Archives for posts with tag: variant 1

They have stolen the city | down in the mud where the boot heels dig | cryptic shapes for no one’s glances | Soon they will steal the country | including my lemonade | the whistle on a braided string | the old pool in winter | drained but still | pitched on memories of water and lassos | of ripple and glare | pumped splashes, too | They are not an army | they did not | cross any border | we are their guests | and if we are not grateful, they will show us | how easy is the way | to connect | our young skulls | with even younger graves | We all know | when we can | snatch a little sleep | that a dark ladle | slips into our bodies | and lifts partial | fluids from dreams | waters teeming with life | we cannot make entirely | belong to us | although | on this | side of the wall of dawn | we call the land a nation and the nation | ours | and claim | the whole sky | in complete agreement with our tongue’s heaven

Shattered accord | Tanks coming through the TV | into the living room | The night | tender predator | preys on those boys | stirs them from their uniforms | lifts them naked to | straight or gay love | puts the tears into them | the whirlpool of | who they never are, but forever | reach for | in mud and memories | turns and churns | confusion on a | liquid axle | Following orders | servants of a hazy cause | the morning | gripes at them with guns | crows | the routine of | packaging up flesh | in alien contact | strange ideas | One | tangos | no | Out of their heads | new heads | translucent and fluid | scoot in schools | they are only | half awake | the past | laps them | the present | yet to | form totally, the future not | yet | stay put | Running through meadows | in flight or pursuit | taking the burnt | city with them | into a darkness where rest | is no longer easy | into beds with their lovers | still the strings to their children | uncut | but to the soldiers | cut | and cut | and cut


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


Walk through the buried forest | See the tourists gulping diamonds | A legendary figure passes us by | Laugh at the locals with their hurricane club | See the river with its enigma | extended through space and time | reflections of anonymous trees | nameless to our ignorance | Coffee in a cabin | among the pines | Fall quiet, fall still, fall… |  A beauty that cannot be | contained or measured | haunts us for all | our cleverness | so we grow sad, and | wonder why must the days always go, though we | are hurt by it?

It was a great storm blew the houses down | Storm of ’08, maybe | ’07? | Tremendous damage, Carthy blown | quite away, we never | found the body | Fishing boats a mile inland | Why do I sometimes feel my life | is like the world of mice | at the feet of giants? | Their huge | mountainous boots | their shuffle that is thunder and their newspapers | with whirlwind flutter, headlines | of no use to us? | We are too small for them to see, yet | we exist | They never found | Julie’s body, either


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

In the soft cocoons of children’s tears | moth mother | come back | Do you know how silk is made? | Glittering feeling, no impression may be wrought of it | When the threads tear | spaces open up | into them | fall Sherlock | centaurs, twisting and writhing | the scent of detergent | they use in school | the scent of detergent | they used on these sheets | and pillows…

Clockwork in the heart, like the psychedelic | bumps and twangs | of early Pink Floyd or | Majesties‘ Stones | Crotchety and a bit | sporadic | echoes in hollow boxes | stop motion | jerking to a halt, but… | Stroke fingers down | an old dress where it hangs | its papery silk jade | broken into emptiness | by living | Ah, world of what was… | If you feel hard enough, you might | hear the summer of wings | the young | emerging, the nights’ | great dark air | waiting…


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

Carrying a maze in a bag | Putting the bag down, opening it | Taking out the maze and walking in | The music grows more lush, moving smoothly | like dense vegetation seen from the side of a boat | gliding through deep forest | Pink-winged parrots paint the air | at speed with cursive squawks | pass and score raucously overhead | while purple-faced baboons | scoff and grunt in troupes | from the other shore | Our role, grown blurred, does it trouble us? | Are we conquerors, or sightseers, or explorers? | Business, Madame, Sir, or pleasure? | Are we the border guards, musing over visas, or the travellers, with our coats and luggage, quinine and guns? | Or drug smugglers, police or users? | Spanish moss festoons the cedars | like primaeval party streamers or partly | solidified smoke | Elephants trumpet in the distance | We sip the boat, and settle for the night | in steamy rooms, a rough hotel | so far up-country, there is no rail | the nearest airstrip is five days away, the fan | rotates erratically on the ceiling | the plaster is a warped and faded | pistachio green, from the balcony | there is a view of low-rise buildings with rooves | of corrugated iron | gleaming dully in the moonlight | Sleep, the annex of death, awaits us | and sleep is crammed in everywhere | within our days | slitted in a blink | hiding below the up-turned cup | stashed just beyond the limit | of our perplexed vision | and yet | for a moment more | we linger | where sense can still be made | and slowly | almost boredly | we measure our lips | with kisses | washing us to a dreamy shore | making us ask | Do we know this place?

