Archives for posts with tag: hypergrammar

I dream of a silent world, such a one as might exist | on a deep seabed, miles below | the surface

{Some things can only be reached | by dreams}

Inaccessible, and yet utterly mundane, perhaps it was a place of happiness?

懐 [natsukashii] || between the seashells | and the sea || Our mouths | our lips || a time | of | cicadas and drought, an end to school…

Is it so far off, that silent world?

Isn’t there a moment | as you’re translating | 懐 | to English | [natsukashii, ‘nostalgia’] or | vice versa | when “it” | is | in neither | one tongue, nor | the other?

{has left English, I mean, has set off for, but not yet reached | Japanese?}

A time, too, between || all things || when your love
has left one moment | but not | yet | arrived | in the next?

In these slipping senses | we once passed a summer || A place like the silence, now it may only be | reached by dreams

Great summer clouds | passing across a high blue sky || Our throats were dry | even though we | kissed

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

Abandoned | cities of the heart

The empty rooms, decorated with photographs of the dead, the wallpaper | dated to a sunken decade | all | flooded | by the waters of silence and passed time

Places lovers tried to keep themselves | in reach | with lovers | sought to | keep pace with each other | though one was forever | running ahead, losing | touch

All the gestures are archaic

Immersed in nostalgia, in a green summer, traffic lights turning from amber to red | the ghost cars and | aphids | queue for the translucent | door to the past and, under the smoggy, humid stars of dusk all | eventually | go through

These streets have petrified, their map | outdated | sits in an atlas in an obscure | second-hand bookshop which, itself, has turned to stone

Through all instants, the sublime | glacier of the ages | seeps, carrying and freezing | each delicate and each | monumental thing, even | our | dreams

Here, at the centre, where the statues of | broken-nosed | soldiers and | laurel-crowned | poets and | late-coming | angels | convene an atmosphere of | stoic endurance, the | mayfly atoms of | forgotten moments | tremble and float

Of course, here the traffic is at a | standstill | and as you wander, searching | for a way out through those | same | translucent doors, you start to | lose track of time and | cease to recognise this | shore by the | interior ocean where | all your drifting life has fetched up | in pavement cafés and on | dusty ledges behind | the broken blinds of the windows of | obscure museums

Your friends and your lovers have fled | the punishing | heat | and even the strangers, too, are leaving, but you | drawn to a detail | linger as | the night and the day | melt into one | silent | modern | event

Abandoned | cities of the heart

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

Floating in cyberspace

not you, not me, not exactly

Flotsam | Thinking the wreck back into place, over and over | studying the geometry of smoke | mumbling about hieroglyphs | and shooting stars | when THE GREAT SOMETIMES | intervenes

Melting down those gold connectors

Being a gravity | So we… | drifted into | each other

so much | that

we never left | it doesn’t have to be | Saturn or Jupiter

A big summer

on the Intact label

The rocks meant no harm | and it was only a fall from | a certain perspective | the masts and sails | laments of doomed crewmen | a lullaby | for tetchy young | electric eels and schools | of passing seahorses

Floating in cyberspace

not here, not there, exactly


on kelp and current hearses

Melting down those gold connectors

Parsing shells on a dusk seashore

And they said, “Hey, Michael

how come”

Leave it a while, go back, all the reasons | are in the power of rhymes

And they said, “Hey, Michael

are we really here?”

And I said, “Sure, well


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, June 2013)

Even the stillness is on the move | she said | Don’t you feel it?

I lay my head on her stomach | arms loosely around her waist and I could feel the ruins of her ribs

You know there are necklaces in everything

Just to breathe feels reckless in a world so | groundless

Flung together, do you like it? | he asked | By chances so slender, ways so unlikely, across | ground so | uncharted | through mazes so | complex, so | haunted | each thing, even the most massive, most solemn, most | static of things, displays | a reckless attitude to us, who only | ask to order and | in ordering | survive

She had | a pearl on her tongue, she was scented with fennel and Valentino, put the | Japanese knife aside

