It’s been the king and queen of days, but now its reign | is almost over | Too busy to come to terms | with anything | I’ve drifted through life | secretly idle | accomplishing nothing | though on this king and queen of days, it seems | a wonderful nothing | replete | with perfect details | bugs like jewels | ochre spotted petals and orange pistils | the sound of your helpless laughter | over some stupid joke of mine, it is all | in the timing | Now it’s the hour of the axe and the scaffold | the lopping off heads | the rise of the mass | We’ll slip out, and join the beggars | the long queues of us | the lazy and the fraudulent, the sick and the weak, the | workshy | And I suspect the end will be | superbly bathetic | a flump and a sigh | the forget, the forget… | Cold will come | Shadows will come

Breaking into a bank | of cloud | The journey dissipates our past | the destination looms like another chance | is it? | We have somehow happened on | end days | the rising, the rapture | the numbed | hours of the hospital | white light of the clinic and the camera, no | purple flush of sea anemones, inane | commute of translucent jellyfish across | miles and miles of mindless ocean… | Unwittingly, we’ve seen | the great peak has passed | the city has fallen, but the forest has not yet | arrived | They should have | cut off our heads | why didn’t they? | We go our separate ways | and evening comes on, the sun | gives a longer lease to the shadows | Whisper in my ear | Say nothing, sweetly, gently, I just want | to feel your breath against my skin | Shall we talk about the lilies and the emeralds? | Just speak, and breathe and let me | feel we are still close… | No, I’ll | speak about the everything, the all, the whole | shooting match | the heights, the summits, the royal | Yes, do, it’s the same | just one of the meetings | on the day we met | And the treasure? The inexhaustible?… | No. I forget. I forget.


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


I knew it was a tragedy, but nothing would form in my head | People used that expression, It seemed like an eternity | I wondered how they knew? | There were the small, neat, blank steps of knowledge | the descent into the pool | things packed in boxes as you might | on moving apartment | the body swelling and vanishing, swelling and vanishing | as I thought deeply or grew distracted — the pulse of the green light | at the end of the jetty in Peach Tree Bay | and the darkness it put out into: such a darkness, and the way | darkness connects to darkness | filling in the breakages | building a kind of non-map | to plan our non-journeys, of which | there are more and more each day | and your fingers accidentally | switched the phone to Airplane Mode | — just such things, and the turquoise coral | Routines would take the place | of the living we’d intended | we’d make small modifications to the design | endlessly perfecting a prototype we would never | as it turned out | bring to production | Then there were the angles again | the pristine vacuity | of our new ignorance | and the point the road branches into sloth or shock | an eternal | lack of return | Building walls to hold the walls in place | mute, a long while | staring at the apricots in their plastic punnet | it was up to you | to drag the planet into its fresh alignment | with the sun | but by then | the truth had appeared | cold and neat as a cube | of ice | faintly alien | and we had to choose | how to disregard it | The girl in the next seat | was Japanese, she said | her name was Shiori | precisely just such information | and the dry sticks which break against | the rings of Saturn | shattering the leaves as fine and thin | as moths’ wings | In the evening, earlier than we meant | we tipped the glaciers and the sulphur and the lakes | into sleep | that was what we tried to call | our structure, our stability | Her not coming | came again and again like waves | and I needed to make do | with darkness, which was traditional | And from that darkness, her not coming | came to me, at last — but not the only last, I know — and it seemed | like an eternity


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

Nostalgia… | Memories like mountains, high peaks | snow-bound in winter | The bent | boat of her body | drifts | you are inside, another, a smaller | vessel | And all the animals? | Only the unobtainable | possesses the true | cruelty of beauty | in a French hand | The grasp | weakens, and the dream falls out | rolling across the floor like a ginger | cat’s eye marble | The place | you are trying to reach | is in the past | but don’t give up, isn’t the past | within you? | Lost kingdoms | Undiscovered graves | Hypothermia sets in when your body temperature | drops below 35°…


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

Men and women
take pride in their beauty,
look long in the light,
and their years are like mirrors
under permanent skies:

but boys chasing dragonflies
are lost in a moment
and their lives are too short
for pride in their flight.

