Archives for posts with tag: fp2

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)


Believing the day back into roses | a carafe of water | like a pinch of Degas or Sisley | but is it ours, do we deserve it? | Believing my name, Michael, comes back to me | and I go towards my name | these are Michael’s hands | Michael’s words | for a few moments, he is strung upon them | as beads strung on a wire | then there is oxygen | the dachshund barking | the phantom moraine of the remainder | the Alps, the compasses | the forgotten keys | the locked doors | the tomorrows | the yesterdays

Believing things | into the shape | we suppose | is theirs | Knowing our way around the philosophy | the software | the drainage | system | Putting our faith in the others | the ones guarding the maps | the definitions | they will keep Paris safe for us | they will explain the cirrus | the Caucasus | the circus and cicadas | we trust the others to watch | over the genial | prisoners of fact | decision | place | status | time | etcetera, etcetera | So we can start the narrative | commence it with waking | I can use my doubts | my scepticism | to fend off what you do to me | what | you want of me and I can’t give | though I pretend | I am | giving | And by many small steps of mistrust and fear | I can make my journey | into the drab | glaciers and the plains of ice | the gradual | death from cold | the cypher’s position | in the futile bureaucracy | control/alt/command | the water-cooler affairs | the back slash | undo undo undo | I heard that, later, David | wept over Goliath | years later, I mean | grieved over that great, stupid corpse | and the head dragged through the dirt | a head so bulky and heavy | it was half David’s height, and the same weight as him | David | missed that Philistine, and, perhaps | the moment of killing | and in his dreams | hauled that head by the hair | through the dirt | manhandled the head | somehow | scraped and bumping | along the ground | over and over again | and when David wakes, each day, he wakes | to the gross volume of emptiness | in his arms | the hunk of vacuum | he could hardly | move | that massive head | only a few | minutes before | flaming with pride and blasphemy | stories of mothers and weapons | dawn over the Valley of Elah | sparrows and buntings in the terebinth trees | his body worked out in the morning | the flutter and bustle | of his immortal living | the continual | fizz and mutter and hum | inside his high skull | and on his skin | as he rested, and closed his eyes | the good feel of the sun


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

Day on its side, leaking out | We’d just watched Zigeunerweisen | now the clay pots were very still | on the shelves | in autumn everything | has a certain stillness | don’t you think | you feel the poise | in living? | Branched | rapidly away | my boy, Jan, on the Shinkansen to Kyoto | bright zip and fire brought to ancient capitals | a little flash and chutzpah! | innocence breathing in a temple garden | with camellias and maples | writhing pines | snapped by Canon to a dreamy | bokeh effect | dew-points to washed-out memories of stars | diamond dreams | And Cal | painting her room blue and blue and blue | by text I tell her | “blue” is one of my favourite words | and she agrees, likes the rhymes | like “glue” and “zoo” and “hullabaloo” | I love that last one! | As the cancer advances | language dies off | in the coma stage | they lie and gradually | deteriorate | the details begin to go their own ways | back to the place they first formed | out of nothing | turn from Special Foreground Radiators | to General Background Integrators | their lion moments, their sun moments | over | And inside the vases | the shadows, the dead insects | the air | balanced on a calm Gestalt | brakes breaking | while we | delayed into vision | do our similar thing | we brake breaking | and brake breaking | and brake breaking…

A fading franchise | declining brand | Reading a book on Romanticism | super-lush roses on the cover | and I kind of feel | I’ve become so bookish, too | it’s like I’m wearing a dust jacket | more text than speech | more print than breath | more style than substance… | The web expands in graceful lines | a silver of Airstreams and modish living | archaic hipsters out in Bisbee | or for the night at XOYO in Shoreditch | sepia leaks in and a | superior morality | Stretch my legs | get away from the rush and the roar | the nominal relativity | the ego and sublimity | they say there is this other world | where you can use the word | “just” | without feeling ashamed | as in | “I was just taking my time, we’d gone | back to basics” | but I don’t know if that’s true | Assembling my team | putting together my arguments | jumping in the sack with a new | inamorata | with a deflated heart | totting up the total | keeping up the appearance | building up | to the grand | climax


