Archives for posts with tag: variant 1

It no longer simply gives shelter — it no longer ‘simply’ gives anything — but offers itself as a mirror or a labyrinth, as a beautiful obstacle, as an object like a stone inside your heart | With reproducing “and”s and “also”s and “but yet”s, its maze-like structure, reminiscent of the rippled, convoluted surface of a human brain, invites us further and further into a complexity of folds and planes and voids, and artifacts that are neither planes nor voids nor folds | It has left behind the literal world of the desert, the bare place of sand and water, the functions of shade and sleep, and commences to expound itself in luxuriant metaphors, hollows inside the eyes that refuse satiation and floating assignations, which, prone to the next day, and a changed prospectus, create the mirage of an infinite ambiguity, a terminal inability to focus, an inherent shake, wobble and blur | No longer content with mere utility, it begins to delight in decorative swashes and ornamental gestures, and develops an extensive network of styles and manners, which in themselves begin to resemble mazes, requiring study and classification, mapping, debate | However, it is no longer flourishing: although it continues to grow, it starts to exhibit signs of a certain staleness and fatigue | Decay has arrived, not merely as the inevitable expression of a natural order but as an event artificially willed, consciously constructed | For a while, this decadence is not a problem, but then parts of the maze, weakened by disinterest or over-specialisation, troubled by irony, debased by a facile intention, begin to fragment off, to become sub-mazes, secrets, gardens, fetishes…

They attend the play, and they comment on the production | The set design, the standard of the acting, the director’s interpretation | When the last performance is over, and the theatre is empty, the rows of seats gather a kind of hush to them, and the building forms an egg of potential | This happened a long time ago, and the play has since fallen out of fashion / Does it haunt a single neuron? | Does some faint trace of a single over-wrought soliloquy / scrape against the moon and cause that planet to stir and shift its light by some infinitesimal amount? || To the human mind, all things are toys, and the world of the past is like a giant toybox | filled with inert and staring dolls, their eyes | awaiting the glow of recognition and return, the caress | of a flawed and passing god | the privilege | of seeming useful


from the sequence, sentence (2012–present, in progress)


Going deeper into delusion, knowing the futility, as children | excited | venture into a sorcerer’s wood | Only in the lie do I feel anymore | and only by lying | hope | What would you say to that? | Heaping up | the fragments of other people’s dreams | the floating | debris of their ideas | building a kind of mound, up on the moors, a ram’s skull among the heather | not the end of anything except a thought of it | Tying all these sensations together with an argument, but then | growing tired | the flood of sleep rising, the screaming gulls | leaving a trail of glances | turning elsewhere || When you play, I still get goosebumps | Your touch on the keys is so sure, your poise when you rest your fingers | seems to imply a beautiful promise, or perhaps | it’s a memory, the way | a storm is stored | in raindrops sparkling in sunlit leaves and branches | afterwards | Just before you start, in that pause | before the music | you are at your most peaceful | Regardless of your | classical training | you were made so unhappy in our love | it feels | unfair, somehow | Yet, we do our best | each night | milking the venom | softly, patiently | pulling the fangs | painting to still life | clumps of grapes | figs | pomegranates | peaches | swell from the tip of a brush | of kolinsky sable | then the apricots | roll empty, the job | is done for now | we fall back | stupid | so terminally | stupid || Reduced to something less | even than a guesstimate, it seems to lie — but not rest — between | ab ovo and in media res | Breaking off through thoughts | preparing, quite casually, to weep again | the happy and the healthy | go on around us | and we half rise | as if to join them | There was a vast depth to the moonlight | that evening, for some reason | I found it hard to believe | the source of that light was the sun | Deeper, too, into the words… | There are so many clever endings | but this isn’t one


