Archives for posts with tag: variant 1

When she talks to the cherry tree, it belongs to her just a little more

And when she puts her ear to the cherry tree’s trunk, she swears she can hear the beating of a tiny heart

There is too much of the calm summer day, she lies on her back on the grass and throws little questions up at the sky | When they fall back to earth, she has gone, and the mystery around them deepens || Then the evening star | is unendurably beautiful

All things have set out on an adventure | Some of the planes | don’t return

Vortex and YouTube, building a pyramid | with sugarcubes | why do I endure | the indifference of your beauty? | this waiting around | examining | all the fashions of your ignorance?

All these days of ‘but’ and ‘perhaps’ and ‘maybe’?

By praying the cherry tree tells her in her sleep you create a god

And truly, none of the planes return, their base | is no longer there | it set out, too, for the next pattern of its incarnation | a cinema | rice paddies | a place herons stalk

The young man in the café with his love and his time | doesn’t even know the cherry blossoms are the roads | he will take out of here | he only sees | the sky in its most insatiable mood of blue | most fatal | most acute | and too entire

Why can’t I bow my spirit to the spirit of the matsuri, run and chase the procession? | clap, and stamp, and dance | and sing?

Why do I want to drag down that sky | and give it even a moment’s rest in pointless words?

You won’t look at me anymore | and erase me with each breath, but I | stupidly faithful | each night | give you a handful of gods | for you | to toss casually away | onto your heap of useless things

And after all the things have set out on their adventure | why am I so stubborn | refusing the careless matsuri inside me | and loving you | my style of treachery?


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


We know only what the music knows | I want to | say | But that kind of saying is over | for the time being | Maybe it will be back one day? | And the winter isn’t perpetual | the ruins are ruins for a while, for sure | but then soon are re-developed | or covered by forest and then | re-developed | there’s business to be done here | salt and cashmere to be traded | lambs | derivatives | Ruins are in the structure | the gamble of stand and fall | part of the music’s charm | as fatigue belongs to the metal | the plane’s wings preparing | to fold | the plane | to sleep in a bright | re-direction of atoms | a new swirl | a river’s re-flow | This, we tell ourselves, we know | or we used to tell ourselves | We used to say: We only know what the music knows | and we would say that | while listening to music, or dancing | very slowly to music | in a half-lit room | when the destination of our journey | was like a bud | opening on a branch | And in our love | there was business done | lambs traded | cashews, salt | and slaves and guns | it was | how the edge | belonged to the core | As we stopped dancing | we tried to remember | how the music had been | but, well, we’re flawed | and we couldn’t get it exactly | and besides, the ruins were already | walking in | asking us to go | We had no choice | And if the silence came then, would we know only | what the silence knows?


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

The air is eating the soft fruit of my lungs | and the stock market is falling

Slowly all the cities are connecting up by means of infinitesimal threads of quicksilver, and | I am in a mood

Autumn rests against my skin | the fine hairs on my arm rise a little against the cooler air || It will be vellum

She bites her lover and he spills tiny seeds | Small frills of his flesh tighten and loosen, he will run to the temple, where there are pictures of beautiful trees

Stars are forming all over the surface of her skin and her darkness is expanding, the small points of luminosity | drifting further and further apart

The books ache not to be books, and the words | chafe on their pages || they feel autumn coming, too | the damp, the fogs, the mildew

The long winter night of her kiss frightens him | the beautiful trees are letting fall | oranges | persimmons | pomegranates | lemons

Exquisite as a Persian miniature | his sorrow | is not really enough to make up grit sufficient for even | a single pearl

She doesn’t love him | although they are called “lovers” | There will be no more summers | Only the empty bourgeois walks in walloping galoshes across wet fields and woods where purpose runs out and will fails and his body grows as frail and as pointless as a child’s balloon | slipped from moist little fingers | given to the air’s indifference | blown and floating

When she cries, the tears are tiny wriggling caterpillars | They glisten and glitter | She never sees them take wing, and perhaps they never do?