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

Galleon room | hold dry to the bitter end | Numerous | striped pots, many with displays of lilies | and step ladders erected | black chairs, black tables | ceramic mugs, bowls with cereal | a bowline slung across the foreground | a cleat hitch melts into the rope | and wires, too, with pegs attached | moustaches, sombreros, wine bottles fixed | a half-eaten pear on a plate | of white bone china | Great drift and bank | of sand | and waterspouts and abrupt squalls | the delicate ticking of a beautiful watch | right in, close to your sleepy gaze | and a subtle, manifold creaking | of timbers and rigging | a jar of memories | with myrrh and oranges | tractor parts | tulips from the Netherlands | pungent | and brilliant | spices | seeds | or the machine’s unconscious of the super-deep crude | Footsteps, up on deck | and the peep, peep of a silver-tone whistle | A cheval glass, at an angle | and on the floor, a solitary shoe | and shoes | lonely shoes | tell the longest stories | Voices, shaven from a cloud | children’s voices, infants’, ma mère | a glittering near-weightless tinkle | of Christmas lights drawn against | the attic darkness | the dog’s bark lopped | from Tuesday night | the firm stride | of a distant Papa | and the terrible | heroin son | his laughter | going back into the cloud again | finding him on his bed | manacled to echoes of Messiaen | the ivory, with more wires and keys | softening the Lazuli bunting | or the Cardinal rouge de Virginie | her French accent was really | terrible… | These landlocked moments | slice the boredom and exotica | disguise the grandeur and the age | and though we do not notice (and even, if we noticed, would not care about — but | we truly | don’t notice) | still singing | its pure, wry, weary song | the solitary shoe’s no longer there | only tales of the freight’s journey | the hook that caught the loose pyjama sleeve | and tore us into | one another | and the sublime and all-consuming storm | our days become | fraught and sweet and slightly pompous | and the words | tingling in our eyes and ears | like the ethereal wreckage from a dream | and in that dream | a port


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

The money slides away | it becomes like gas or mist | evaporates from accounts | and their homes | too | start to evaporate | the bricks and mortar | the roof over their heads | the streets come closer | the concrete | the bathroom and the | street comes closer | the money slides away

It was like | What am I going to do now? | For 15 years, it was like | living in a gigantic aircraft hangar | sleek and cool and cavernous | and I was working on that massive plane | The wings stretched out and almost touched | the hangar’s sides | and I kept busy, you know | the plane was so compelling, and it filled the space | and it took up my time | sometimes it was even | hard for me to move because | the plane was so colossal | we were cramped for room | But then one day | we finished work on the plane and | it was rolled out onto the tarmac | and it flew away | and then I walked back into the hangar | and it was so empty | I can’t tell you how empty | only, a word | even a softly | spoken word | echoed in there | now the gleaming fuselage | didn’t take the sound | and soak it in… | It was like | Jesus had left the building | like Lazarus had deserted the grave | and you know | a lot of people came and looked down | into that empty grave where Lazarus had been lying | the coffin broken and the litter from | other tourists and sightseers | around the mounds of earth | and it seemed to me that | when Lazarus got back from the commotion | around the grave | when he slipped into his apartment | put on the espresso machine | sat down quiet and still | on the balcony | overlooking the sterile | unfriendly neighbourhood where he lived | after he’d showered and removed any odour of the tomb | and put into his hair instead | scents of strawberries or jojoba | he might have looked up | and seen | very high in the sky above him | a plane passing overhead | and he might have asked himself | What am I going to do now?

The money slides away and | your knees graze on the concrete paving stones | when you fall | You couldn’t | carry the roof | from over your head | in your pocket | You had to put the temple down | put the aubergines and the organic | carrots down | the street came closer and closer | and there was no bathroom | in the street | no landline | and Mahomet goes home at night | and Rimbaud and Mrs Kelly | and Signor the cat and | Tank the beige pug | and Signor is fine-spun Siamese | if you look into their windows | you’ll see them all at night | the God of the Nine Monkeys, Atum, Baal, Zeus and Amaterasu-ōmikami | they’re all at home | watching Netflix | maybe old musicals | or documentaries | on Goldman Sachs or Treblinka | or the ecosystems of coral reefs | or they’re doing their washing | or dividing space up into | divine segments, with nothing | ever left over | and their homes are solid | the work done on them | was good | they stand and give off the comforting | aura of permanence and respectability | but let me tell you | o my sister, o my brother | they are not in the street | the street is | far away from them | the street where you | find the kindness | is running out | and the violence | is starting to flow | more copiously | and you see | no sign of Baal here | do you? | No sign of Siddhārtha | no small offerings of rice or rose petals | or the fumes | of incense of sandalwood or cinnamon | or juniper | although sometimes, perhaps, you might hear | the beginning of a question | like | What is the — or How shall we — | but you never hear the ending | to the question | and the answers | therefore | scatter even further away from you | but it’s okay | maybe we’ll get more work in | Moscow, or Southern California?

