Archives for posts with tag: Michael Ayres

She called her dance ‘Unknown Pleasures’
performing in some godforsaken place
on the back of a flat-bed truck
cement dust in the wind
She has an agent
She is an artist

Sometimes in the tap tap tap
Sometimes in the languid
desiccated sound of fallen leaves
Sometimes in a storm
Most often
in a whisper

There is nothing in this world
which does not take me away from you
Only when the wind blows
memories bring you back
The wind can blow softly
hardly at all
it is the same
It is enough
to stir my memory

Something secret and pointless
collects in the trees this time of year
weighting them down
lighting them up
and in the air at dusk
gathers like migrating birds

The summer sky
above the plain where she dances
is vast
For a while
the vastness is tender
then the tenderness
beside the tawdry disco lights
grows unfathomable
and her movements
seem ugly and ridiculous
She is struggling and suffering
with an insect’s jerk
The men stare at her
They want her but
don’t really

she just stops thinking
The sublime opacity
of ordinary things
surrounds her
Her face is a blank
same as the things
She stares straight ahead
without expression
and the future
goes on

The wind blows
cement dust
sometimes blossoms
then dying leaves
then blossoms
They all turn to memories
the wind blows
in the end
and then
simply to the wind

But she is young
When she cries sometimes
she doesn’t know why
demands are being made on her
She doesn’t understand them
Why must she be
like this?
What can she do
with all her life?
What can she need?
Where can she go?
What does the new road
want with her?

Re-post | Original post January 2012

When I was young, I worshipped you.
We both lived in the temple,
but I lived there day and night, whereas you
came and went. As my childhood drifted by,
you spent less and less time there.
Eventually, you left altogether, and the temple felt empty.

I grew older. No one came to the temple anymore,
or only tourists and hypocrites.
I remembered my love for you,
among the goldfish and the lotuses,
among the flashguns and the babble.
I assumed you were still there, in the temple,
because you were part of the foundations of my memory,
and you said that I was special,
someone who was loyal.
So I didn’t grieve too much,
I kept on working,
waiting for the day you’d return.

Somehow, then, I was no longer a child.
I watched airliners glide silently over the clearing
as I paused in my chores.
Now I was more or less alone in the temple,
and the building began to fall into neglect.
The trees closed in, and the paths through the forest
were overgrown and the temple was forgotten
and thus began the descent towards unreality.
So, one night, loyal to you,
I picked up the temple, put it in my pocket,
and ran away, hoping to find you.

I searched for a long time,
and my life was a thing of drift and departure,
of cold and making do.
But as long as the temple was with me
it was alright, I felt warm,
because you were in the temple,
and I carried you towards yourself
because I was faithful.
And I knew that, when I found you,
my story would be complete, and real,
and that, according to the logic of stories,
I could go back to the beginning
to prove that it was not all just some form of useless dream.

Years passed. Love passed. My life
passed. Now you call me, looking for worship.
I reach for the temple, thinking I have it with me,
so it can be like before, and you can go back
where you belong, and we can be
as we were, before things became faithless.

But the temple isn’t there.
At first, I look in the obvious places.
I’m sure the temple must be nearby,
and that I have merely mislaid it
as a tree mislays its fruit
or a wave mislays its spray.
But then, as I search, I realise, it is years
since I was last aware of the temple’s weight and shape,
of its scent and its warmth:
I must have lost it a long time ago.
Instead, I find something in me is settled
like an empty field
just before nightfall.

I panic. I scrabble around, desperately
retracing my steps, patting my pockets, calling, throwing open doors.
What shall I do without the temple?
How may I remain loyal?
Where can I live?
What can it mean
to journey without a home?

And then, I realise, it’s too late:
the forest closes in on us,
and dreams rise like a sea
and, like a sea, there comes forgetting.

I can never go back to the start.

I will never begin with our love.

I will never write this poem.

Re-post | Original post January 2012