Poem from Dustless: Volume 15, For Pride in their Flight



The forecast was dry, <5% chance of precipitation | Is it chaos? I don’t know | Later, I checked the forecast again | and it said 40% chance of precipitation | and I wondered | where had that ~35% come from | in an hour or so? | We put the dogs in the car | the parasol, the gear | placed our faith in the <5% | listened to old Stones’ songs on the CD | kept the top down | and circus kind of drifted in | the fire-eaters and jugglers and clowns | and the sign of Gemini | clouds of blow by Panama | diffused through Ecuadorian cocoa, Chilean wine | dried fish from Peru | the beach seemed so far away | suddenly | the churches toy | in the distance | liberty | the hippie dream | our frayed and washed-out jeans | our minds creeping down | from Swiss chalets and precision engineering | to stubble and lingerie | long after time | narcóticos | retrogression | crepuscule | and the deep, wide, desert AWOL days | the loss of reason and of purpose | and, towards the end, the mute | obdurate ringing | of the hollow bell | of Rimbaud’s right shoe | sounding in my ear | my ear laid to the floor | is it chaos? I don’t know | Who does?

And the fire-eaters were kind of cool | one had these strange tattoos | of writhing dragons | chrysanthemums | waterfalls | she looked sad | when she stood aside | after the act | not bored by her world | but penalised by living | but tired | but caring, but | uncaring, too | Glancing into space | where was she looking? | Into her problems, I guessed | and I imagined | she was a lot of history | not so much | present | that was what made her | seem so melancholy | and I thought | you could lose a planet in her gaze | or in the gap | between her gaze and yours | lose two | lose more | Calm and | undemonstrative | she didn’t say much | when her laugh came | it was quiet and brief | but sounded genuine | perhaps she only had | one of those sad faces | and she wasn’t sad at all | not really? | On the dresser | in her room | there was a vase | with white chrysanthemums | the chrysanthemums | tattooed on her skin | were also white | A damp evening | motorbikes parked on the grass | the turf cut up to runnels | tracks of Shinkos and Continentals | marking the field with python diamonds | embossed in gleaming mud | it was late April | cold at night | cold in the morning | below average temperature | I’d say | radiance from the trailers | made the steel and chromium gleam | This town of mine | felt like a blank date | in a diary | a sequence of blank dates, in fact | where the only thing to write | beside the phase of the moon | or note that it is Hannukah or St George’s Day | is “Nothing”


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

Very gradually, it dawned on us | that things were not going to turn out | as we wanted | Dreamed of being architects or foreign | Dreamed of not hurting people | We were drawn to the derelict buildings, the remains of industrial giants | where they made cars or tools or wove textiles | now their floors | a blizzard of rubbish | But in between | we used to hang out at the river | where the rich kids went to pretend to be poor kids | We’d feel that sparkling vapour in our hearts | The white, cool, bittersweet thrill | The time — the time always short, but meaningful | and the drummer is giving it some | In our hand-me-down boots | we jumped in the snow by the railway tracks | Our epics were local, private, oddly throwaway | but no less epic for that — the twist of sycamore seeds into the drained pool, the first bourbon | the first time we heard Ornette | We knew we lived on islands | vanishing slowly under the sea | and it should have been desperate and futile | but somehow it wasn’t | we were okay | we’d survive, kinda | there would be boats | and higher land | in the meantime | a stillness under lamps with the sewing machine | and the papery flicker of moths | the scent of mother’s Dubonnet | were masterpieces of living | and we guessed they were important | because the artists so loved them | and nothing could be done to save them | they were too precious | And the clever kids | thought they’d get away | but they never did | and they never quite | saw how they were stupid | and I’m glad | who needs more pain in their life? | We each need | just exactly the right | amount of pain | otherwise | we’d never feel melancholy | As the quietness heightens | at night or on very calm days | the fridge speaks of pharaohs | the sheets make shapes | for languid bodies | stretched out | heads | spilling odd thoughts | was this, after all, what we’d asked for? | The fingernails, clipped from you | the moustache of milk | and the small gasp | of pleasure and lack of air | as you put the glass down | the stetson made of golden felt | Going away to school | Believing in much more | than the forgotten dead | the clubs we went to | the ties we severed | the dude | the Chevrolet | the beat-matching | Being new | with the brave jump | as the roads taught us | with all that was left | moving forward | with only the future, forever


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

Falling into a light sleep, take someone | with you, touch of cool | snow-shine fingers, fresh | rustle of young birch leaves | under a blanket | with the hoofs of blue reindeer | crush crush crush of steps | parting in | dividing paths at the heart | of a ghost | dripping | clock of meltwater | and the white-painted room, really the first | colour of spring | a faint | taste of kirsch still on your lips, who | put it there?