The accounts empty, the debt | slides in | and the buildings that were secure | start floating | The money glides away | it leaves the trees and the deli and the recycling bins | and goes where it must go | drawn away | to fire the furnaces | to fuel the research | to reinforce the walls | to collect | in gilded backwaters | where the tracks of the former railway | where the trucks of the former conglomerate | where the policy of the former administration | where the… and the… | and where | in the distance | through the fir trees | there’s a sound of hammering and buzzsaws and tractors | and with winter closing in | you wonder | as the carpenters work on the roof | and the electricians | work on the fence | What are they going to | do in this building?


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

Keep back the harm | tenderly | Locate the night, and the parts | of the night | tenderly | lashed to a bull’s sun | Hold off the blows, the longed- | for blows | and cup the falling blood, cup and | cut and | keep the stars | From the harsh fist | an untold palm is drawing | out a caress | and along the green stem | briefly and suddenly | the petals tremor | Down-broken | gates | the quick | shot of lace to the skull | and in the dust | thunder | and more shaking | Ward off | the crush | Open | the unsung | want | and want it | to the point of | song | Only to the Ooh La La, the raw | throat’s calm | croon | and rush the tape | the boiling | tape | to run the race the loser wins | the race | all losers | win | Before the war | before the crash | holding on to harm | gripping horns | hard | to force the head | to follow down | the softening line | cut the stars | and cropped the storm | found the ruins | gentle | And picked | from angels’ pockets | what was there | a bit o’ the necessary | gold and the way to milk | and feathers | took | short sleep | and waited in | a nick and groove | bored through shadows | found ourselves at peace | when, merely from a nothing-much, meaning to go back | quite soon | we stayed on | a little later than imagined | and to the rustle and the ripple | the stomp and kick | of French can-can | could pull out the thorns | and bid the devil rest awhile | from his onerous | routine of sin | found | we could make this run for it | and we did

Bull-rushing sun | flamed out for the cool | suspension of the lucid moon | Stripped free | from the dazzle of those gimmick jewels | form our blackness and our pallor too | we are again | the lonely and the desperate | the greedy and the cruel | Tape up the hands | fit on the gloves | for others’ entertainment, and for our own | slit rope of heartbeats fraying | let us dance | Don’t say | it is not you | sliced the tongues | from the angels’ mouths | to make them | sing a little differently | don’t say | you aren’t on show | pulling down the angels’ drawers | to make them laugh, the passers-by | don’t | pretend you’re kind | or good | or innocent | don’t waste their time, the poets | or the passers-by | talking shit | filling raw heads | with paradise, tomorrow or the Fall | stuffing into the angels’ eyes | the pure green limes of leaves | torn from the trees on Silver St. | in early spring | a little after dawn | the dew still on them | no thought of love | no thought of tears | no thought | at all…


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

Just for the people, just for the people | So the heart comes round again, and you will see

So the music comes in again, and you will step back | just for the people

So the children come home again, after a long day

And you will see the right path, join with the builders

So the light softens and the foot comes off the gas | and the breath comes slower, goes slower | so the blood comes around again | so the children come again, after a long day missing

And you will join with the builders, and you will see

Just for the people, just for the people | So the gestures go gentle, and the fists unfold | into palms | and the fingers | tremble a little | and the breath comes slower, goes slower | and the foot comes off the gas

And you will see | the way through, the kind light, after a long day missing, you will see | the children come back again | taking the right path

And the builders know what they will build | and know, too, how they will build | and why they build | and the architecture of the moment will change | just for the people

Just for the people

The hand that unfolded its caress | so the heart came round again | and we will see

So the children came home again, after a long day | missing in the money and the need and the fear | in the kind light | they’re taking the right path

