Archives for posts with tag: variant 1

We went in to check out the show | On the pavement died saints and martyrs | It was business as usual at the Palais | we stopped by for beer and fries | And the lights on the matadors’ suits | sparkled | like the shards of coloured glass we found on the beach | held up to the sun | we couldn’t quite | fit our seeing in | On the other side | of those instants of blindness | I heard the ocean just | doing its thing | putting up its defence | making its case | for a large | share of oblivion | or a small | pinch of remembering | if you | thought you could do it | Superseded | range they said | we couldn’t get the parts | and a tech-head shrugged her shoulders | they didn’t any longer | provide support | When the first | tear-gas was fired | the crowd began running | a species of parrot went extinct | a new | intestinal fluke was discovered | the people dispersed | most of them | the army moved in | We sensed | a certain froideur at your parents’ | it seemed to me like the beginning | of a break-up

Some was lighter, the colour of a Pinot or a Grenache | some darker | more Malbec or Shiraz | Where it falls, on dirty flags or sand | on frosty cobbles | dusty tracks | there is a world | the floor | beneath the furniture | and beneath the floor | the earth | Born with slightly deformed legs | I couldn’t run or jump like other boys | I’ll choose | a different passion | and that passion | will lead me to a different end | But nothing ends

from the series fp2 (on-going sequence of poems, commenced 2016)


Diary that evening free. Traffic going past, the vehicles pulled on invisible wires of destination. A sideline. Sidelined… It meant something different. Those small, domestic catastrophes, kettle boiling dry while the stroke victim lies a few feet away on the kitchen floor. How was it the journey had vanished from her, and she had grown cold and mechanical, with no more scent of lemons, sweat or sea-salt than a speedometer in a car contains traces of moorland heather or sudden flurries of snow? But he was wry: a person is a teacup, the storm of life swirling inside; and a proprietary mole, mistaking his molehill for a mountain. It was natural to be shaken by hurricanes and typhoons, but foolish to care too much what happens after the dainty china has shattered, brittle smithereens littering the ground. Storms make no note of your address or license plate no. The pool only looked deep because it held a reflection of the fathomless sky, so perfectly blue that cicada noon. Angela had cancelled, and Bobbie moved away. She had discovered the empty centre. From now on, he imagined, he would have to live here. Existence under these conditions — well, it was forced, artificial, like those new capitals invented by tyrants or economists, entire cities concreted into swamps or jungles, whole populations displaced. Why weren’t people more cautious, he wondered? There was ever-present danger, and each moment was a story with a clear moral, like the skeleton of a gazelle decorating the edge of a drying waterhole. The ends would never meet now. There was the TV, programmes to watch and form opinions on. She had never felt so desolate. The wipers began to sweep away the first flakes of snow, and, because he was at the wheel, the car began to accelerate.


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

And they are young Americans | the cold river blue of their eyes | will carry you a long way | clear of the city, although | the city is where you want to go | and close to the banks | in winter the water | flirts with the chastity of a newborn ice | plain and correct as coffin timber | or boiled cuffs | and with curlew isolation

Softly spoken | no expertise with big sticks | resting back, the pomp of their ’fros | spread fresh on plump pillows | and to the holes in the summer | street noise | their half sleep goes | flashing with half dreams | a distant claim of sirens | nearby pottering | of sparrows on balconies | a fascination with Astro | boy and the narrative | innovations of Jane Austen | knowing most of all | an ease with moments | is a natural gift | delicious | flexing of their still foal limbs | a treasure of indolence | thoughts dripping down smooth | like overturned spoons | letting slip of molasses | such bitter sweetness | the scooped steel goes light | as the dipped weight passes | the better to rise | but the further to fall | with work to be done | and the clock quick clicking | on fast road bike glides | late for Eng Lit classes | running the rule over 18 C masters | bringing to the future 20 C kings | and a day’s hope to the fire | of the days with no kings | riding