Atoms of our thoughts blown indolently to and fro | on a warm summer breeze… | Touch my arm with a Rocket, fresh | from the freezer | the hot, verboten red | sticks to my skin as if | the flesh were magnetic

You know | Elegant | diamond studs in your lobes | carbon holding the living | light | there are atoms in everything

Turn up your shoes | and shake them out | for centipedes, scorpions and snakes

There is nothing taught the Zen sage in everything

All the guests are here she said

The children might see us

And saints and butchers, side by side, the world | has room enough for them | The evening preceding that terrible storm | you sat calmly before the mirror, the lamplight | snared and shot | from the facets of the diamonds | in your tiny lobes

More room, more room! / the thoughts all cry | and the furniture | shifts uneasily

Check the bed | for snakes | for scorpions | for venomous | centipedes

Our breasts and lungs | for lumps and shadows

We made love fitfully | all night | By the time we had to sleep | it was dawn | a robin, full of April, in the apple tree | began to sing

and this is not | the last | echo of that song

Swans ruffle, dabble and stab | on the placid river | white swans and the river | my memory, and blossoms | pink-white | moving through the air, the vision | a moment | the moment | a wedding

from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, December 2013)

Connecting things already connected | Taking apart things which can’t be taken | apart | Rearranging the furniture in a nirvana room | Ink, written into the stars / and the stars | written in kisses | across the lit | clouds of our bodies…

Tracking ghosts across | a city of forests | Hazy figures | gathering your life for you | Leaving signs in your dreams | In a half sleep, you open a door, and | here | let the brightest one | in

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

My favourite labels were definitely West End and Prelude early on | and I would look for those pink spines

The suburbs stretch out | It was Midwest in the cabinet with the verruca cream | Sundays like Ohio | I used to look at the airliners flying over, so high | my teens | and astronauts floating | and all that emptiness


Provincial town | being chased through the streets by skinheads | and they spat in my long hair | they were the tough doomed kids in Sta-Press and Ben Sherman | they didn’t hear it, but I heard it | the lap of the long | doldrums of our lives | the route laid out | the allotted | becalming

Singing down the phone | to find the name

By the freight yard | and the abattoir | through the cuts in the chain-link fences | I mean | these aren’t places you want to hang out | working the night shift in winter | manning the guillotines | the carve and crimp of sheet metal | not music | dropping out of school | waiting for the parachute | to open

We searched at certain temperatures | because access wasn’t easy | like stumbling on a violet | pigment in a cave of dripping grey | raw in the flashlight

we boiled

care in dirty pans | floated on the scent of dragons | we’d drive for hours | city kids couldn’t know | from New York, from L.A. and San Francisco | and they were pretty blasé about everything

Doge and doze

Dodge and maze

Taking years to trace | those tunes that drove you crazy | Was it the right sound? The best sound? The new, the true, the actual sound? | Who knows? | Isn’t it

too early to say?

These were like older hip kids from Venice Beach in California or somewhere

To find a spot | a knack | a passion for imports | for Rimbaud or Roland R-8s | kissing the ear | a way of being | alive | an optimist | adroit

Look quickly, though, if you miss | it | rain falls among the ivy | in the Centaur Bar or Pulse Detroit


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, May 2015)

A subtle | shift in the sheets | a fissile whisper | tows all the darkness down with all the lights | love | kiss | the stump of an ankle, stroke | the moist nests of | wiry hair, the eggs | draw and simmer

A pastime’s | cathedral | Hours spent | wandering the vaults of the | kaleidoscope or your first “literary novel”

Dreaming of one of those places where the weather is stable | sunshine all the day

How will you make your money?

