Archives for posts with tag: hypergrammar

Has the time passed when we | will have forgotten this?

Coal dust and roses

Intimate eye, no more truthful | than any other | except | in that it is our eye, this | intimacy: it is | our kiss…

Coal dust and Jack Frost

No, no: my kiss | A thief’s share, always | Then barrels of traffic, blunder and clouds | round and round | five more days | of commuter life… | My kiss, not ours, I take it | in a sack thrown over my shoulder | across rooftops at night | tip-toe and teeter, trot and slide | on clinking tiles | fear like a cat’s eyes glowing | in a sudden shaft of moonlight…

Jack Frost: where are his footsteps?

Burning dry flowers on a fire | in the same grate over time has gathered | the ashes of ledgers | faggots of cherry, oak | peel of satsumas | and slight | satsuma pips | spat through smoky air | lissom with glisten

Why the tears? So smoky in here

How can I put this?

Portents and foreboding

Where can we put this?

Charms, chimes, gleams, games

Where did the wind come from? | blows a vapour of cataracts | from the silenced willows? | The river’s | rifle doesn’t fire | I get so confused | by saints and skaters

An overpowering scent of cold woodsmoke | in mornings cracked from slumber | and a hoar cocoon

Has the time come | for us to forget this?

Thompkins’ barn a black mass | gorgeous | theatre where spiders weave their cobweb ruffs, a spiteful | tractor rusts but did it move? | Did it?

Intimate, belonging only to us, a jewel | locked in boxes of moments and inches | how much | theft is left in us?

Coal dust and boots

November boy, that matters, skews the seasons round a jot | blends the humours | add a pinch of solitude | like an airy yeast | snow | inters Jackson’s ditch | we grow caught up | in the sea’s | transactions with the moon | a life | littered with hidden, personal things

Boots, and fire tongs, and coal dust

And your heart? Will it?

Withered flowers not fresh with giving

Grieving | and the Laceys’ girl borne stillborn | the Carpenters’ girl | born premature

Has the time come

when we will remember this?


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, January 2014)

Left hidden, meaning to be found later

Midway across the bridge of an instant, press on, hoping to get to the other side

The blizzard worsens, take shelter in a woodsman’s hut | the ghost you find there, you pour into her | all the love you have been concocting | out of sight | slipped in the backs of the books of | harmless pleasantries


The single bullet the suicide cherishes | hidden among routine light | under the frozen surface | bulbs sleep, porting their secret | Heat and fragrance you will never find

Mademoiselle in daffodil silk | all a-fluster | She stoves the sun in her pocket | What is the sensation | whips the clouds to such fine lather, pushes April deeper into harm | teases the petals, all at once, open?

Soft bash and flutter in the woods | the birds are set | rushing to their own discovery

When she leaves me, I dream of that book again, the one where | when | I part its pages | banknotes peel out in streams and fall

Bones for the attic | boards for the floor | and what the rich | think of the cold

Irregulars | steal from the store | The plummet and gash | of milk from the clay jug | shatter of mother on cool tiles | the pantry | in my paternal | grandparents’ house | the narrowest of alleys | reduced to a snowflake | creaking in a cobweb | scatter | of raider rats’ claws

Going back | to the same place, but the same place | has gone

I wake suddenly, into an aura of treasure

Bones for the flagstones | bones for the gutters



from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, January 2014)

All the mothers are walking towards the sea.

They aren’t going to be mermaids, or angels, or anything like that, and they aren’t going to be motionless for too long, or food for worms — although, I guess, some of them will be mermaids

for a little while.

All the mothers are walking towards the sea. My mother, first.

The sea raises its old white head, and makes shapes — strikes poses, not even from memory, for it is beyond | memory, and before

memory, too.

The mothers are walking towards the sea, the ones who died in their cars, the ones who burned, and their mothers walk in front of them, their children straggle behind.

The fathers can’t make sense of it, so instead | they do what they always do, and watch, impotently, as the sea | dumps its tons of white carnations | onto the beach, they have things they must achieve | before they die in cars, die from inhaling | smoke: they have money to make, and money to squander, they quickly | grow tired of watching the waves | foam into the sand, and their children are calling.

All the mothers are headstrong, they insist | on walking towards the sea, your mother, first.

Their beds were green, eyes | peeped out from between the leaves. They loved the evenings in the city | in summer just after rain | the lights were tender then, the future stretched wide, like a plain, and their bodies | came upon them over and over again | like king tides.

