Archives for posts with tag: variant 1

Into an Anglo-Saxon sleep | or along a mirror’s edge | what was lost | or left behind | in the search for love | Here is the place they pile the shoes | here, the books | for paramours and moneymen | students and burning | a tornado demon | the ogre of | disinterest | a rumble of dust mites | in rustling herds | grazing on nocturnal carpets | in cheap motels | on the shore of a dream | scooped up in a nap | a place you remember | with nets and racks | outrigger canoes | tumbled locks | magnesium lakes

You return, but the way back doesn’t bring you | back | You sleep in Deutschland | with a near stranger by your side | You half wake and wonder | how you have drifted into your teens, again | a net curtain’s August breath | of air | stirs in the corner of your brow | Cornish skies | a chapel’s haul | of mounted sermons, peaks of emptiness | puzzles | ad infinitum | books you fell into | as into strange cave systems | half-finished books | half-asleep truths | Her flight was not for three hours yet | she flitted round the room | like a trapped butterfly | stared down from the window | over the half- | finished city | the perfect location | for her half-finished life | And here is the place they pile the books | the books for tearing and for losing | settings for superb equations | lions’ odes | recipes for decadent cakes and other | items of confectionary | On the mantel | books you read long ago | idle and moulder | mothballed revolutions | and their words are like trapped butterflies | sewing the constricted space | of lifeless rooms | with flakes of sapphire and pollen | no cleaner for days | Beneath your sexy head | there is a faint, impenetrable vibration | the engine of unknown connections | working in the stillness | of the winter evening | the sound of settled loneliness | in a merchant seaman | slumped reading in his bunk | on board a Danish container ship | carrying consignments of cars | through tropical waters | the sea | totally useless with no re-invention


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, December 2014)

Bones of how it’s made | on Pearblossom Highway | the feel of cracks | all the way through | us | Landslide of no one | lightning above the meadow | sky the colour of absent dreams | of a black | grape’s innards | incipient | bruise grey | tint of violet | Love, bring us | together again | It all looks like it’s | drowned, underwater | Remember | forget | what it was | how it made | its vast signal | bee-spot and foxglove bell | the particular | crooks of our fingers | Holding down the swollen | head of spring | battling | once more | these basic things | Looking from above | eating the storm | for lunch | truck-stop | train | jumper | we are thieves | running | not sure | just what it is | we’ve stolen

A huge spell | cast over us | size of a life | scale of a city | The desert | can’t cure or | cleanse us | add another | brick to the structure | go or stay | I am the carpenter | today | you, the electrician | Rig up | the storm | climb the step | ladder | above the sign | Legerdemain | infused | the cactus and the shell cases | with a perfume | and dry-throated coda | of Orpheus | later | after the slaughterhouse | a few last | wisps of | lullaby | In February | push open the | swift | snow doors | toss my bones | in a bag | carry me hard | to the flame | then scatter the flames | in the library | Turn | your head | a little my way | we bossed | the crowded streets | YOUR NAME | HERE | I’ll show you | the delicate | skeleton | of the rain’s | baby | You’ll show me | the flesh of how | we found | we’re lost


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, December 2015)

The music gathers in its hands | what we left out of our lives | yesterday | and the day before | and what we’ll fail to | reach tomorrow | and tears it | gently apart inside us | but not only inside us | because we aren’t | only inside us | Ecru | pullover | and the shadow of the desk lamp on the blank wall | and the thunder made us duck | and laugh | the books we would read | the warmth we would hold to | the lightning we never saw | and always | just beyond the words | we used to | speak about the music | a breathing | hyper-calm | banality | tilting slowly | into euphoria | All the passengers | first lie down | asleep on the train | are they asleep? | dead maybe? | then all the passengers | inflate again | and float into the suburbs | of the edges | of what they left out of their lives | today | and yesterday | and what they’ll fail to reach | this evening | and tomorrow | evening | and those oddly | unimaginable things | call to the passengers | somehow | we have taken our place | among them | and after our catnap | or our death | we sit up straight | reach for the Oblomov | re-start our knitting | and the music arrives | to obliterate | and to illuminate | and to seem | to irradiate | in passing | the silence of the landscape | beyond the windows | and inside | the child’s pink dice | inside the drawer | and inside the cucumbers | wrinkled like cetaceans | dreaming | pickled in the jar | on the shelf | in the kitchen | and we try to | gather the music in our hands | but it won’t cohere | so we leave it out | of our lives | and the music says | Don’t worry | There’s nothing you can do | or be | that can be left in | the strange | collection of your memories | It stays mysterious | some things | just are | because you begin them | but can’t wait around | to their end | moments though | they last | I am a firework | thing | if you | listen | If you put that | WOW! | to the bed | embers | soaked in | adolescent | cider | Just feel | a little | euphoria | if you can | and when I am over | there will be your day again | like the terrain in sunlight | after you | emerge from a tunnel | and it won’t be the same | but it won’t be different, either

from the series fp2 (on-going sequence of poems, commenced 2016)
(this poem, November 2017)