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Across the bay, even long after the sun had gone down, the cries of the boat traders would punctuate the air. Often, at his desk, he’d be unaware of their presence, but occasionally they would stir into his consciousness, and then, for some reason, discomfort him. He had lost all chance of love, had settled into his later years as a sunken wreck settles into the mud and sand of the seabed. The cries reminded him of the calls of birds, marking their territory. Watermelons, fish — fresh or grilled — mangoes, coconut milk. Commerce has its own melancholy, from the numb sleekness of corporate lawyers and the dreary plutocrats of the financial quarter, to the cries of the vendors floating across the polluted waters, the sound at once mechanical and keening, with a faint note, if you listened carefully, of the desperation that waits at the end of all money — the spectre of falling, at last, into the hands of human beings | She dreamed she had jumped from a plane. Her parachute, a great plosive and sudden flower, had opened with a fierce buck above the ocean. For hours, she had drifted through the sky, over a seascape of coral atolls, with their turquoise and subtle azure rings, like exquisite lichens colonising a softly respiring stone, glittering in the bright tropical air: she hardly seemed to be descending at all, but just gliding effortlessly, passively, far above the planet’s surface, visibly curving. Later, she found herself entangled, dangling from the canopy of her chute, high up in angular branches among tall trees. Island. The straps of her harness and the ropes creaked, she struggled like a crane fly with broken limbs, breaking further. This was not the land she had seen, when a child, in her parents’ grandiose, antique atlas, a representation delicately drawn and, as if to emphasise the fairy-tale status of the information contained within, framed by elaborate gilt. A thought is endless, she had written in her journal. It has no sides, no permanent dimensions. A single thought can germinate and reproduce and cover the Earth, like a benevolent weed, curiously inane, or spread like water fed from an unseen spring, and keep on flowing, deepening, changing. Was it true? A journey had waited for her every day, like a mythical animal, four-legged, horned, hoofed, with glowing eyes the colour of ripened satsumas, folded wings of dusky brown, at the foot of her bed. Ever since her early teens, an existential unease — often very beautiful — had possessed her. Her happiness was somehow rich with unhappiness: too, too fragile, life had no way of saving itself, no place it might rest, no sanctuary. All was exposed, perfectly itself, even the secret linings, the buried treasures: how could the sun not be a sun? When she woke from a long sleep, she found a girl beside her in the whorl of sheets, a different maze, warm and palpable, yet, with her eyes closed, racing towards innumerable vanishing points, the cry of bright white seabirds over desert beaches of pure black, volcanic sand, a moment, a seed, washed up, together, on a strangers’ shore.


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

A topple of angles, vertigo of stop-start life, assailing sureness, slips falling into gin and tea.

The travellers will not make their boat, but must stay, swooned, at bandits’ mercy and skewing of Fate.

The Age of Distraction claims us all. Spin verticals until they are not, twist the old dial to stabilise horizontals. His morals are hunted, his meagre bearings endangered: his days moult to montage, a fake farrago of scenes.

Upon streaks and gleams, to noon glare in a chromium blur, in motorcycle silver he revs and glides, must save mother from drug peddlers, drug peddlers from gun runners, must save gun runners from terrorists, then slay gun runners to save sister, wound mother (now a drug peddler) to save children, become terrorist to slay a brother, old comrade turned loyal to a rival faction: ever he sets out, his issues unresolved, loyalties cruxed, in a fury of firearms, merely mires deeper his friends and foes in a spiritual conundrum, a cat’s cradle for conscience.

Seeking gaunt cliffs, gannet-taunted, the solution of cold spray from Baltic waves, the solace of matter, raw, before what was taught, resistant to thought, he, the hero, abandons the city, and skilled with miles, crosses scar and scald, bight and bluff, welcomes in batter and break, absence of groves, blessing of graves, signs of ending, places hard wayfarers broke, in mean blaze of sunset, bones separate from flesh, flash in fatal crush or graze, hands held up above icy tarn surface, face rotting below, aloof from our ties, awaits with the spring communal stir of mosquitoes, but has surrendered memory, the right to elegy, must settle his debt with gas, water and fire, and meet the fate of the lonely, having battled fierce harm and hunger and squall, futile at last, loyal to the faith that called him, fertile with stories – fertile with stories, but forgotten by all.