It was a renovation/extension project | for a wealthy client in Hampshire | We had tendered | Negotiations were advanced | Our lead architect had excelled herself | the modern element was beautifully done | elegant, streamlined, inevitable | the interior | graceful, understated | I left a laptop with the plans one night | on a train | promo, mock-ups, everything | I still think of those designs sometimes | although in the end we didn’t get the contract | and the extension was never built | Was it progress? | Perhaps, but in such fits and starts | sometimes we seemed to be going nowhere | and often, we were | frustrated | Time passed | Years, in fact | Eventually, the longueurs became our situation | we found ourselves relaxing, admiring the view | enjoying coffee at the Italian place | making love with new, exciting strangers | Like miners, whose labours | in exhausting ore | produce magnificent, carved-out galleries | we lost ourselves in exercises | that appeared, on the surface, practical | but were, in the end, indistinguishable | from stupendous reveries | the wheels not turning | the engine idle as the gangsters sit | waiting for their target to show | Dissatisfaction, not a god or | moral high | drove us on, but I wondered | would our achievements ever be | as significant, as lovely | as those inspired by greater aims? | — and would we ever reach the state | where we really wanted less | for ourselves | and more for others: might we be called | to desire even these doldrums | as whirling dervishes worship | simply by going round in circles?


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)
(this poem, August 2013)

The present had grown mysterious. It floated like mist at the heart of a derelict building, the windows all blasted out. You had to clamber over the rubble in the street, massed before the entrance, and by the time you’d made your way into the interior, you were back on the street, facing a derelict house full of mist.

In an odd way, you never reached the present. And the place the present was kept — the past — was also inaccessible. By the time the present had occurred, or you were able to make sense of it, it had been packed into another derelict house, the house of expended things. And the house, because it had no doors hung in the doorways, and no glass in the window frames, couldn’t prevent the mist from entering it, and floating over the old, ruined armchairs and settees, drifting up the rotten stairs, dampening the peeling 1930s wallpaper with lupins and butterflies.

The future, too, was inaccessible. The future was the place all the presents pointed to: it was a kind of phantasmal museum, with collections of hopes and dreams and plans, none of which could possibly ever come to fruition, because by the time they came to fruition, they were already in the past — the future was a place people browsed round exhibits of elapsed projections. The future, therefore, made up the ghostly triumvirate of derelict houses, the three houses of time.

Of course, this ghostly triumvirate was actually just the same property, perceived from different points of view.

At the heart of the mystery of the present — and thus, at the heart of the mystery of the past and the future, too — there was the moment.

Nothing could have been more perplexing or bedazzling to your imagination than the moment. It was the trace of an enigma, or the skeleton of an enigma, an enigma that had died and lost its life. It was as if a building had had all its foundations removed, and yet, instead of collapsing, floated.

The crystal machinery of the moment was more complicated than the burning neuron forest of the human brain, yet simpler than a black crayon dot on white paper. It could be divided and divided and divided, and yet never broken down to its constituent element. It multiplied everywhere, in its billions and billions, and yet everywhere it vanished. When it vanished, it left no trace, except for the world. And the world suckled from the moment like a baby at a mother’s breast.