And in heist-land job crucial matter of time | bagging up the money Fats tapping with the 9 | Sammy outside in the ride motor always running | headed to the ice plant swapped out drives | powered in the Caddy deep into night country | bats in the beams and the moon not local | when we pissed in a line by fields of motionless maize | last to finish up took a moment to breathe | that agrochemical smell and hard dirt and dust | the churn of our engine a sound of liberty’s heaven | cool bass line of endless motion and oil | and the crickets singing | crept into a pocket inside me | and only fell out later | when I went down in the rain like a Lichtenstein blazer | gats sliding on the sidewalk in the big-bulbed lights | out front of that star-struck showtime theater | cops and Feds and molls and rats all around me | and the jingle of the shells from dry-cracking semis | like Sammy and Jimmy and Fats and Dimes | died into fame and rose double quick again | martyrs of the market and comic-book economics | mimic the saints on turning white walls | bodies broken on drug busts and slab racks | and Jesus of the rolled stones and the echoing tomb | death not where we left it | not where it should be | but in August, on civilian duty in a flyover state | maybe on a border | three weeks into another terrible drought | a lunar heat | drenches the wired farms and shadow-casting silos | and insects and abandoned people don’t sleep | but remain wakeful | restless | so deep into solitude they can’t even tell | if they’re really alive | and by heirloom lamps | pore over bibles: “You know the way to the place where I am going” | The Book of Michael Chap 7 Verse 5…


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

First principles | Holed up in atoms where the curtains are closed | the screen is a little theatre | these actors come and go, live and die, talk | gold or ignorance | fame or wine | toss | shapes of trees or dunes into our eyes, clouds | of dust | To understand, we must leave | Throw a veil of loss | over what was there | make it ours | by forgetting | quickly or slowly and the days won’t lie | wed the change | marry a lion/an ass | carry an ash bouquet | And the most important story? | This is an overview | how we must follow an ancient pattern | disperse | fortunes by acquisition | add | sultry mistakes to our collection | and go back | to a hot world | still fuming | stolen from the forge and the grind of fire | a thick god | grunting and slurping | with fingers of lava, thumbs of rock | drooling islands and peninsulas… || How do they bear their | exits? | By shouting loud, delivering their lines | to drown the silence with a minute sea | Listen | Can you hear breathing? | Can you lay out | when it matters | what you know | so that it | still matters? || Poem, wait, your true reader is coming, I promise you, but this reader? | No

Ponderous ghosts | Children from a kindergarten | wrapped in rainwear, bright yellows and geranium, as the shower | folds the streets into thickets and haze | where will you take my inheritance? | I brought you | a few moments of tenderness among the bones | By becoming steam | it becomes a car | a letter | from a long-lost lover | inkdrop of starlings in a hung, amber dusk | and the trains, the bills, the diplomas and the fuzzy | visions near dawn, they all | flee, seeking asylum from themselves, and we are no different | If I could show you the very last place, or tell you the very last words, would you | stay there? | could you | say them?


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

When the light finally reaches them, they blink and think themselves saved.

In the pale cones of torchlight, the threads of immense and intricate webs glisten and recede into unfathomable shadows.

They are dreaming and their rescuers are only figments of their dreams.

Water from the surface drips and creeps down, bringing some infinitesimal tincture of moonlight, a breeze moving languidly over long grasses, the smell of heat and rust on abandoned wagons, the lines curving away into the green and unprofitable centre.

Parts of the ether collapse and then the molecules settle, the snow settles, the earth settles.

They keep journals and diaries, and their days enclose them, they wait for news, sometimes only for a sound – the slightest sound.

Because of the splinter of infinity in each word, they do not come to the end of their entries but float onwards, finding themselves day-dreaming over the page or lost for hours in the mystery of an attachment.

The ink calls down the sky and the spiders shrink for a few moments and then go on spinning.


from the series Silver of the mine of gold (open-ended: 2013–present)

Piecemeal man, tatter cake, taken from a bag of scraps | what comes after “fragment”?

<fascination with Rimbaud, boyhood, 70s>

And the road is having afterthoughts, the ship of maps | with Paris, riding at anchor | nothing | stays in these pockets | they are full of holes

Smoke smiling in bottles | brown fog, lashed to echoes | frays and dithers | then fades through the long dissolve | to empty decks, no crew survived | frost chastens the spars and rigging | rock and creak, crock | rock and creak | no five bells no come about Mr | the stars are super-cooled | Alpheratz and Fomalhaut | toy to Christmas lights on Finnish larch | when ice falls in washing | stalactite spears | it sounds the breaking of Chartres gargoyles | magicked to brittle glass | and litters of angels in sacks for drowning | like wriggling kittens | will you stay | to see them cast | or to hear out | the excuses from your benevolent genie?