The chemistry of grief is well known and the famous “next words” are written and read | and another of her kisses fills him with snow and delayed trains and she can’t leave her phone alone, in it is stored | all the devices of his irrelevance

She dines on her own heart, it no longer satisfies her | Why are happy people so contemptible?

They will never hear the clink of goat-bells again, the high pass in the dust and the rapture | They will never establish the basis of their relations | with other people

The crowd yearns for celebrity | The wedding dresses of her cells | unwind their long trains and the silk snaps and whistles | Always, the groom is changing!

Entire cities fall prey to storms of amnesia | When we find them again, they are ruins, their citizens | mummified in ash, their bus passes | no longer valid and their homes | hold no interest at all for anyone, surely?

The jewelled cannibal of her wristwatch nibbles away at her, the piranhas of instants school and glimmer | And light pours down through the trees scented with milk and nostalgia, weighted with the memories of November evenings when the light itself | has gone

I won’t come to this place again | I think | It is hateful and | the silence that follows it is always so very, very long…


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

The slow storm of time has blown down the pyramids and the Empire | State Building | we are looking at the cheval glass as it is manoeuvred up the stairs | a palm of such intense green | is sliding horizontally into the sky | a prisoner | and a token of nature | tremulously rooted to the dark, star-shot waters | of a distant oasis | and the Babylonians have completed their ratios | and the dressmakers of the Ancien Régime have mislaid their needles | tremendous wars have been fought and troops have died | in uniforms of scarlet, of grey, of cream and khaki | and meaning has been erected and subverted, chased, worshipped and despised | and so here we are | by the wallpaper of duck-egg blue | printed with white designs | of baby’s-breath | doing what we do | being what we are | and the rest | for us | is nothing | even the Trojans

Put your fist in my mouth | just | shut me up | Hang me from cords you bought online | from a marine outfitters | and cut me with razor blades | not too much but | cut me a little more | if you like | we have the time | and I have ample reserves | of grief and confusion | and of course | blood | and if I pass out, then, well… | So this is the good life | Like elegant mules, carrying their supplies in designer bags, five | bags to a hand | and in their designer clothes and sunglasses | the shoppers emerge from famous emporia | the escalators will take them up | or down | as they require | this might be pleasure | it has no moral | You put | my head in your hand | and begin to squeeze | and we talk in between sessions | in between rooms | in between sleeps | and we muse | on our fates | although the confusion is, perhaps, inevitable, have I come to like | the grief? | Squeeze and squeeze and squeeze | and crush down the matter | to a point of singularity | the state where others take the stage | and perform their plays | and indeed | build their own theatres | Our friendship has become | entangled | the puppets with intertwined strings | only the sunflower boy, allegedly | can save us | personally | I doubt it | when every remark we make resembles | one of those insects | we inadvertently kill | when we feel | a light contact | on our skin | which unsettles us | Where geology and climate conspire | from the desert an eye | of fertility | figs fall | and at night | a young girl’s dream | is nested inside | the dream of Achilles — the creak of the ropes as the ship | sails over the water | and every so often | as the bow smacks a wave | a momentary coolness | against the refreshing flesh | of atomised foam


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

The buildings do not need us, we wish them | back into position — his jaw so strong, isn’t it to do | with calcium and oestrogen? | Inflate the house from a scent of blueprints | they call them “factors” | he leans against a column, lights a cigarette, contrary | to the forceful advice | of the Surgeon General | thinks he is in the realm | of mid-70s Bowie | around Young Americans, he | is deluded but it carries him | among the hydrangeas and the early evening moths | September could also be beautiful, still | is that a myth? | Uncaring will take you | a long way | just as caring may | perhaps further? | He is young | juvenile in the sense | not merely that he is not old | but buoyed upon his hope and on what | he calls despair | he’s ready for knowing, he is that | innocent | Across the grid, the buildings bloom like flowers | rising into their quiet, impersonal space | and the maps flow and recede, flow and recede | The tourists ebb | down the gravel drives, past statues | and when Ulysses was 18, he sailed in ships | not only later | we tend | to forget that | For a while, the journey has no destination | at all | I wonder, assuming my burden as usual, why should I care? | Then the sea begins to assert | no land | and remembers | calling it Ithaca


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

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)

Falling asleep against the mountain, not really the mountain, but really | asleep

In the train’s mouth | days and days, the delicate | bones of flowers

There you might find a Persian charmer | will they | take your mind off the boy, the boy, the boy?