They go in lines, towards the shore, it’s not a matter of will, not a matter of thought or of design, not a matter of fate, and the fathers | can’t make sense of it, they start running away, although I guess | with their children calling, why would they linger?

The sea raises its young white head, just for the mothers.

Along the coast road, as night falls, the traffic builds, the vehicles put on their lights, it will take a while | to get to the city. Put on some music. Sleep in the back.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Let me tell you: it’s already happened.

All the mothers are walking towards the sea. Their young children | struggle to catch up.

My children, first.


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, December 2016)

Far off from this empty capital | peasants bow their heads into the wind | butt against the earth | the green | liquid and rot of the forest…

Bureaucrats hurry to shred information | You remember, move quickly away | hang out in a destroyed bar | where they still play | the old music

Sometimes, they’ll use the lamp posts | for gallows | string up | not only the tyrant, but the tyrant’s | lover and children

But this is not history

Are there laws | bring you here? | A mound of accidents | elegantly refined | into a life?

Browse through a dusty novel | with images of famous bombs

What use is new music?

In the wreck of a beetle | tiny wasps are laying eggs | but you have chosen the desert | not the dunes…

You have chosen the forest | not the path…


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, November 2014)

What is your past without its fantasies? | The trenchant

question you thought of, but never asked? | From the pen, spring blossoms in strands of air | swirl | A cargo of leaking chemicals | mixing | lilacs and herons on the estuary | Pasternak and Mayakovsky | huddling and letting loose | pottering | conspiring | strange combustions

She’s a million writing nibs, the ink | cocks cities and Gaul | bright, helpless golden | vanes | their lots are much the same | to spin at the weather’s bidding | She

You have lied yourself into ardour, into honour, even into authority | The small fort of the future | too remote, you’re forced | back into allusions and | all the fallen bastions of your past | the furniture scattered around the rooms | of ruined illusions | Your boots and the road both wait

Into a well, they drop all the forks in the paths | you never took | a brittle, beggars’ lightning

Au fait with ignorance, you catalogue fifteen types of border | Choose a footstep on a northern road | Oceans, puddles, waterbeads | True roadbuilders dig the atoms up and | leave them in piles, clear evidence | of tyrannous construction

Holding two thoughts together in the one mind | In this word

or in this word | you | can’t find the exit door, and can’t recall | quite | how you entered

Even the new is old, hadn’t you | realised? | Sift through the wreckage for the prettiest piece of wreckage | the glittering thing | that doesn’t look like wreckage

On a path with so many ghosts for company | With their laughter and bawdy and their fragrant needs | although they are entirely lies | they put the living to shame, and you | half wonder whether, when the path divides and they | seek to take the one into the night | you shouldn’t join them, or at least

Oh, look, there you are! | Just as you were | setting your autograph | to every single snowflake | in the blizzard | smiling | waving to your fans, and your heart feels as if | its feet touches the ground only | once in every seven leagues – so quickly are the | crowds dispersing

The freckled pear topples on its rolling side | So much darkness for you now, you must be a light sleeper | I feel embarrassed to leave you, but | your way is there, and I | take this path


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

Islands of sleep | Remote, unreachable

Shoreline, much later | Strangers clamber through the dreck of teenage dreams | adults and children, both | neither belong

Some vast, toppled industry | a tangle of ruined cranes | obsolete products | junk that was jewels

Picking through the waste | sieving the shallows | where tiny, mutant fish | flip their silver | and gasp, and | gasp…

We cling to the faultline | It gives out | seasonal blossoms, a ratio of grief, an irresistible desire | we find in ourselves | the electric | hunger of the cherry stones | and in the sticky | mess on the pavement | under suburban | black cherry trees | spectres hold hands | helpless, must issue | moment by moment | a desperate | luscious slime

Islands of sleep | Deserted, we imagine, but no one | walks under those moons | no one calls back to us | when we lay our mouths | against the vent | the breathing quiet | here in the bright, the busy | mainland of wakefulness | no one comes through | our voices don’t reach them

What are the faces | appear in sleep’s mirror?

