Archives for posts with tag: Static

It doesn’t matter that it’s not real you said
If you never imagine something new
how can anything change?

Your skin on the nape of your neck was warm
and the fine dark hair like filaments in a flame buckled up
attuned to my lips and I think I was happy
I put my arms around you and held you
and the room grew still
except for the dust floating in the sunlight
and the spray of scent from the atomiser
settling on us both
It doesn’t matter you said

My hair has grown, it’s long now and I haven’t shaved
in a while I lie on the floor
I wait for the pain which will remind me
I am alive and my life is passing
but it doesn’t come
I don’t come

I lay awake long into you
I couldn’t tell you apart from the night
When you’re naked there’s nowhere else for the world to turn
but to you and to lay down its head like a child
No one could be more naked than you
The stars fill you when you sleep you turn over and spill them
Some of those stars have already died and their light
reaches us

Perhaps ghosts are like that light? I said
Or perhaps we are you answered…

It’s where we meet.

In a restaurant, or an airport lounge.

You look older.

But you don’t look wiser.

On a concourse, by a left-luggage locker.

It’s where you wait,
settled on a suitcase,
for existence to come back in.

Tomorrows pile up, Himalayas and sugarcubes,
and life is mostly made of futures.
You’re saying Location is everything,

it’s where we live.

It’s where we met:

in a kiss, fingers sticking in the ridges of my spine,
and something moves in me like snow subsiding
melting from beneath by a gathering thaw:

it’s how I changed.

In a café. On a platform, or at reception.

Listen: I was there
when the ambulance was first called to Heaven;
and I was there, in the black neighbourhoods
in Detroit, in summer, when the sound of Kraftwerk
spilled out on the street from window after window:
it was me, and I was there.

A brilliant spot of colour
like the sunstroked sapphire
of the roundel on a butterfly’s wing:
you have to go now.

You turn and she says something small and calm,
the pine trees on the hill cast very precise shadows
in a light which seems to have crystallised
into a feeling softer than anything you have felt before,
yet something so vivid and so pure, which enlarges you
mysteriously, even as it happens you know
this is significant and it will haunt you:
you have to go now.

It’s where we loved.

In a day, or a few hours at least.

In a motel, along the main drag.

It’s the end, where there is no ending.

You try to live in the tears you cry,
but you don’t have the right.
Someone comes in and moves you on,

and the wheels on the bus go round round round.

It’s where we built.

At a rendezvous, a formica table:
little teaspoon symphony, milky steam from the coffee machine —
pyramids of boredom for desire to lie in,

tomorrows piling up,

but we are not in them.

It’s where we meet.

They clear out the squatters with torches and guns:
you have to go now.

It’s where we love.

In the stale scent of air-freshener in the transit lounge.

We have to go now.

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.


from the unpublished collection, Static, c. 2006/7

Under the Aurora borealis
under the impression we are going somewhere

Outside on the hot steps the couriers dab themselves and idle
Shimano clickers rest and no wheels turn no
call is made

We descend from apes and then we pause
on 50 K in our chic apartment

We fought laughing over an old photograph of you
I keep thinking of that day you wore
a pastel blue sweater boots lined with fur
a strawberry beret and you were
standing and smiling in Arctic Circle snow
from the pines and rotting eaves
beads of meltwater were shining mercurial slivers of a burnished rain

From another epoch a few years ago a distant tumult
Different drugs different music different hairstyles
Everything so past, like Showa or fleets of silver bombers
from the Cold War

Now we’re not laughing anymore

We breathe hard

We stare at each other

Our gaze moves us

You come closer

Hold still you murmur


from the unpublished collection, Static, c. 2006/7


It was what we made of our lives.
We put ourselves into it, together.
Sometimes it was brash and noisy and brilliant
like a Chinese propaganda film on the building of dams.
Often it was more obscure, and soft,
like the shadows of petals on a path in the evening in spring.
And, oddly, it was not the dam-scaled things,
the overt, the towering and heroic,
which were the most difficult to build,
but the way the shadows of petals moved very subtly on the pathway
when the breeze stirred them, just before nightfall.
And those were also the most difficult things to bear.

But we could not stay in the places we had made.
Somehow, for some reason, we were forced to move on,
or we forced ourselves to move on, or to drift, to be carried —
in any case, in the end, it came to the same thing,
and I didn’t see so much of you in those later days.

What claimed our love? How did it subside?
Into what vanishing did it go,
like nomads, running out of land,
like a road addicted to horizons?

With some of the guys from my old crew, I watched a documentary
on the Graveyard of Planes. They showed a part
where they cut up the B-52’s, all my buddies
were silent, I think if each of them were alone,
they would have been crying.


from the unpublished collection, Static, c. 2006/7

What? The tip of a cloud and the tip of your tongue:
pale blue Chinese doors from A Touch of Zen

but did they go through? I can’t remember.