No one could name an individual moment. It wasn’t like a street — like Pearson Street, say, or Bokutei-dori. Too small to attach a name to, it didn’t work like that. The moment was general and anonymous, and at the same time, precious and utterly specific. It was translucent, and yet totally opaque. It contained nothing, and contained the universe. It was discrete, and yet attached to its fellows in long strings. The moment was there, whether you dreamed or not, whether you were alive or not. It had no witnesses to the way it moved, and yet every human life could be said, in a sense, to be a profound and extended testimony to the nature and effects of the movement of moments. Restless as the sea, still as a snowflake caught in a spider’s web, built in a gap in a drystone wall across a moor, on a windless day, in Yorkshire, England. It was the essence of the art of the riddle: from the Babylonians to the Anglo-Saxons to the PhD students dozing in their quantum cocoons, the moment was the spring, the first explosion, the first thought.

As for novelists, story-tellers, singers, musicians — what would they be without the moment?

The moment was a transcendental mechanism. With each new moment, the entire history of all things was transcended. Nothing was preserved, everything had to be rebuilt and the whole planet and its narrative shored up with logic and assumption, culture and hearsay. Your imagination was bound up into the moment, with its paths of orbit, divergence, bifurcation, circling, shattering. The moment’s precipice stood before you. To leap from the ledge would be to enter an entirely new world: it would be an act of sublime baptism, of absolute alchemy, of the radical and pervasive transformation of everything, from the core to the perimeter, from the edge to the centre. No one could survive that leap. You certainly couldn’t. And yet, what choice did you have, but to jump?

The moment is the supreme construct — a fabrication of such beige and vanilla humility, you can easily overlook its presence; but a fabrication, too, of such imperious and angel-subduing pride that even within the confines of a wristwatch or a sugarcube, its tremendous landscape rears up, with icy peaks and vertiginous ravines, to remind you of an 18th century copperplate print of the Swiss Alps, pitched at the trembling brink where the picturesque and pastoral morphs into the Gothic and sensational, where Reason plays Russian roulette with God and Satan and that whole starry crew of unleashed dogs and singed and smoking wings and letting-go…

When we’ve finished here, do you fancy a coffee?


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

They told him about | the debt and the problem with sunspots, but | he just had his feelings, and they were | strong | feelings | at that, and they washed | all those people away

Hid tigers | under his | long | fluttering lashes

They explained about | hours and the | curriculum | Their voices sounded | so far off, a dry | susurrus | of bees on a | deserted | island

The truth was raising its immense post-industrial cities around her, but she liked the downy | hair on his upper | lip, a | silver | haze of freshness

Kisses bigger than | Kant, strawberries | stain | Descartes

Semiosis came for them and carried them off and yet | somehow | they were still here and | she liked the band, their sound was so | hesitant and tender

Fell out | of her skull, like a fledgling | out of a | nest [it took her | years to recover]

He watched them | propping up the | dangerous building with the | scaffolding and | buttresses || In their bodies whenever they wanted to, almost, they | could find rare flowers | with | powerful, tropical scents and they | could spend hours | picking off the | petals, one | by | one

And on the TV they were busy | measuring the distance to the | end of space, but | he just | yawned and | opened his eyes | wide, and | she knew the season was | changing, because | she saw | indolent tigers | moving through the forest again | It would soon | be the time | of the hunters

Running out of money, dying young, leaping into the mouth | of the volcano || I lie on my side on a | puce chaise longue in a | deserted chateau | draped with wedding-cake | cobwebs and | overlooking the | slow-flowing | river in the | sheltered | autumn valley below… … … … || I laid out all those | moments in a line | like sweets to | lure from the | woods | the beautiful | ogre… || And on the TV, some | politician | of whatever | persuasion | is laying out | a route map | a | road map | an | idea of | progress, but I | just like the sound of the word | ‘mercury’ | when you | say it || Plaster falling | off the walls | and the chandeliers | all | slumped and tangled || You have | more room in one | interesting dream than | they can conjure | from a thousand | visions | of | normality || And when you kiss me, where are they going to | put that | in their history? || Insurance and | security, they have their | plans to their | status | blueprints to what’s | real | build all | night long | and they | pile all their | precious | powers over | signs | into something | someone else | once told them || You know, I don’t | really | get it || Meanwhile, birds and squirrels eat all the sweets, and the | ogre doesn’t come, and you whisper into some stranger’s ear | ‘honey… honey… honey and mercury’…