Do you want your mind taking off the boy?

The … boy | The | boy?

A lute slung over his shoulder, kicks pebbles across the track | walks fast, hands in the pockets of his robe | six wizards in a bag and a wiry dog adoring him | a hustler and a young sage | licks up the spilt fuel from the petrol truck, not really | a mountain

Waking up in a stranger’s bed | With your mind in a muddle and a muddle in your | mind | And Again? in your thoughts | in the middle of the muddle | More stolen flowers, more weeks feeding a ravenous road, but mostly | the moments, such as | early morning on the way to work, glancing up | to see crows and the moon, autumn | revving down its faded engine, really | asleep

Asleep if your dream is not to be here

Asleep if your days are sold for lies

Asleep if you keep silent when she’s near you and the train’s mouth | swallows August whole, crunches | bones of | diaries, dress-down, Microsoft Office…

So, anyway, the sorcerer goes back into the desert | he has no fear of this barren land | Whips tops, more youthful than his powers | laughs to see his dog | digging up human remains | in a valley the armies | contested, then | the valley stayed, littered with munitions, while the armies | left, empty space and olive trees | rest peacefully against the flank | of the snow-hatted mountain | my eyes | are porous and the boy | issues from them with every | September glance

In robes of coral pink and golden bronze, hat of vital turquoise | wide-sleeved coat of dark pine green | the young magician leaves a humble inn | strides off into the Persian daylight | In irrelevant palaces | of white marble | peacocks rattle their feathers and utter | shrill, irrelevant screams | Scribes | compose allegories and fairy tales | students doze upon their texts, and the texts | doze upon the centuries | the centuries | just doze and the professors | the wise elders of the tribe | feed their tame theories grains of millet or maize, and at dusk, the cages | flash back the low sun’s light, but not | really | asleep

There you might find | “happiness at last” | put down the mountains | you’ve carried all this time | perhaps | even forget the boy?

Spells for mournful doe-eyed virgins | for youths with unconvincing facial | hair | for the withered | twisted | stiffened | old | people | spells | for indigestion and grief | spells | for moving invisibly, for taking on | the forms of beasts, spells | to recover lost memories, or | to conjure | a precipice over which you may | throw those things you wish to forget, and then | wake!

There you might find | a floating mountain | a ride on the back of a flat-bed truck | with goats and chickens | and the plain | so bashed about by void and heat and ice | and in the distance | the end of the plain and the end | of the boy?

The boy?

She’s beautiful, why not | celebrate this fact? | Four months pregnant and the weight of life | growing inside her, Vallejo’s “distance of two hearts” | to be travelled from now on, and I | am so enamoured with her | should I steal her away | from these days I long ago | sold for lies? / such are the | quandaries of amour | — ah, l’amour!…

Whistles for his dog, the Iranian night | touches the English night, the | American and Russian night, the | Nicaraguan night

The armies of each faction | are given to the night and surrender to sleep, to sleep and dreams and the boy | (the boy?) | comes to them, man and woman, and in the irrelevant | temples, the prayer books are stacked and doze | upon the backs of angels, the angels | doze, just doze, the priest’s | small kettle comes to the boil and a neutral steam | rises in a magician’s fume…

There you might find | brilliant violet flowers against the | creamy dust | of the valleys, and in a crack in your train’s | journey | join together two | threads of sense, then | feel them part…

There you might | strip off your armour | lie down in a stranger’s bed | and be a stranger, too

Your body releases its prisoners | and the priest’s kettle | boils dry

There you might find a Persian charmer


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, September 2013)