So the foot comes off the gas | and the heart beats slower | the caress knows the way to fall | and the moment opens | its new architecture

And we will join with the builders | and we will come | when the children call

Taking the right path

Just for the people

When they found the wreck, many years later | the jewels in the barrels | guns in oil | the wings broken to stubs | I still want to | take a shot at salvation |     | And when they saw what had gone down | did they understand? | No! Not at all | And the jungle creepers | made a nest of the cockpit | that was my future | and maybe it will be again? |      | We’ve seen evenings before | we’ve walked down this | fire-gutted corridor before | We’ve seen the chef’s sharpest knife | wrapped up in ochre silk cloth | before | and we’ve written poems before, and | mislaid them in a book somewhere, not in Cammeray | or in the flushed, Arthurian green | of the cottage in Cornwall | we know the score | we just | can’t quite get the music… |      | The head, poking out of the leather | the mushroom | skull peeping out of the face | the bones of the hands in the great gauntlets | the fingers | playing abstractedly on the keys | of a stand-up piano — old things, old | dry things | you want to put a kick in the echo | follow the fuse | as it fizzles and snarls | lilac and violet | and we remember | the gunpowder | doesn’t question the spark | shall I take a | shot at salvation, for a while?

So we opened up the throttle | and we could see | it was an old romantic notion | grey-blue as the smoke | from Bogart’s cigarettes |       | the monkeys hooted and barked | squalled and fled | what does it matter | if the angel is mechanical | so long as it has wings? |      | Then we go in | to the basement garage | after a king tide and a supermoon | in the ankle-deep water | see the octopus flaring | limbs over the concrete | its chute all blown |      | And we keep the motor running | on the moss and the malachite | a fairy orchestra | of mites and ticks and sighs |      | And do they give the prizes out? | No! Not till the wire | has reached | all the way | through the throat, then | they’ll show their wonder, baby | and then, they’ll grant their lucre and their smiles |      | Yes, we’ve opened up the JD | yes, we’ve watched the soldiers with their dice | carved from ivory | and we ran straight out the hotel | through the lobby with the firemen | but we couldn’t find the right words | not even | the wrong words |       | it was a dirty silence | and he had won the medals | had been mentioned in despatches | but when they rummaged through the diamonds | and the emeralds | and all that | ancient junk | in Miami | we fell asleep in the Mirador | after picking out the needles | and stuffing the beginning | hard into the end |      | we sorta knew | it was our past | we sorta wondered | whether it would be again?

Did they stand and applaud? — when the snakes came out | of where the eyes used to be? | and cut the white lard from the slab | rake their fingers through the myrrh | shoot the rare fantails from the branches | wipe their arses with pages | from the Bible or the Bard | did they stand and applaud | when they tasted Pharaoh’s honey | or slipped from glassine bags | Fugitive or First Class? | No! | They stayed in the theatre | stumped in their seats | while the feature played | over and over | and they pulled their fire shirts | over their naked bodies | then no one | could put them down |       | so we went without fanfare | and our voices | were gradually pummelled | and split from shards of bad kisses | and packs of museum honour | bits of glass chivalry | of purple and bronze | and crushed | and overturned | and further pummelled and crushed and smashed | in the waterfall’s roar | of the rumbling hooves | of the last stampede | in the wake of the dust | of the rush of dead horses

We were climbing the mountain, after so long | and the climb was long, too | You could say the mountain had been that way | for eras and dynasties | And the climbing was hard, dangerous, as it should be | But then the mountain began moving, and then | oh, I don’t know… |     | That morning, caught up in the reins | it took me a while to wake | You were sliding through my hands | it’s easy to do | and we came to the shore | later than we’d imagined we would | We were losing our footing | The myth was more stable than the truth | Though I felt exhausted | I knew I would sleep in the evening | There are all these uses for sleep | don’t you think? | It took an age | to recover from that bar-room brawl | and you knew | you’d never play piano again | Still, we chatted late into the night | politics is a good subject | but we never quite managed to fit | the means to the ends | There were too many claims, too many causes | Waiting for the burden | and waiting for wild horses