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

The suitcases, which became too heavy to drag | The road with a rotting calm, when it is quiet at night, under the streetlamps | Up in the mountains, the populations grow old, they will find a way | No one means for it to end like this, in the brightly lit car-park | below the BUDGET MEATS sign | all the vodka we drank | the tenderness we sought | the caresses dry like ink | on certain words | they are never beautiful anymore | and we don’t want to | caress anymore | They will find a way, they will move on, or stay, like those ageing folk up in the mountains | their children having left for the city | and a better life | Or lose their country and give up | With the translucence of vodka | straight, the chatter of ice | the arguments about the midfield and the wings | the small delves around his wrist | my fingertips explore | leading to the beach | the child’s pink seahorse and her tongue stained | orange from her lolly | and further off, later, the incessant traffic on the motorway | a desolate sound | a lobotomised, voracious grind | and yet it is only | people finding their way | he doesn’t understand why I find it so sad | And if it ends like this | she will have no complaints | they will not call me | and they’ll never leave the mountains now | and you will rest your head against my head | with the beauty of the truly lost | but burn like most, and like no one | we won’t flee the homeland | they won’t wave their magic wands | we won’t count | we will not stay to understand | we will not burn like Mitterand


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

Did I tell you, once, that I was the Greatest? | They fell before me, and something in them | wanted it | desire to sleep | for it to be gentle | and real, at last | snowflakes falling on snow | After a true connection | all they listened to, for hours, was the prettiest | echo in the echo chamber | a few of them | never heard a voice again | Rising was best | the sweet gnaw of hunger pinned | along a thread of grease and blood | to the end | My wrath was sure, a way of travelling | ore-coated caves and fragile vessels | and my vengeance was grace | I was determined | Kin, companions, I sacrificed a few | girls sheathed in a midnight glitter | worked out | to slippery pearls | yes | I sacrificed them, too | whatever did they want of me? | To be the king, to be a thing of pinnacles | and so I ruled, and climbed, and didn’t | take them with me | They never knew | what to do with beauty | most | were too weak to see it or | to feel it | even their own beauty | but I saw | I felt | and I tasted | then I moved on | ascending | Storms and the coldest | shoulders came | cataracts and hard tarmac | in lay-bys, at mobile burger bars, queues | among the beaten | for a beating | they turned the flashlight elsewhere | Watching from a corner | I saw the latest lion parade | it all seemed unreal | no one noticed me | or knew my name | slipped away | through the holes in my shoes, and the holes in my feet | lingering a while | in the outskirts of the latest | of a long | series of anonymous towns | Shiver, now, my life | is waterfalls and dust | all that destruction | wrought so well | rendered worthwhile | rendered, at last| intangible | Broken through | my skull that charging bull | of high power | was lit and scattered | to a brilliant powder | a spell | cast by magicians with no care for us | and through a fine mist | pushing branches aside | like young birds no need for a nest | there, by chance, I opened my eyes | and suddenly | I saw the Greatest

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

Slowly, my wishes became monuments.
When she pressed her lips against the tissue
a slit of lipstick was left,
a Rorschach butterfly
in Rouge Mysore —
such a fragile detail,
and when we exchanged a kiss
it was desire for order,
the tissue falling into the bin
like a wounded snowflake.

Don’t, she murmured.

The party was boring,
another room in the house of regret,
an opulent mansion, filled with strangers.
I wanted to go back
and lift the tissue from where it had fallen,
a keepsake of almost nothing,
the stuff of life.
Instead, we talked about politics and films,
ice sheets and global warming.
We made our excuses and left early
but the forecast blizzard never arrived.

In the car we listened to music.
Held you tight but, darling, couldn’t hold you
the singer crooned. A commentator
said the characters engraved on the Taishan monument
looked like white sunshine
after the showers of late autumn have passed.
We don’t know the real beauty of the Taishan characters
because the stone monument has fallen apart
and not even a rubbed copy is left.
And still, when we drew up outside our house,
there was no snow.