A train runs through them | One walking east | one west | Not all the power is there for their taking | The streetlights are cool and impersonal | Distilled by the perfections of loneliness | they know the city in their own way | Sharing the space between them | Weighing the weightless things | old people sitting under the cherry trees | in spring | gazing at blossom

Divergent things | a girl | brushing against a boy on a train | In the column of solitude | each inhabits | diverse states | momentarily unified | On her banner | she carries September skies | silhouettes of scaffolding | on construction sites | after work has ended | Immaculate and | intimate | she carries him, too | In their tenderness | it is the octagenerians | are young | the blossoms of one day | ancient || Years later | as the streetlights click on | in the autumn evening | the calmness of this world | lies | all around us | unapproachable yet | secure | confided | yet unknown | resting, scattered | in the arms | of so many new strangers


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


Parts limping around | looking for a whole | Wholes wandering off into the desert | dazed | disorientated | leaving glittering trails of parts

The sad eyes of machines looking at you | their guts dripping out in wheels and cogs

The poor quarters

Infinite mechanisms | of opulent complexity and tremulous delicacy | their only flaw | that they are not completed by a glance and | nothing and no one is in the slightest bit interested in them

Lost at the fragile, attenuated end of one of the limbs of just such a mechanism | a planet drifts and | on the surface of that planet | a shy building has emerged from the | undergrowth of an inane megalopolis | and trembles in the early morning sunlight

Inside the building there is a room | full of the trivial wrack of ephemeral things | the by-passers’ paradise of glimpses | ashtrays | stereo | milk carton | books of 19th century French poetry | translated | into Japanese

The forgotten, the abandoned, the expendable | who skip school and | run drugs and | join bad bands | and | generally sift the landfill rubbish of a pointless society back and forth | forth and back | and back…

They have their part to play in a losers’ economy | Crowd parts | Fourth assassins

Translucent robots made of flowers and the heart-breaking moments of symphonies or films where the heroes discover | the takings didn’t cover the expenses | generate further strings of DNA and the miraculous slow-motion photography of bumble bees landing on the pollen-smeared stamens of a lily | wrestling with them like mountaineers | with heavy velvet knapsacks | on a beautiful mountainside | trundle off into the void | and even as the darkness enfolds them | believe their memoirs will be published and the truth of their love affair in 1984 | will receive the correct quotient of attention | and they will be vindicated | and that one, unequalled kiss | will reach the world in its proper state | a kind of apex in nature…

Haiku with damaged wings | insufficient syllables | creep along

Ponderous sonnets snap them up and crush them in their mechanical gullets

Novels with fake endings | Readers with no love | Vain, shallow people who | in a sharp and bitter twist | turn out to be me

The fzzsst! and buzzsst! of the most beautiful of the robots | her mind a trail of subtle planets | of grief and love and | moments of | impossibly idiosyncratic observation | She drips kisses and talks about the future as if | we are all going there together | or as if | some of us | at least | might somehow reach it

My oily cyborg shell | clunks along | the airless surface of a minor moon | My job is to ignore the cries of the helpless as they die | A tedious occupation, but | the hours are good and it | pays well

As the grinding machinery is a sonata | for piano | we drown out our own noise | by clicking on the next page and | preparing what we intend to say | about the scale of the silence | we will leave behind us, and imagine | the kind of silence | that is really peace


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

New, for you, from the superstyle range ||

Sometimes, you become aware of it. In moments of weariness or rest, when travelling, perhaps, in unfamiliar surroundings, in a state of inanition. You have been you for so long, lived out the shape of the life you possess so consistently, and have fitted that shape so perfectly, it comes to you with something of a jolt to detect, inside you, the shadow of another living presence.

The motel room is bland, an identikit structure. Lamp, dresser, bed. In the bathroom, the mirror, light cord, complimentary soap, toothbrush holder. Sheets and blankets, with their antiseptic odour, washed clean of previous bodies. Pastel, restful colours, taupe, duck-egg blue, cream.