Drunk in a mirror hotel | pin your senses to a winter cloud | those old, hand-drawn poets | lolling on donkey epithets | chasing down butterflies with gauzy nets | all queuing for their papers | on the side of Parnassus | cirrus-maned lions | and deal negotiators | vain mountain | land-locked and heaven-pointed | take up your berth | in a fragile | see-through boat | abandon the age | with visas franked by snakes and tigers | booked passage | and headed out | into the heated air | rising like Montgolfier | igniting like the Lumières | the sea, the fountains and the debts | the squabbles and the reputations | the blooded cobbles and the city squares | are lit into three syllables | and turned to gossamer

Lima, London, Caracas, Port Said

You see

you cannot buy shares in paradise

if so, what use is that stale eternity?

and those passport poems | rejected into fashion and degrees | turn toys

Ransacked, heaven is a mess | a place looters and thieves may camp awhile | donning silks and feathers and pearls | but words | transparent to a T | failing from promise and their absolute

you seal their fate | by turning your back on them | and all their frail craft | their fleet incendiary fire | put on your boots and walk through mud | prefer a truth of goods and guns | schedules | agendas | notebooks | for lines of figures

so you wake | start to roam

in a trail of steam, a scream | of strange seabirds | diving from bleached cliffs | gaze from the stern

left with

tusks | ivory | journey | bald foam


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

Singing to Lord Ganesha | pointing out the rise of titanic waves | kneeling before the little country shrine | to the thorn and the blood | People are like knots in a length of rope Hal said | When a person’s born, it’s like a knot tied in the rope | The rope is just the same, you see, there isn’t more or less of it | same length, same weight | but the configuration changes | Airport, busy over the Christmas period | bad weather causing cancellations and delays | Kids when they’re young | you buy them an expensive present | they have much more fun with the cardboard box | the present came in | Just an empty cardboard box! | And when you die, the knot is untied | and the rope goes back to the way it was before | The world, I mean — it just goes back to the way it was before | Terrible conditions for the workers at the gold mine | And the avant garde isn’t ahead of anything, it’s just another niche market | a quaint | cottage industry | Riding in the back | Taking a cocktail of drugs, why? | Watching clouds until you get fretful, forget | about the clouds, don’t even think of them | when rain coops you up for days | Hurrying to get on board | This is a new theme, but the silence inside it is old | The stragglers trying to press on | struggling through heavy snows | Those huge integral eyes | staring into the distance | It will be a long voyage | into those mountains | Gradually coming into view | and very slowly growing | a fresh idea of wolves | and shadows flowing into winter | a world, sleek and trembling | like blown glass | the cave with orchids near its mouth | and the bears at tea | fucking each other | then rolling away | into TV again | and all the sparkling | pristine connections | tarnish as they fire | peaks beyond the foothills | into a dreaming baby’s mind

There’s space enough | You can always add some more in if you want | More than enough | Maybe even too much | space | And it keeps growing | Stuff in the garage | jump leads | pliers | six types of oil | Junk in the loft | Aspects of China and America | She drove for hours in that old European car | just drove round the city, waiting for a story to begin | But when the vampire came in his ornate black carriage | up above the frosted roofs | the crosses on all the steeples | crumpled | one by one, in sequence, like a wake of shadow, the streetlamps | died | the mirrors cracked and cried in anguish | cut flowers | browned and withered in a matter | of a few instants | and on the mantels and the dressers | small mounds, made from the dust of petals | crouched and squeaked as the windows opened | and the vampire floated through | The settlers had no taste for it | that life in a new world | They soon got out | The main party had gone on ahead | as night descended | the stragglers had such pretty green eyes | and no one dared to link | the quiet beauty of the falling snow | with the name of a disaster


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

He’ll go to a High School for Boys | His legend will live on there | under horse chestnut shades | oozing through copper pipes | dripping into oblong enamel basins | at the height of summer / as harsh cicadas scour the air, and in crisp uniforms | pressed by parents who want admirals of them | young men with high fine voices and moments | of angels’ temperaments | will push their squeaking bicycles between the fields | and pause | and be aware of him | their great | predecessor | a haunting presence | a translucent mountain looming over them and melting up towards | the white and soft blue-grey | mountains of the September clouds

He is the delta, feeding the springs of all the rivers and their tributaries, their small clear mouths | wait for his rain