Sorry, what were you were saying?…


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

Special features | the film not enough with politics and murder | She has come to the various ends of her life | holds the fuses | decaying rivers where she was young | He drives for days | and destinations happen | to him but he can’t use them | In the forecourt heat | petrol pumps with raw colours | stolen from a child’s crayon set | the desert sea and its tide of dirt | ebbing and flowing | Below her feet, unfound oil | floats and hungers | You never see your own eyes | only reflections in surfaces | she wore a carnival | crocodile mask | then took it off | sat on the school steps | smoking | boiling her tears inside her | all the time polite | to sweet Harry, curious Jane | and her tears | made no steam and dried | He watched her put the mask back on | In leather holsters, slung on hips | the policemen’s guns | yelp and whimper | all afternoon…

No time now to put all the spilled time | back in the right slot | The dust is restive | these spring days | dress up and pose, yet then | strip off and lie | nude for hours on the bed or the floor | and dying feels fresh but | old, too | Money had caught her cold | filled her head with a bickering static | they sacrificed love for careers | in the evenings | tired | they shot up banks and took hostages | falling asleep somewhere in the middle | of the most | exciting decade | While they were loose with their names | running in herds across a darkened prairie | the moon | shed its arid, mummified light | and the restless atoms | swung always around | to take up the flags and the new formation


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Shot of | forsythia, cracks of | blue-grey sky | The fork in the wrist, in the cliff, urban commuter trains’ | tracks | Your sickness means | the iron is heavy to lift | “the man | carries the horse in this village” | will you | carry it far? | Then you are healthy, the iron runs | liquid and light | and the world is young | you may ride for thousands for miles | into the outskirts of Berlin | to the fragrant pasture in the lowlands | where there are wolves and yurts | The fork in the fading photograph | the fork in the lungs | at the day’s | woolly ends | at noon | You glance into the cold | nihilistic furnace | of a cat’s eyes | you want the birds just to be birds | a place to park them | let them stack and rest | inert | not fly up suddenly | all as one | sensing the approach | of an unspeakable change | a tremor | a faint | scent of smoke | a fainter | roar | Offering this character | your mercy | your time | your care | offering that one | short shrift | not filling in | their features | Apportioning to the sea | this measure, the sands | that value | their love | this moment’s | qualities | Scripting the world | not the drip of pain | drop by drop | from a Greek | greatness | but cracks | of clear April sky | and on the ripe | tartan blanket in the basket | the teats and squirm and nuzzle | of Nuisance and her pups | How to | pursue your story, now? | Isn’t it mostly a question | of holding on | while you’re | making your mind up?

Into the blue-grey void | a turbulent mist, almost violet | a perpetual | agitation, full of curves and eddies | as at the base of a great waterfall, no detail | can be made out entirely, all | is a swell and drift and feather | of misty spray | How to carve up a cloud? | Anyway, the traffic waits | So much is autopilot and yeah, so? | And as for their love, it is enough | for now


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

You felt as if you were missing an illusion | to complete your wisdom | so you set out | on your last journey | It’s an old story, kind of | Voyages | from the red | petals of coals glimpsed through | veils the bridal | spiders dropped | as guests ran from a stirred unease | of rainswept weddings | pages of Whitman or Verlaine | stained by pressed flowers | a washed-out | lavender or | windswept | rose | a whole | history | of sentiments and misadventure | lies right | on the edge of truths | all they lacked | finally | was love | Across continents | by Boeing or Airbus | hibiscus in Hong Kong | camellia in Tokyo | the heart as sweet jar, trick or sump | Flicking through the book of the mirror | skipping the florid roué with the watery, evasive eyes | pausing only briefly at the rue-filled charlatan | or the blood-dipped | buck | lingering over the statesman | and good friend | the naked boy | stripped of his tutu | too tired to | make the layers of | white irony | rustle or shine…