The neutrality of the room, its impersonality, possesses the discreet artificiality of a stage set. Night after night, this stage has seen the appearance of different actors. Day after day, the old actors leave, new actors appear. The room itself remains pretty much the same, the scenery only very gently deteriorating over time – a chip here, a small stain there, the onset of whisper, wheeze and bleed of a faulty washer, a gradual patina of pale green scale on the enamel. For each new actor, though, the room is simply as it is, simultaneously both new and old, familiar and unfamiliar – a motel room, in a cabin, part of a chain. Form follows function. Vacancy follows occupation.

Why, on this day rather than another, you fall slightly out of the normal shape of your life, you don’t know. Perhaps it is the character of the motel room itself, which fills you with an unusual feeling of melancholy, the slanted sorrow of all creatures who are aware they are to die and to be replaced, superseded, forgotten. You are on a production line, or perhaps, rather, on a series of production lines. In the motel room, certain parts are added, you are modified in a particular way, and then you move on, to the next stage, while right behind you, another human unit is checking in, preparing to take your place. The motel demonstrates the sequentiality inherent to life, the sense of items marching in series. Perhaps it is this, that has a deflationary effect on your sense of your own significance, leaving you exasperated, querulous, unsettled? Yes, perhaps – but there is more to it than that…

Who is that, living inside you? You test the inner boundaries of your self. There is the face, dimly reflected in the tv set, the features that belong to you. These are your hands. Your eyes move across the text, look at the bed, the picture of deer on the wall. Involved in this, there are names, pin numbers, relationships, addresses, gender, nationality, and other, more amorphous things – hopes, ambitions, a trail of memories reaching back across the days, receding into the darkness like a path of delicate phosphorus stretching away across moonlit seawaves. This is you, this is your self. Perhaps, as you will ruefully concede, it is not quite the structure of your athletic youth, the physically confident creature, who once possessed the psychic architecture of a sleek, singular building, but is rather more a collection of rudimentary shacks, like a cardboard city under a flyover, prone to decay and clearance; nevertheless, it is all still definitely you, all you have gathered over time, and collected under the umbrella of your name.

Yes, but what is that other presence inside you? It isn’t human, or not in the sense that the rest of you is human. It fails to emit the intimacy of your self. It isn’t part of that intractably wrought biography, isn’t stained with the unique dye of your personality. You couldn’t say that you ‘possess’ it. And yet, at the same time, it has found, in you, a specific and solitary method of existence.

You’re creeped out. For these few moments when your skin doesn’t quite feel as if it is your own skin anymore, you have the hazy notion of yourself as a dreamy host, which has gone through life innocent of the fact that, all the time, dwelling within you, travelling along with you, there is an immense, torpid parasite. It is part of your self, but your self is not part of it. Indeed, your self is not part of anything. The surfaces you touch, the sensations you feel, the memories you store, the people to whom you are drawn, the ones you love, the ones you pursue… they go into the parasite, and the parasite doesn’t conserve them at all. It has no sense of individuals, no charge of care for you, or for anyone, or for anything. It is simply life.

A bleak, uneasy thrill. At this moment, you realise, you feel more alive than you’ve ever felt before, but simultaneously closer to complete annihilation. You, your self, the thing that you’ve assumed has centred everything, organised it, filtered it, is revealed as a tiny, fragile, jewel-like thing, a butterfly riding on the back of an elephant. It is the neutral space, the anonymous components of moments, these endure – the rest is a mirage (albeit a mirage you fought so hard to build and preserve), a flare of silver mist across a mirror, water in the instant it is being chucked out of a pail, the scratch of a hard-bristled broom over a concrete pathway, the passive operation of algorithms in a computer programme operating the lights in an empty building.

Needless to say, you can’t quite grasp the significance of this parasite, its scale, the true nature of its relation to your self, nor can you hold on to the vision once it’s occurred. The parasite slips away, into the dark voids of your body – which, after all, belong to the parasite, and not you – and vanishes.


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