Oh, by blogging | Maybe a fishing village

It is Gulliver, your sigh | dragging Lilliputians left and right, sending them | tottering and scrambling, and April | locks into March and May, the planet | turns, the galaxy | ages

The universe grows and thins and | your bed begins it | Once upon a time

Fragments of the sheets’ whistles | form a fragile debris, your lover | rises and the mattress | feels different, lighter, less | important, somehow

A shower, then dress, then they’ll go | into the order of the morning

The pointlessness fills with points and | you miss your lover

The story of Everything feels broken, the parts | left with you | The heroes and heroines | are elsewhere | You can’t | whip the mules of your character on, or force | the narrative of your control | to any reasonable end

You are responsible, but | it just doesn’t feel that way

Trains coming, trains going – that’s the only | sense you make | idle and unshaven and | detached and | unwittingly amoral

You can’t sign the chit for the world today | for the arsehole on his phone | for the time off to explain | the cat’s needs | to the pigeons | for the unimportant way | the starving die | for the hard-working mirrors | in the households of the vain | for glaciers melting into your coffee or the politics of | fritter and gas, the | crashing | trucks of wealth and for | the “harmless stupidity” of | doing your bit towards | deferred genocide | so boring

Hold on to the next moment, find a way | to make the clock go round

A fishing village, with lots of sun | calm days | a pocket of the map no tourists | harass with their fuss of theatre, exits | and entrances | arrivals | and departures

Once upon a time | I had a fight to fight | values to propose and to propound, now | I carry a labyrinth of sleaze and torpor | in my soul, and my spirit | has no home

Like it says in Zen, right? –

One loss | One gain

You’ve forgotten your novel, Oblomov but | this is your train


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, October 2013)

She couldn’t keep the sea inside her | Likewise | he couldn’t keep the sea inside him | and there were hawks

This is the day she thought | I will keep the sea in | She knew it was there | he was less certain

They called the sea by different names | but the names floated on the sea | wreckage from storm-struck schooners | branches of tamarind, garlands of hyacinths, given as offerings | tennis balls

Days, he seemed a shore | evenings, more delicate, like the shredded glitter of insect wings | caught in high beams but first in glances

And there were hawks | diving | Threads picked up and put down | He thought they led to dry land, some at least, but he didn’t know | the land was inside the sea’s heart | the sun and the stars, too | They both believed | they could escape the sea | but when they couldn’t sleep | all they could feel | waist deep and overturning | was the glimmering conundrum of the waves | rolling and breaking | and their bodies being slowly dragged | to and fro | in the cold jaws of tides

She couldn’t keep the children inside her | and there would always be a slant, the way the moment | signs itself, under pines, at dusk, say | or couched inside an air bubble rising | from the seabed | half asleep and wings crumpled | eyes like a lynx, and daddy far off at the wars

Days, she was so capable | she understood the rules | She kept her loneliness | sewn away inside her, at night though the sea | swelled and tore down | the wallpaper with orange trees, the efficient | circulation of the blood | loyalty | the weight of the moon | things like that

Amicable | the conversation, the subtle currents | of gestures, timbre with rainforests, sadness, just the right | shimmer of levity | they had so many names for the sea, but the sea | outran them all, and the sea | had a name for her | she never heard | and for him | even for the hawks | flying so fast, over the coast, who knows where?

The sea | kept them inside itself | and sometimes | this was called drowning


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

Suspension bridge

Floating whole forest | coconuts, pines, gardenias and all

The darkness of imagined interiors | ants of thoughts | crawling over the brain | a new colony | a new confusing love

In a doorway | leaning, and waiting | she | bucks gently against what he makes of her | annex and alteration | masons with chisels and measures | a whole forest | on a crowded train | they are | no longer sure | of their destination

Built fire

Built mountain

Chains of ghosts on upland paths | a wedding party | porters with crates | bearing gifts | the wide south | opening into suffusion | too much to take in | and the soft, mild cries | of those left out | abandoned | by the side of the track

Floating whole star | with addenda of light | stopgap hearts | beating | tentatively lit | by a fizzle of afterthoughts | fireworks after the ceremony | ashes, after the certainties

Progressing by | standing still | Mistaking ghosts | for ourselves, and the ghosts | mistaking us for living

Built storm

Built caress

The long stone | draped out | pleasure cruisers | throbbing on the indolent | lengths of the Tiber | party-goers | with horns and costume | synth-pop and fauns | putti | with glimmering wings | blowing bubbles | with toot and parp and blah | folded in an echo | they quarrel and | make up | drowsy from a balcony | look down on the river | carve their kisses very slowly | very carefully | yet | have no home, no port, no | vessel for | this night | floating entire city | slipped into a darkened | emptiness | folded | into a stranger’s heart | their only mark | to pass and purely to remain | a stranger

Monkeys | Confounding ants | glitter with new gardens

intellectual | with parsed passions

Monkeys | and the skulls | of monkeys | and ants | starting out | a road from Rome


Coconuts, pines, gardenias and all


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

Falling asleep against the mountain, not really the mountain, but really | asleep

In the train’s mouth | days and days, the delicate | bones of flowers

There you might find a Persian charmer | will they | take your mind off the boy, the boy, the boy?