Old man, you are not needed here…

Hoarding an error | Feeding a mistake | greedy | Ariel equals Caliban | By sleight of hand | producing a monster

Eating fried jewels | The forest’s horizon | a saturated green | Our bodies, stretched to their own, aching azimuth | sport out regrets…

Marching | Marching | Marching | Marching | Marching

Following quicksilver’s | notation | What is left, we are | Residues | clinging inside | cracked barrels

The might of private armies | stranded in their age and gender…

Mourners at my birth, you were right, you were right…


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, November 2014)

For j4n

A devil flinging | angels out of a bag | is it | my style? || Some will build the world and, lost in their labour, never consider | the sound the sea of ruins will make | as it trawls | the fragments of all these | beautiful bodies | to and fro | in cool waters, and some | make a beauty of mourning | love even | before | it goes || Midway | creature | always on the lam, speeding to your next | heartbeat | admire | the convolute systems of your | implication | how | when you kiss her | just exactly as the truck goes past | the dusty | water in the dandelion | jam jar | trembles…

En route to | your kind of oblivion | the briars of your blood | arch and sting | No getting away | Accept, this time | it’s real | though every city is Atlantis, and every | Atlantis reminds you of | home

Here it is, then | Put me in a medieval picture with a | madman’s | grin | sewing seeds of heaven perhaps | Scale the walls of my heart | with spindly ladders and send your finest | knights | to challenge me | Imprison me with | a memory of her, if you will | but wait | as bits of the | dust of god | glitter past your head | See how | against a pale blue sky | Fuji | melts to seven different | types of rushing air || Look | while you were making | an appointment with your own | thoughts | I was making echoes | out of snowflakes | landing on the backs of | flying geese

I know, we haven’t | seen each other in a while | But now I’m 100 | I guess we can slow down | and take our time?

And I know, we haven’t | pinned all the butterflies in their cases, yet | and I haven’t even | nominated my | successor | But, really | what’s the point? | Now I’m 100 | what can I do, in any case but | leave you everything

En route to | my kind of oblivion | a devil flinging wild angels | out of a sack | is it | my style?


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

You have some emptiness now, which means space, time for the lost things maybe to | show you their ghosts

And the shadows of the big things, swept away, allow for a bareness of breath and more bareness under the breath, behind the breath, and of course room for the light to fall, enabling the shy, small things | to emerge and to | lie, shivering, awaiting the mercy of your eyes

I claim my spirit back, after the house is washed away, and the luxury of meanings is dispersed | It feels like a good time to begin the task of designing new meanings, fresh orders of being alive, as cool waves | break and shatter their foams on the uncomplaining coast

As the noise of excess is forcibly stripped back, our normality punished | we find ourselves with fewer things but those fewer things accrete greater value, like moments with those we know are dying but love, and the items that happen to drift | into our connection, often | they feel so welcome

All are calling in voices borne to be lost, but we have more emptiness now, permitting us sightlines of dazzling velocity, as | unimpeded | our views rush to their consummation, the vanishing point we | carry around with us always, each one different, none of them | ever quite reached

and we see how delicately the products of our voices | unfurl | their leaves and blossoms

Gently, the ghosts part and give way, and we are moved to watch | in the vast and spacious arena of the years | our children taking into their eyes | cities invisible to us | but also | so many tiny things, perhaps they will notice | where we did not?

Persuaded by upheaval, the more collapses into less | the many narrow into few | I ask them to | take back my ticket to a thousand illusions, I find | I remember you, and | hand in my ghost coat, shivering | and walk out, into a night so broken, all it can do | is to begin to grow

The fields were wreckage, and the skyline, too | and memories only a form of debris | With the way back denied us | for a little while, we were dumbfounded | forced to negotiate with ancient fires | to go on foot where we had no cars | to offer the wild herds of stars | the open range of our gaze | to gallop through and not acknowledge us in their passing | as regal as indifferent

Sometimes we build by mourning, and sometimes what we call ‘recovery’ recovers | not what was lost, but what | awaits us | that most enigmatic and unexpected place: | a future

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

Gold drone | Yellow curtains, with a ghost drift, shift faintly / green cuttings fume and lie | <genie of divorce, magician of indifference> | Scents of petrol, semen and grass | and heat, verging on | drought | Dregs, summer swills at the bottom of a bottle, warping into them, they make the hills young | and distance isn’t | really distance for them | yet | She sips him, when the snow arrives | he freezes and stays, she leaves | keeps walking. Now distance is distance.


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, October 2014)

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)
(this poem, October 2014)