I still | can’t quite | process the events, you know? | We only meant to kill a little time | to kiss maybe | to glance in the mirror | watch the planes | heading for elsewhere | to read and perhaps to kiss again | and then talk about what we’d read | You deserve to be hated, and so I wonder, why it is | I love you? | Oh, no — wait | My mistake | This is hatred

 


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