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

Our room suddenly fills | with the corpses of stars | floating | We welcome them in | We are royal | A lightning | silence | spaces our thoughts | Take out | your silver | teardrop earrings | lay them aside | on the dresser | let me | kiss your lobes | pinprick | holes in your lobes | Tiny | portions of darkness | I will carry away | slip them into | a greater darkness | lift them out | slip them | back in | On their sides | our old stories | rot, we | are still young | we’ll leave them | by the trail | their carcases | hollowing | Some | still turn and | whinny | or moan, legs | mournfully kicking… There will be others | we are | just starting | Yet, I wonder | as we | walk on, and I | look back, are we being | too cavalier? | Maybe those were our | best stories? | and these | are the most beautiful stars?


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

Returning to old haunts | quarters of the city you haven’t visited in years, or is it only for months? – how, anyway, with you, they’ve changed || An ancient churchyard, with its pocket of lush garden, surrounded and walled in by office blocks and skyscrapers, kept back like a secret or held in reserve | like a kind of spiritual fire escape | it isn’t quite how you remembered it || The copious rain of this summer has slicked and beaded and lubed the plants with moisture, the stone is darker from the years before, even the shadows feel wet, and the gloom of the interior, sliced into a slender vertical slat through the partly open door, seems almost submarine, belonging to the stoven hold of a sunken galleon, or to a building from a drowned village on the eastern coast || Today, as the rain cocoons the violet skin of your umbrella, you recall the signorial heat of last August, how the sun filled this courtyard with its direct light and late afternoon shadows, and in a corner the grass pulsed to the dry serenade of an urban grasshopper (how did it get so far into the city?) || Like oil floating on water, your consciousness flows over the mumbled headstones, paths and encroaching vegetation, a smooth but (to you, at least!) a sometimes unsatisfactory co-habitation, and the sea of the streets and buildings | carries you / as you carry them | away… || On that occasion, as you ate a sandwich, sipped from a bottle of Evian, you looked through a book by Luis Cernuda || In the end, you don’t have much time left, and who knows if it isn’t better to live like this, stripped of possessions, perpetually ready for departure | You kept glancing up, sensing this place was the location of a hidden and recurring | nativity | but the nature and identity of the thing being born seemed to fall just beyond the limit of your conception || Perhaps you already knew that those moments would be the subject of a gently fraught nostalgia?

If you stand and observe a thing for any length of time, presently the rind of your assumptions surrounding it begins to fall away, like a fruit being peeled, and what lies revealed is an entity without context or purpose, self-enclosed and serene, offering a scent of alien sweetness


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

Rain brings a cooler air | Young ghosts come out | from under the trees | shyly | show me their watches and clocks | Time seems | so important to them | Some are | still shocked | and merely follow the others | Slowly, all grow absorbed | in the hands and faces | so much so, that when | I come to | tip-toe away, they hardly | notice…

After the rain, more rain, then even | hints of autumn | My body in your kiss | floats and lengthens | the floor | grows bare | it makes sense | and our shadows | are thistledowns | You dress, and leave | I glance at my watch | the calmed | furore of the sheets | the ceiling with its | map of cracks | my watch again | the drowsy flowers | outside | the line of trees | After the wedding, the guests disperse | Later, rain brings a cooler air


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

I can live here, there is sufficient space | under the floorboards | The hole | in the briars is large enough | to squeeze through | at night there will be slugs, rabbits | the trains will stop running, the rails cool and the lines go quiet | I can watch the dew form | reflect on the moon’s part in its sway of tides | I’m sure I can sleep | The old pan | I could fit in that | too | draw the lid above our heads, you will | stay with me | they won’t light the stove tonight | their attention is elsewhere | waiting the election of a president | their faces will be lit by screens | and the fluctuating light of screens will wash over them for hours | we can be hushed | crouched down | they won’t notice | I have little doubt | and if they look away | from the screens | and out of the windows | or through the door | to the porch | there will be moths | a song of crickets | and beyond that | the mass of green stippled | with the cones of pines, receding towards blur | the quick life, the old nests | and they may see their reflections in the glass, and wonder | but beyond their thoughts of the forest | there is the forest


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