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)