I’m Third Goon | and I’m coming for you | And I was Rest-Stop Whore, and all the time | I was coming for you | I was Museum Curator, I was Theatre Critic | I was coming for you | And I was Lifeguard, and I was Truck Driver | I was coming for you | I’m Drunken Sailor, I’m Undertaker’s | Assistant, and I’m coming | for you | I was Queer Wrestler, and I was Blonde Author | I was coming for you | And I was Dead Pilot, and I was Blind Jockey | I am coming for you | And I was Girl On Train, and I was Mutant Agitator | I was coming for you | I’m Young Thug | and I am Thug With Snake Tattoo | and I’m Sensitive Thug | and I am Geeky Thug | I’m coming for you | I’m Well-Spoken Bum | and I’m Idiot Tourist | you know | I’m coming for you | I’m Yawning Clerk | and I’m Yawning Waiter | and I’m Yawning Soldier | I’m Smoking Grunt | I’m Vet In Wheelchair | and I’m coming for you | I’m Mandarin Speaker | I’m Marylin’s Double | I’m Trans YouTuber | and I’m coming for you | And I was Dead Cowboy | and I was Mad Cook | I was coming for you | And I was Sam’s Partner | and I was Professor Alexandria’s | Protégé | I was coming for you | And I was Singing Conductor | and I was Innocent Bystander | and I was Kind Nazi | and I am Alto Sax | and I am Second Hawaiian | Shirt | I am coming for you | And I am Bellhop In Cream | Livery | and I was Bookshop Bore | and I was Pickpocket | and I am Pump Attendant | and I am Store Manager | and I am Office Ogre | and I am Chatty Desk Clerk | and I am Noisy Librarian | and I am Retired General | and I am Nervous Poet | and I am Train Surfer | and I am Crematorium | Worker | and I am Sleepy Reader | On The Bus | and I am Lost Child | and I am Demon With | Long Curly | Tongue | and I am Scarred Punk | and I am Tardy Angel | and I am Hip Black | Dude | and I am Limping Nurse and I am Staring Geriatric | and I am Running Paedophile | and I am Jazz Snail | and I am Thirsty Survivor | and I am Dazed Politician | and I am Neapolitan Charmer | and I was Angry Diver | and I was Choosy Psycho | and I am Lazy | Buddhist Monk | and I am Movie House Cricket | and I am Red Lizard | and I was Dozing Sentry | and I was Frightened Suicide | Bomber | and I am First Pie | and I was Wicked Smile | and I am Overachiever | and I am Neurotic Pastry | Chef | and I was Skinny Ballet | Dancer | and I am coming for you | and I am John Tate | and I am Righteous Preacher | I am coming for you | and I am Dying Patient | and I was Chancellor | and I am Wild Stranger | and I’m coming for you | and you know | I’m coming for you | and I’m

There’s a loud cry, and then the word scatters to all parts of the song

A woman steps out of the car, one foot | out of the door |     | It isn’t fire washing down the street, not today | There is peace in the centre

A man gets into a car, it isn’t the start | of a joke |     | People in the back of a van carry guns | Their faces are covered |      | Graves draped over them

Children are lined up, rising on the escalator |     | They each have ideas, can we not be | a little sentimental | on this day, of all days?

A bag, and a loud bang | We walked by the storm in the novel: More detonations, and the sound of the giant dice of thunder, softened by distance, rolled and re-rolled and faded across the valley. | I touched your arm

A song with moonlight, Americana and cocaine | Another song, with God and heaven |     | We are stirred

First, there’s no reason at all | Later, we have ideas: we can be better, we can forgive, or be more tactical

There’s a rush, and the buildings begin to flatten | in a wave |      | sunlight, in the window of a department store, she dawdles, you |      | tug at her | trying to draw her | away

History pours in where the song | gets fused with metal — no angels for Papa, no bliss for Drug Boy, mango for Sheila

A rush of hush, like a spurt of soda water |     | Then come the trees, to begin again with forest

You don’t |     | normally sing, but now, you start singing | and crying |     | I’m not sure | we deserve to cry? — after what we’ve done?

Folding the world into our sleep | by the edge of the sea | under the water | we can’t speak

History pours out where the cry fades | the Underground begins to empty

Crude graves, with no time |     | to dig better

You hang on, and you don’t | stop singing | but you do | stop weeping | and because you keep | singing | though your voice is growing hoarse | and neither you, nor I, know if we’re right | or wrong | or even if | wrong or right | comes into it, now |     | still, I am stirred

For a moment

the song scatters to every part of the word