Wolves are coming | wolves with black fur, blacker even | than the beginning of everything | blacker, the fur, than | the darkness | snuffed candles | slipped into | a spider-slung room | in a remote chateau, to the east, 1708 | Wolves with | white fur, too | Wolves | with every | kind of fur | Do you understand | the concept of wolves? | If so, set out | on your last | journey | run quickly! | floundering | through the thigh-deep snow | escape if you can | Wolves | with eyes so purely blue | even the survivors will never | see anything so pure again | but the blood | fuck! | it ran copiously | and made a truly | horrible mess | against the background | of a perfect, crisp | winter’s noon | Very soon | you and I | will be so | alone | I’ll bring the vision | you’ll bring the excuse | I’ll bring the anchor | you the storm | I the proposal | you the partial | negation, and in such a way | we’ll negotiate | this onerous moment | I’ll stay | you’ll leave | that’s how | the joke works | Ask for all the great lines | to come round | again, and again | It’s not | going to | happen | Listen, I’ll be | the sorrow | you can never | reach | the lovers | you let fall and drift | the promises | you made and didn’t | even | regret | breaking | I’ll be the glum inexorable | munch of circumstance | against the fine-cut | foundations of heroic ideals | the tiring | stature of your soul | fatigue of limb and bond and reason | the drying up | of lust and even | of affection | and the wolves, again | and the ocean of their needs | Feel for one | last time | the vast | boat of the spring, the only | real season | setting out | with a cargo of | flowers and leaves | choking gold | flagrant sheens | pouts and pots | astral | expansions | of purple and crimson | glisten of | the mighty | insects waking | taking the pollen strain | in their long teams | and all the words | I write | now | all my wisdom | compiles | the fall of cold rain | over the cold sea | no matter what I do | I can only | commit the oldest | indiscretion | with the newest | hands | then turn away | and cast my child into memory


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

Often, too great | to bear | Often, too, too small | The wind picks locks | in cavities, gaps under the foundations | near dawn | metal shop shutters | billow faintly and rattle | but no thieves come | Moments tumble out of our watches | if they could form a tiny, translucent mound, would we | tell one from another? | Midway once more | through the three failures | first | the failure to mean enough | second | the failure to be sufficiently meaningful | third | the failure, simply, to be | It’s a familiar | scenario | Always | just right to bear | the days with their sublime precision | still ground spare for burial | the sea with no taste | for regret or sorrow | and the ship as futile as the cargo

Houses floating on a flood of light | did you say you wanted to come back? | Fruit in season, peel off the banana skin | the sticker, black and gold, bearing the company logo | The mind has elsewhere | my mind | your mind | Ecuador or Mecca, Skye, Middlesbrough | a dry canyon in Peru | currents | winds | distant | lovers | From the headland, watch the tankers | queue for the refinery | like toy magnets | or grains of Thai rice | the moments | stick to each other | When the impossible, at last, arrives | cram the memories into their boxes | look beyond the stones | to the forest’s edge | where shadows negotiate their stories | learn again the modesty | of a name that always fails | to escape the gorgeous mire | of dusk, cedars, mosquitoes, mist | and fails, too | the first and most crucial test | to be alone, and so merely | to be no more than it is


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

In the skeleton of things between us | grass grows up through the bones | but then the grass, too…

Office buildings, railway stations, late night drives through countryside | scented with sugar beet and arable boredom | the cars with their Gothic interiors | cathedrals of moments, the burst of seedheads | torn red leather of the corpses of those journeys | back to friends’ houses, or to strangers’ houses where the parties lay | in wait like ambushers | the forests of beds dripping with oils and gums and dew | dawn entirely mislaid | mists where apes hoot and grunt | and rare birds with electric yellow feathers | squawk their part of the synopsis for your grounds | limp vines of dope smoke and vodka | The mountain skull…

The track through the jungle of our “affair” | the intestines of the river, small boats being quietly digested | caught on shoals, their bottoms ripped out on boulders | circa 1900 in a society | draped in a bridal veil, a fever | disguised as a society | Obsolete mining equipment…

Messages sent, puffs of coloured smoke | pigeons with information attached to their ankles | the intricate strings of semaphores | flashes of telescopes | quarries and pits, graves and dumps | Missile crises…