 天安门 | Tiananmen

Social tranquility | Soon it will be time | to fit you with your wheels | Push you gently | to the summer, waiting for you | subdued sunshine tailed | on vacuous shopping malls | Hidden in the corner | of a plot of rapture | scarlet and carnelian, mushroom and purple | sculpted honey dripping towards the desired | jewel of stasis | riding on the hoods | fleeting light on lotus feet | escape, for a moment, the avid | collectors of order | Appear, illicitly, and we will | put you in a book of vanishing | Besides, effort to | resist | only rushes to rupture | unseemly | fluid | bodies broken | stoven in | to where the clouds | have loosened entirely, lastly, from our names | Look up: hawk | hovers to a hole in the sky | all tension and suspension points | to the dropping | bliss of the dive | Run as you will | as fast as you can | we’ll catch you into your new formation | you will fall to rounds | or just fall in | with your brothers and sisters | who hunt you down | to your opposition | The night | thickens and the moon thins | in an old, old illusion | Twist and buck | cry and mourn | squeal and riot | but when you come to | sense how right | the tracks fit to you | feel how smooth | the spin, spin, spin of your wheels

In lotus shoes | erotically contained | like a mist His gaze | parts and swirls for her | She feels its moisture | in her lungs | upon her nipples tingling | like tiny bells | a fairy clatter | of dispersing pearls | from a torn | rope | necklace | Wrapped | tight | her limbs constrained | to beauty | so dainty, her walk | on the bound feet, stubs | of nature | elegant, cultured hooves | Cover her | with glances | a tightened grace | you are | tautened to admire | but looking with such living | uneasily conceals | a warning, as a closed stove | conceals a fire: if you remove the shoes and bindings, the aesthetic feeling will be destroyed forever


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, September 2014)

The city inside him rarely fell still. It was a mistake, he was sure, to think of himself as separate from the city, a sovereign state, even though, it was true, he could leave the city and go elsewhere if he wished, a village on the moors, a small port town on the south coast, with a snub white lighthouse, in winter. He didn’t contain the city, as a phial contains a particular liquid; and he wasn’t a passive object, like a white screen upon which the city was projected in a series of images. Everything was more porous than that: the city was a field of interactivity, in which the citizens were participants, coming into and out of existence as thoughts fire and fade in the mind, as lights go on and off in a building. Pronouns felt increasingly deceptive to him, the clumsy “I” and the “you”, the “it” and the “me”. His mother was in the advanced stages of dementia, and despite the grief and disorientation he experienced at watching her metamorphosis, he marvelled at the way his mother’s brain had progressively jettisoned parts of what had once been essential elements of her life, including her son, whom she had loved and cherished for decades, and including even herself. It was terribly cruel, to be introduced to her over and over again, the person she’d borne in her womb, and dandled and taught, guided, punished and adored, now he was somebody with a question mark for her, a “Joe?”, or “the television man?”. A conjuror inside her was making items vanish — a goldfish in a bowl, a white rabbit, doves — but never returned them, so her world, in theory, grew smaller and smaller, less and less populated, more and more empty. She was a periodic table, dropping members, first without mercury, then without sulphur or plutonium: failing connections plucked from her titanium, cobalt, zinc… Instead of the full 98 elements, hers was a table of 50 or 40, a dwindling amount. She was far less her “self” than she had been ten years earlier, her husband, two children, pets, her home, all had been mislaid in the mysterious zone of forgotten memories, their status problematic, their survival unknown, perhaps they were only extant in fragments, shards among the shards of broken dreams. Was she any less of a person? Of course not! She had her world, her routines in the assisted facility at the hospital: it was only that, quite evidently, she was not in control of who she had been, and she was not in control of who she was. She was not her self. Other powers held her in their sway, and yet they weren’t malicious or impish, they had no sentience, they were impersonal, systems that ran with no aim and no choice, cells that helplessly mutated, chemicals that were forever combining and re-combining in different formations, atoms that rose and fell in their own tides, swept back and forth, fluid and unresting… In other words, she was a collection of energies, but not in a stable or fixed condition, but like the collections of great patrons and museums, over the ages, first accumulated, painstakingly, treasures sought and added in, built and built up, then broken down, when finances or circumstances forced it, scattered, some artefacts destroyed, others lost, still others drawn into the holdings of new collectors, representatives of nascent empires, newly wealthy republics. And he was like this, and even the city was like this. And the girl in the boat looked so lonely, he felt like weeping: did she have any idea, how sad and how funny it was to mourn an illusion, to cling to a wreck that seemed so young?


