Archives for category: Poetry

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



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.


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)

Poor eyesight reduced everything beyond about ten paces to a blur. The limit of those ten paces thus formed a kind of horizon for her, producing an intimate, personal domain from the larger bag of the world belonging to the clear-sighted. When not wearing her contacts, she existed at the centre of a globe of haze, smudge and ghosts. At ten paces, people’s faces began to drop their masks of definition, to lose individuality; at twenty paces, their bodies, too, shed specificities, so that personality, age and even gender became embroiled in the general debate over shadow and fuzz. At first exasperated, and troubled by not having her lenses in, as the years passed, she gradually came to understand her situation not as one of deficiency but difference, and not of loss but of alteration. Was her experience of life any less rich than that of people who could see to the end of a railway carriage? In truth, she became a little more callous: as her condition worsened, so more and more people surrendered their identity, their place in her optical theatre. Her perception’s stage grew smaller and more bare. The showman in each human being was excluded by her inability to focus on all but the most private, chamber performances. Attraction and repulsion became less feasible for her: when most people belong to a crowd of faded and anonymous extras, melting towards the impersonal status of objects, the opportunity to flirt, or to be disgusted, lessened. Indifference set into her like a spell of fine weather. She found she no longer cared, and the current of her libido waned. Somehow, people’s conversation began to blur just as their appearance did. There was no detailing on their clothes, no nuance of cut or stitch; it was all a general conclusion, a mélange of opinion and cliché, a kind of intellectual bric-a-brac. Who knew where the silver in the bracelet migrated? What did her hands have to do with Mozambique? And quasars and quarks and gorgonzola cheese? Curiously, she started to pay less attention to her own appearance, as if it was other people who couldn’t see properly, as if she, too, were slipping away into the realm of the ill-defined, a place of tame and routine spectres. Sitting on the tube, her world was a pearl of inattention, nearly everything expelled from the centre to form a glowing periphery. Bowed over the book in her lap, she read intently. Her taste was for histories, and for epic fiction.

Across the world, no accord can be accomplished: the difference of lives is too great. He read in his book: Politics has become shopping. There were fissures in his hands, a sense of bourgeois loneliness, a solitude composed of privacy and specialisation. Elsewhere, people were engaged in terrible struggles, lives were being lost. What is the weight, though, of a meaningless life? A life that has no one to collect it at the end? To meet it, grade it, place it in the suitable receptacle? There was no room anymore for cemeteries, developers needed the land. The living pressed in on the dead like hungry crowds. He read in another book about the fate of certain species of orchids, plants which had grown over-reliant on the services of particular insects in the pollination process. As the ecosystem shifted, the bees died or moved north, and the forest changed: the orchids were left, high and dry, hanging out the wares of their lovely flowers one year, but no one was buying. His melancholy deepened as the patterns reinforced themselves. His brain was a map for depressions and anxiety: they knew where to come. He loved the strange angles things had, sometimes. When he glanced at the beautiful woman opposite, he thought of the grey and white cat on the garden shed, arching up, sniffing at cherry petals.


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

You felt as if you were missing an illusion | to complete your wisdom | so you set out | on your last journey | It’s an old story, kind of | Voyages | from the red | petals of coals glimpsed through | veils the bridal | spiders dropped | as guests ran from a stirred unease | of rainswept weddings | pages of Whitman or Verlaine | stained by pressed flowers | a washed-out | lavender or | windswept | rose | a whole | history | of sentiments and misadventure | lies right | on the edge of truths | all they lacked | finally | was love | Across continents | by Boeing or Airbus | hibiscus in Hong Kong | camellia in Tokyo | the heart as sweet jar, trick or sump | Flicking through the book of the mirror | skipping the florid roué with the watery, evasive eyes | pausing only briefly at the rue-filled charlatan | or the blood-dipped | buck | lingering over the statesman | and good friend | the naked boy | stripped of his tutu | too tired to | make the layers of | white irony | rustle or shine…

Wolves are coming | wolves with black fur, blacker even | than the beginning of everything | blacker, the fur, than | the darkness | snuffed candles | slipped into | a spider-slung room | in a remote chateau, to the east, 1708 | Wolves with | white fur, too | Wolves | with every | kind of fur | Do you understand | the concept of wolves? | If so, set out | on your last | journey | run quickly! | floundering | through the thigh-deep snow | escape if you can | Wolves | with eyes so purely blue | even the survivors will never | see anything so pure again | but the blood | fuck! | it ran copiously | and made a truly | horrible mess | against the background | of a perfect, crisp | winter’s noon | Very soon | you and I | will be so | alone | I’ll bring the vision | you’ll bring the excuse | I’ll bring the anchor | you the storm | I the proposal | you the partial | negation, and in such a way | we’ll negotiate | this onerous moment | I’ll stay | you’ll leave | that’s how | the joke works | Ask for all the great lines | to come round | again, and again | It’s not | going to | happen | Listen, I’ll be | the sorrow | you can never | reach | the lovers | you let fall and drift | the promises | you made and didn’t | even | regret | breaking | I’ll be the glum inexorable | munch of circumstance | against the fine-cut | foundations of heroic ideals | the tiring | stature of your soul | fatigue of limb and bond and reason | the drying up | of lust and even | of affection | and the wolves, again | and the ocean of their needs | Feel for one | last time | the vast | boat of the spring, the only | real season | setting out | with a cargo of | flowers and leaves | choking gold | flagrant sheens | pouts and pots | astral | expansions | of purple and crimson | glisten of | the mighty | insects waking | taking the pollen strain | in their long teams | and all the words | I write | now | all my wisdom | compiles | the fall of cold rain | over the cold sea | no matter what I do | I can only | commit the oldest | indiscretion | with the newest | hands | then turn away | and cast my child into memory


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

On electric winds, seeds of memory are scattered and | clicked away


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