Do you want your mind taking off the boy?

The … boy | The | boy?

A lute slung over his shoulder, kicks pebbles across the track | walks fast, hands in the pockets of his robe | six wizards in a bag and a wiry dog adoring him | a hustler and a young sage | licks up the spilt fuel from the petrol truck, not really | a mountain

Waking up in a stranger’s bed | With your mind in a muddle and a muddle in your | mind | And Again? in your thoughts | in the middle of the muddle | More stolen flowers, more weeks feeding a ravenous road, but mostly | the moments, such as | early morning on the way to work, glancing up | to see crows and the moon, autumn | revving down its faded engine, really | asleep

Asleep if your dream is not to be here

Asleep if your days are sold for lies

Asleep if you keep silent when she’s near you and the train’s mouth | swallows August whole, crunches | bones of | diaries, dress-down, Microsoft Office…

So, anyway, the sorcerer goes back into the desert | he has no fear of this barren land | Whips tops, more youthful than his powers | laughs to see his dog | digging up human remains | in a valley the armies | contested, then | the valley stayed, littered with munitions, while the armies | left, empty space and olive trees | rest peacefully against the flank | of the snow-hatted mountain | my eyes | are porous and the boy | issues from them with every | September glance

In robes of coral pink and golden bronze, hat of vital turquoise | wide-sleeved coat of dark pine green | the young magician leaves a humble inn | strides off into the Persian daylight | In irrelevant palaces | of white marble | peacocks rattle their feathers and utter | shrill, irrelevant screams | Scribes | compose allegories and fairy tales | students doze upon their texts, and the texts | doze upon the centuries | the centuries | just doze and the professors | the wise elders of the tribe | feed their tame theories grains of millet or maize, and at dusk, the cages | flash back the low sun’s light, but not | really | asleep

There you might find | “happiness at last” | put down the mountains | you’ve carried all this time | perhaps | even forget the boy?

Spells for mournful doe-eyed virgins | for youths with unconvincing facial | hair | for the withered | twisted | stiffened | old | people | spells | for indigestion and grief | spells | for moving invisibly, for taking on | the forms of beasts, spells | to recover lost memories, or | to conjure | a precipice over which you may | throw those things you wish to forget, and then | wake!

There you might find | a floating mountain | a ride on the back of a flat-bed truck | with goats and chickens | and the plain | so bashed about by void and heat and ice | and in the distance | the end of the plain and the end | of the boy?

The boy?

She’s beautiful, why not | celebrate this fact? | Four months pregnant and the weight of life | growing inside her, Vallejo’s “distance of two hearts” | to be travelled from now on, and I | am so enamoured with her | should I steal her away | from these days I long ago | sold for lies? / such are the | quandaries of amour | — ah, l’amour!…

Whistles for his dog, the Iranian night | touches the English night, the | American and Russian night, the | Nicaraguan night

The armies of each faction | are given to the night and surrender to sleep, to sleep and dreams and the boy | (the boy?) | comes to them, man and woman, and in the irrelevant | temples, the prayer books are stacked and doze | upon the backs of angels, the angels | doze, just doze, the priest’s | small kettle comes to the boil and a neutral steam | rises in a magician’s fume…

There you might find | brilliant violet flowers against the | creamy dust | of the valleys, and in a crack in your train’s | journey | join together two | threads of sense, then | feel them part…

There you might | strip off your armour | lie down in a stranger’s bed | and be a stranger, too

Your body releases its prisoners | and the priest’s kettle | boils dry

There you might find a Persian charmer


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, September 2013)