from Semapolis | City of Signs
(series of poems, unfinished, 2012–present: this poem, November 2014)

There were dragonflies in your ears | The soft fume of your voice was wavering | the evening grew drowsy | no more children | to be had | Warmer than mother | the peach rush | long over | let fall | the orphan summer | Across the bridge | car headlamps were coming on | they went superfluous | and we watched them | all go | from the tall grasses | to chatter of the city and the shore | the conquering | the built careers | The nape of your neck | under your | lifted hair | a single yacht | left on the sea | turned about | I blew, softly and your voice | went out

Honeysun | late in the era | to the fuzzy | pulse of bees | can you hear | your voice | fading? | Draw apart | the velvet curtains | reveal the stage | flattened | mountains of the bed | clocks still | on sentry duty | the front door | open | The prompt | distant | crack of an axe | from the orchard | a brush | of far-off | falling | Candles | floating to a western dawn | stay calm | zoom out | in a certain | lack of pity | First | to touch | heads of small flowers | the perfect | quiet | a dry | sea floor | blood flush | in the paper veins | we stirred | with the sound | of children’s voices | coming back to us


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, November 2015)

Back to the party | No one is interested in what you say, except the boy, and he is later | when you are dead and there are palm trees | If you had money, this place would be different | it would appear to be | more under your control | and though appearances can be deceptive | deception sustained for any amount of time | will do for truth, and besides | appearances can be veracious, too | They say it was her greatest work | her most radical | I say | it is full of tired modernist/postmodernist clichés | most of this was done | back in the day | the 19th/early 20th century day | and the rest | no one gives a fuck, or if they do | they should get out more | go where real things are happening to real people, principally | to me | Back to the party | the brains being peeled one by one | and the drugs kicking in | all the promises you made | about loyalty and beauty | flushed down the pupil | into the unverified place | a darkness | conjuring the various spectres of faith | the tried and tested | routines | operates | And Jim has this great trick with matches | he looks pretty cool in his cowboy shirt and hair | slicked back like a windswept sumo’s | while Ted is hawking his theory | of itinerant concepts founding a groundless reality | but no one is interested

Turn up the music, turn down the thoughts | a beat will get you through | when logic breaks apart | Go to the bar where the pilots go | in Shanghai | where boys and girls | dressed as mermen and mermaids | swim in glass tanks | swim and dance | of course they have plans too! | Or go to where the crowds are going | will you find | what they are finding there? | Though England made me, MDMA saved me | now haul up the golden anchor | and listen to the glassy sound | of the breeze ruffling crystal sails | make landfall on a weekend island | of furballs and murmurs | and paywalls and murders… | On background TV | in a serious programme | a trivial guru is asking | Of course, doesn’t it follow that | if, as life goes global, the intensity and regularity of the state | we may call solitude grows, then | now, Jim, my man, tell me | how did we find our way | into this Killjoys’ Kingdom? | We make the choices, or so | we are told | We are in control, or so | we are told | We are making progress, or so… | We like the rush | the forward momentum | infinitely prolonged | or the illusion thereof | flight without landing | cruise without ports | dreams without sleeping | When you wake | crowned with seashells and pearls and intricate bones | your body smells of decaying kelp | on a humid shore | where Jules, dressed as Pierrot, stares catatonic into a mirror | and the avaricious waves | paw pale sands | Back to the office, a few hours now till Monday | reaping less and less | what more and more | strangers sow | And though one is lonely | in her cap and braid | and one is lonely | in his sequins and someone | else’s  hair | if you are a passenger | go to where the pilots go | and stay there


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, November 2014)

Helpless | Lay the heads of the angels gently down, they have | worked the long day through, though the fields | appear untouched | Fold their wings | creaking | awkwardly beneath them, have they never | needed sleep before, has weakness | not assailed them? | Can you not adapt to the bright | void where the synapse asks | and is not answered, or only with | more light, more light, yet | more light, with no | darkness to hang a scale upon, no shadow | to aid orient or to hint, at least, of depth, tomorrows or directions | only an absolute dazzle without edge or core | so we | lay the toys of our questions down, and simply cease, yet | cannot | cease, but simply | wait, yet | simply | go…