Languishing | The gigantic peach of a colony | bitten to reveal the pit | the sentinel abandoned his post | Grasshopper on the eyelid | The subject, with its vertical rivers of memory, flowing in two directions, in circles, two waters | both adverse and complex | currents both cold and lukewarm | reversing and surging | the bodies of past selves floating and hanging, turning and sinking | the gangster and the priest | the actress and the writer | tangled in the skeletons of grass | and the tears of bone that rattle as they fall | on pages of stuffy literature | Victorian triple decker | modernist masterpiece | post-modern epic of indeterminism and non sequiturs | The skull, sitting upright on the road, driving through the tunnel of the eye-socket | coming back here as to | a dreary provincial town | where one’s…

And you can say “sick at heart”

And you can say “Sunday”

The sky slopes and down it slide | tiny jigsaw pieces of stars | I wish to book passage as soon as possible | my head is cluttered with tusks | and I woke to find | my soul had become an empty warehouse

I made you an adversary because of the courage of your luxury | the pleasure in your life, the wit, the spines of skyscrapers crumbling | only where the iris floats loose from a kiss | the eyelids flutter | only there and then | just at the moment of dawn | did I escape my rigid whey-faced churches | the cemeteries compiling records of tasks | properly accomplished | all absent and correct | through the powder-cloud balls of artillery smoke | the futile grind of nations | after the symphony, always the battle | the way roses are turned to uniforms | and Sunday lies in a field like a discarded wheel | perhaps not even then | or there…

The summer steamer and the hollow pomp and bluster of a military band | parasols taught lessons by the swirling gale | a mound of broken marriages and celebrity vampires and prams | sallow love bites the colour of rotting avocados on the necks and breasts | of hovering teens | so hot even the gold is going off | like milk neglected on the burning sill | and rest, eyes bulging | having taken our jolly poison | idiots clapping at the dull magician | displaying the bleeding parts of the limbs he’s sawed | admiring the sequins on the lady’s bodice | yes, you can | go to Manhattan

I need to be stretchered | I am anxious to leave as soon as possible

Please take me on board


from the series bliss point | angels of disorder
(open-ended, 2012–present)


Delicate | like an afterthought | Changing the world at the base, in the | eyes where | you want to stay || With a manuscript’s | hoard and labour | How fragile the ink | makes the sky || She travels like a rumour || They tickle, the feathers come | loose from the wings | purring at Hermes’ ankles || Locking a moment’s door | sadly, with | great resignation || Taking a lone | stem from a | bouquet of journeys | one day an | ox-eyed daisy, the next | fennel or | fatal | asphodels || In other words, a road | and you look | to the horizon through | swans’ atoms of | falling snow and | it overwhelms you, like the number | of messages | teeming through your head || Kneeling, without a god but | fearful of the winter’s land, the imps and goblins | freezing to death in their | acorn carriages, their beetle | teams | buried | in boot-deep | drifts | Slice of | heavenly summer | blues down the | grey || Interruptions | making life || Deciding to | take another path | from the one you meant | Bending | hesitating | to unlock the surprise door | of a new moment

No, go | this way instead | Where the rumour of her | rushes in murmurs like a new fad or a new | vision || Putting down a pen, picking up a phone | Checking voicemail for | alcohol or gold || Things moving on, but | a stillness at the core where the human | hand touches | the inertia of summer clouds | partakes of | ether and shadows | of lime trees or | taxis parked | outside a deli with a pale | green awning || Fire | wired into the nuclei | even of fireless things | birds rising in | flocks | ice | asserting its bastion | the impossible | bump of her | body against you and the | tale of light it | trails || From a high building | look down at the | crowds of thoughts | motivating the town | to vectors and wingbeats | scams and | destinations, the motionless | dice of the | dreams of | lounging strangers || Absurd | liaisons | turning to rights or wars | explanations | for your sorrow or the planets or the | nature of time || Masterpiece, burning in a library | how fragile the sky makes  | the ink and | each of its words || Not quite what you | imagined | not at all what you | so carefully planned | wrought from chance and | a subtle | kilter in the angles | and the whole so | sudden, so | delicate – like an afterthought…


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)