What? I wanted to say: I wanted…
What was it you said, instead of what you wanted to say?

I want to travel. I want to see fireflies.

We kiss on the threshold of memory.
I kiss you as if I can set you alight,

burn you to nothing, you won’t need to do anything more.

But what? What was it? A haze, a soft rehydration of water sprinklers…
Humid clouds near the horizon, piled like damp muslin:

To go places. You know, I’ve never seen fireflies.

Still, though, what was it? I was right on the edge of it…
Why would it never quite resolve itself

into perfection? Why is it never quite clear?

You put my body out like a light, to a sound of lawnmowers
droning like bombers, blew it out

when the curtains drifted sand and shadows in summer.

Yet… There’s still something left to burn.
What is it? In the ashes of Troy, Troy again, Troy the second and the third,

Troy the fifteen millionth…

Is love so destructive? No, not at all.
You just have to realise

what it means to see fireflies.

By now, the magician’s a memory.
You move over me with the smoothness
of the shadows of clouds over land
or sea, I am not a sea… You move…

I try to catch at clouds.
You’re thoughtless you say, as tears slip calmly down,
and you tap my forehead so gently
with the tip of your finger.

Somewhere, it’s raining over an unsettled bay.
I kiss you, it’s a kind of search:
we’re looking for something, but I’m not sure
what it is I only want to go on searching
your beautiful mouth, and my God is a wish
now, to kiss you forever.

I think of you. I’m kissing someone else,
it’s you, I’m kissing…
Where are you? How in this tiny, stupid world
could I lose you, when you were the rain
which caught me, whispered in the open,
drenching me in seconds, making me happy?

It has gone. My fingers caress
a different stranger. She sighs, she turns,
she’s beautiful and kind, she says just inane things,
and I’m bored. Outside,
a sky of ancient, quotidian blue is cloudless,
without a single tendril or crevice
of cirrus, and nothing, it seems, can move in it.
So how does the magic go on?

I reach over to kiss you,
looking for the heart of vanishing.

Sunset comes loose from sunrise
you find a day like a hole where all the other days fell in
nightingales where you woke alone
their wings breaking petals from wet plum blossoms

Silver monads of bubbles in a mineral water rise
the island on Solaris which is a dacha in Russia
a dream of home in exile
You are too tired to care if the dream is real or not
You’re too tired to keep dreaming for long, anyway

Places where men begin to grow selfless
where time goes down on its knees before space
the bus-driver whose route this was for years
stepped out of his cab one day and shot himself beside the wheatfields
the crops which go on for hundreds of miles
the roads flat and straight for hundreds of miles
no need to deviate, nothing to deviate from
for hundreds of miles

And maybe that day he wondered
How is it possible to harvest these volumes?
Maybe he feared
the wheat was winning
Perhaps he saw at last
all the farmers overwhelmed by their own grain

Motel monogatari, yes, the gassy host in green lamé
Tales of John Doe, Tales of the Entirely Expected
a beer at the bar with complimentary matchbook
Junk TV, x number of channels
a suitcase with passport schedules timetables
Eventually everywhere turns into a small town
On the bathroom floor in talc footprints of a passing stranger
All the small towns are islands
All the moments grow seas

You have lost so much, you begin to forget what you’ve lost
so you lose it twice over
If you could lose everything
maybe you could begin again?

A scent of aviation fuel the heat of the tropics
your heart is a plane and it beats
the sky or the runway
If you could believe in somewhere maybe you could find yourself?
If you could believe in yourself, maybe you could stay
until the morning?

At that moment, the bond was broken
and all the journeys we had ever made
melted into thin air
For so long, we had casually assumed the night
Like a burning map
Certain axioms of the heart

I have saved up for you
the end of another immense day
in summer with blank miles of sky
an airliner at an angle over the poplar trees
leaving four slow trails of vapour
It is just what is left of our kiss
All those journeys belonging to others
Like frost in a spiderweb
A different arrangement with hope

Then the sky lies heavy on the wheat
Then there is wheat dust and the sky still
As if the metal is molten
but there is no mould
like a wish
for days you’ve already lived
Is this the night?
Some things vanish because they grow
into other things
Some things just vanish

Only after the disaster did it become apparent
how deeply we had burrowed down
into the system of our own lives.
The malls stretched on for miles.
And they were like Japanese girls from an opera,
truly, just like dolls,
clutching their bags and wrapped up in their shawls,
and all falling asleep at the same time on the train.
The tv channels spread out around us
like electric prairies,
but there were no real horses
and all the soil was gold.

Once the initial euphoria had passed
and we thought we had been saved,
it slowly dawned on us
that this was how we must end our days,
separated from the others,
furnishing our graves,
with no chance of surviving love,
lost in an undersea film,
left in waiting rooms to leaf through magazines
or to wander for years through a world of caves.