They will puzzle over him most terribly | those young men | listening so studiously to early 90s hip hop and | painting their model soldiers while | wondering about jazz and | how all of this fits into girls, the half of a | peach, the silver | static of the fuzz: he will put them | in a quandary | but then | most things do put them in a quandary, the edge of a mysterious world is forever | encroaching into their world of | intense concentration and disturbing | the various forms of their | pure mercurial passions…

He’ll marry his childhood sweetheart, and be faithful to her | He’s just that kind of man | His home town is one of those | two-faced affairs | dull and provincial to most natives but, to outsiders (those who never actually visit) | possessing a gloomy cachet, exuding the reputation | of a place that is obdurately itself, idiosyncratic almost | to the point of the saturnine, yet too sincerely limited | to achieve the melancholy distance of irony | or the prestige and luxury of narcissism

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Onset of mood | with wealth more moments | for feeling to flow | nuance and half light proliferate | and new flaws in mind | to nameless modes of living | suffer and bear | fissure and further | fissure | gnaws in space where once spirit was | no action to evade | nor athlete to exercise | but leisure and lethargy | leaving one prone | to looms of anxiety | more abrupt sourceless laughter | more subtle woe | For we, the frontier | first part of the wave touching on shore | seeking escape in fables and stupors | bring poor countries to our chalets with fast trains and wifi | with affordable fees easily render | distance our fief | make natives as theatre | backcloths to stars | in white yachts long sculpted to sleek lazing in bays | or in private planes lofting on cities | cleaving through clouds | to unknown streets in towns | spoken in tongues alien to our own | and at dusk | separated from partners | the strange breeze blows | through the branches of strange trees | and each moment says “no” | when you ask for an end | by bright modern buildings | an ancient fate | to be yourself | but yourself alone | a feat of the lost | fought for pain’s hoard | outrun the fleet | but only buffeted by others | sole guardian of a silent fort | in sterile iambs | to frigid flutes | left on an island | of want and device | foregone by children | deserted by “friends” | and forgotten by fête

They were cajoled or tricked into helping the traffickers, threatened or blackmailed. They were just teenagers from poor coastal towns in Egypt or other impoverished African communities, and were put in charge of the boats carrying illegal immigrants across the Mediterranean | towards the “promised land” of Europe. Many of these kids were caught, arrested and imprisoned, while the traffickers themselves, who never set foot on the boats, remained free to continue their activities. It seemed trite to him, but the economics of grief and of pleasure were part of the same economy. The key thing, he thought, was how to get away from this place: always, only, how to get away. Life was relentlessly cruel: it made anywhere unbearable. Just watching his lover turn over in sleep was proof of that. Indeed, sleep itself, the condition, was proof: the body couldn’t bear itself in a conscious state, it had to flee. Life was unremitting flight. He was rolling down an incline. What was shaken around as he rolled, in dreams, could never be accessed. Sleeping and waking were not the same. A sleeping person is not a wakeful one. He lifted his iced mineral water, but didn’t drink: instead, he was overwhelmed by a sense of disdain for his own sadness. Too much sorrow slowed you down. You needed to have only the right amount of sorrow. Outside, sounds of preparations for the carnival punctuated the evening calm. He would take photographs, of course.


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

I kept a person in a bag | I took them out, then put them back | when I was finished with them | then put the bag | in the hall or in the wardrobe near my bed, or sometimes | the garage | Holes | in my memory | now | more regularly appear | and often I do not know how | I went from A to Z | whole clumps of letters seem to drop away | sometimes I find myself at Y, but am not | sure where | that is | Busy, busy, such a busy life I lead | it was nice to keep the person in the bag, to have them | there when I needed them | and zipped up tight when the need was past | And years passed | I no longer took out the person quite so often | and sometimes left the bag | in a locker at the gym or | even at the boathouse, or the basement room | but I was always very careful | to put the person back | in the bag before the zip was closed | Around me, tremendous changes came | hurricanes and entire neighbourhoods | cleared and re-developed | my nerves | treed off into silver or to brown veins | or inhuman green | reaches of the Amazon | What was the person’s name? | And their voice? | There was bracken and heather and a sound of pipes | I had in mind | Donegal or Zummerzet | perhaps mist-wet fleece of the Shetland Isles? | There was no | help for it | I needed to ask the person, but when | I opened the bag, they had gone | Surely, surely, the Shetland Isles? | I was called back to life at once | I used the bag for something else


from the series superstyler (open-ended, 2012–present)