Brute | Showing the bible to a seagull | Years of famine, the Chinese | drummed all the sparrows out of the air and killed them | for eating grain | so the locusts came | and ate the crops | so the people starved | only not | the leaders | A fear of telephones is not so foolish | Fear of voices at the end | of the line, fear | of silence or ringtones, fear | a voice may vanish from the realm of sound | forever | One must be sensible | adult | rational | this is what the world is made for | the clunk and jostle in a march of rocks, the delicate | spray of ferns animated | by the waterfall’s jets, the | steaming exclamation of geysers, the exquisite | creep and fume of desert dunes, these are each | made for our reasons, our + and – and our @ | Ask the dead, therefore, to | remain dead, to lie | so very still | decay, of course, in the correct way | according to the natural laws | and all this rolling glitter in our heads | this gold and silver of disturbance | its time is over | Forgive me, then, as, helpless | I am asked “Flower” and answer “Flesh”, am told | “Honey” and answer “Steel” | Can’t | make the proper kind of sense | to hold things in the place agreed, but instead | drop the Zen stones and panic | Be | bitter in the sweet hereafter | restless, ever | malcontent | grow more dullard and less quick, mossbound, with a slow | limestone drip | When the mountain | closes over the children, let me | be among those inside the mountain | not left, alone, trying to remember | how the music went, not left, alone, trying | to forget | the music…


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, November 2013)

Temporary home | A stateless existence | You hardly call, I get the odd message, the wind | shovels leaves about | drop a star into a paper cup | A dead horse drags us around | we untie it from the cart sometimes | flog it mournfully | tenderly, almost | then when we can’t | care anymore | lash it back to the cart, set out again | stumbling among the cars and vases | the promotions and flings | It’s a kind of quantum film | Larry’s saying | It’s about the gaps between points of view | Maybe | No, really | This time it’s Jem-Jem speaking | It’s about the arbitrary nature of narrative | You say: It’s too long | I stand outside, smoking, looking in through the glass wall | at the hyper-cool design | you sitting at the bar with the boys | and Sam | forever checking her fucking phone | I think | how faded and old-fashioned this place will seem | in a few years’ time | how those fine | columns of space we inhabit at this moment | will be vacated in a little while | and fresh occupants will take them up | plotting their own stories | devising plans | new ways to allocate | the world of resource at their fingertips | Could be in a bar in some backwater in rural Croatia, or Poland, or whatever | Jem-Jem tells us | And this could be on the screen, but we don’t speak Croatian, so we don’t know what they’re saying | why she pulls a gun | So it all depends on the point of entry | the type of visa | the local language | the degree of engagement | the history and craft of the gun-makers | It’s warm for this time of year | and once again | I join the huddle of elegant refugees | smoking on the pavement | Is Jem-Jem right? | I wonder | Are we all being screened? | It’s post-modernity, right there, right in front of your eyes | Larry insists | …quintessence of the contemporary, or some old shit… Sam carps, nasal as ever, scrolling | We go back | the house bright and calm in the early hours | and among these strange, new moments | and white orchids | the way we smile before saying goodnight | an ancient sadness


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, November 2014)

Marooned on the planet Suburbia, she rested by her parents’ pool | Nepal in the earbuds | Education had drawn her up | then set her down | in this strange new world, her childhood, old world | haunted by the gauche figures | of ghosts she once had lived, she had been | taken | by the gleaming | UFO of irony | and in moments of inactivity, all the Buddhists put aside, half visionary | in the rustling centres of dreams’ prairies | the miles and miles of golden wheat | cynical voices softly skimmed her head | peeling away the layers of innocence and right and good, and inserting instead | something more replete with lies | more skewed and plural | more faithful to the faithless | tenor of uneasy life — something | more complicated | It was, and wasn’t, Kansas | Her brilliance, she thought, would see her through, see her at least | a fair distance, and then | she would find a place to rest | take stock | of the limits and the damage | get ready to go again | There was never anywhere else | she knew that by now | and she liked the way | the red crescent of the parasol | intersected with the imperious | emptiness of the summer sky | the case that is itself, the fabulous “now” | There were worse places to be washed up | than this placid corner | of impersonally crumbling concrete | which stretched around her forever | with its hotspots of barbers and tanning salons | the abode of hairdressers and middlemen | a place she could stay wrecked awhile before | resuming her metropolitan nights | caught up in the dance of caress and mutation | entranced in the embrace of heiresses and mermen…


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, November 2014)