Archives for posts with tag: When the volts flowed

To snazzy jazzy breakbeats, liquid and cordial
estrange ourselves from heavyweights
dumb boxers of the massive state
we’ll reinstate a cursive groove
in bare feet and light waves
summer shimmer off the sea a sparkling and whispering
sulphur and so full, so far a chemical fire
my skull full of Azul and Azura
slimmer in the heat skin tanned and face fanned
swimming in the morning like a diver to a pool
dancing lightweight butterfly and beesting
slumming in the villa
ash blonde sand and skyblown geraniums on window sills
pleasure will out and I’ll chill out
Ibiza and seaswell, seashells, well I’ll be there
in shuffling espadrilles boardshorts and T shirt
floating loose from old routines in Airliner or late-night Space
Zero G and erogeny with energy down on our knees
and back to front and back to back fronting up and getting laid
back low in coffins of ecstasy up in the VIP
lounge away and slip away on creaking boats with ripped sails
castaways on sofa islands laughing at the deals and dials
pass through the gates of all we’ve known
and wander through the morning’s maze
to snazzy jazzy breakbeats, liquid and cordial
estrange ourselves from heavyweights
dumb boxers of the massive state
we’ll reinstate a cursive groove
in bare feet and light waves…

Where do you go
when there is no love for you anymore?
When love is over, ended,
and the hope of love is finished?
Where do you go
when you are not wanted?

Where do you go
when your body is not enough for you?
When the tears and the skin have run out,
and the mirrors no longer answer
the questions you put to them?
Where do you go
when there is no sleep in your flesh,
when your own thoughts reject you,
and you are not wanted?

Where do you go
when the will to move
begins to fail,
and the will to remain
is broken?
Where do you go
when the days come in like waves,
and the nights drive on like waves,
and you must either stay or leave:
where do you go
where do you turn
when there is nothing inside you
and destinations don’t need you,
and you are not wanted?

Mist and murmurs on the streets, and my memory mist
and in the mist. We had been dancing,
and when you pulled off your dress
and lay down I kissed your back and
tasted the salt on the nape of your neck and between
your shoulders and your breasts;
and we put on some music, and later it was autumn.

We have calmed down but in those first days
you flooded me and there was dazzle and ripple
whenever I moved and a mélange of reflections you
moved with me, or seemed to, and the seeming,
then, seemed everything; my bare feet, slow,
the sheets were like water and the floor
of my thoughts was like water too,
I rushed up into you
as a drowned field
rises into a downpour sky.

That went on for weeks — that stunning inundation
of lovers. I found the image after heavy rainfall,
and saw us in it, as I still do, standing
at the edge kissing, the valley half drowned,
fish swimming through the branches of submersed willows:
and I thought then, and felt it,
there was something of a frail apocalypse to this form of love,
how it swept away an entire world of us,
swallowed it or merely revealed it empty,
replaced it with this flooded surface of a meadow
something so still when our glance met and so
flowing when our bodies met
along that burnished seam where mirroring
the waters gave up wheeling gulls,
the gulls above our heads screaming
and the gulls beneath our feet
scattering silently into a silent sky…

Mist and murmurs on the streets, and the streets of murmurs
and of mist… In a circle of light beneath an anglepoise
a book lies open — is that the mermaid of Seferis? —
within a screen print. This is framed upon a wall
freshly painted eau-de-nil. It’s calm in that composed world,
flattened to strong yet subtle colours,
and with bold outlines possesses
the air of the classical. The music of allusion plays,
we switch off the light on that. Unzipped, in white,
she lifts the silk wings of her dress:
among fir trees, in a forest pool,
a heron radiates moonlight zeroes,
or lucid haloes of ripples, undulating the surface —
and our whole lit interior is far away
from the frozen rutted track as dusk comes on
shading the golden onion dome
of a provincial, whitewashed church in the Ukraine,
tractors and silage and plastic sacks
and a choking, coughing sound
as temperatures drop and the daylight
fades into the falling snow
and a car keeps failing to start.

We put on KRS-One, Black Cop and then
The Bridge is Over. In the mirror we had bought,
the one with the elaborate antique frame of cracking gilt
which, for some reason, I had convinced myself
was Venetian, you slipped off towards the bathroom
to piss the wine out while I
tethered my nerves to a cigarette, felt chilled,
and waved away the smoke with a languid hand.

And I wondered whether it was like this: as if
one of Odysseus’ discontented oarsmen had stopped rowing,
unplugged the wax from his ears,
and looked over to the bony atol and the silent figures there —
limbs and mouths moving —
but still heard nothing at all, and saw only
the captain, lashed to the mast, struggling in ecstacy,
staring at the island where the Sirens were singing.

Where do you go
when there is no place for you anymore?
When the rituals don’t fit you
and your friends drift away,
fall away, die away,
one by one
and you must continue
alone?
When the stores are all closed
and the streets are paved with stones,
and you have no one?
Where do you go
when there is nowhere left to go
and you are not wanted?

Later it was autumn. We opened another bottle of wine,
watched Nosferatu. I thought how I loved you.
How you make of me a sea journey.
How one of your kisses is a kind of hit —
so much so that once it worried me.
How I cannot fix a word of stars into the night sky
without referring to you, even though the light
in the end feels cool and impersonal —
which is strange, because with you
I feel lust and joy and a kind of feral bliss
which shakes me to my animal
and makes me cry,
and when I am not with you
I feel an anguish that is so unbearable
I cease and let another take up the weight —
someone I can never quite define,
someone who is either old and a good liar,
or utterly young, and simply a lie.

It was summer, and we lay in bed late at night.
The windows were open. I thought you were sleeping.
There was a sound from the street — the glassy rattle
and glint of a milk float and the draw on power.
I dozed off. I woke, put on my robe,
sat down, lit a cigarette, watched the smoke
form a spindly, erratic tower.
My bare foot was chopped off in reflection,
cropped in a corner of the mirror.
Perhaps I dozed again. I woke by the open window,
and I thought I heard the sound of someone passing.

acknowledgement | A version of Wanted first appeared in Masthead, issue 8. My thanks to the editor for supporting my work.

They speak of the ghost in the machine.
But I don’t see it like that.

I see you moving and breathing —
I don’t see any machinery at all.

They say, Many years have passed since you wrote those words.
But I don’t write them like that.
My words aren’t monuments, or moments, or stars.
My words are words: they’re not integers.

And the river may enter here, or here —
you may see it like that.
And the river may lead away through August willows —
you may let it go at that —
hold it, let it go —
you may be found like that.

They speak of mortality, and of a cold universe.
But I don’t feel it like that.

Sometimes, I can hear the voice of the world, calling.

And one evening, when the river joins two seasons together
in one fluid weld,
I’ll hear the voice of a child
crying from far away, over the common.

You have made out of the soft torn flesh of strawberries
a keel in the shape of a cry.
Each evening now, when I lay my head to your naked belly,
I can hear the voice of the world.

Somewhere, the willows bend like a bow,
firing the river green.

They speak of the ghost in the machine.
But I don’t see it like that.

They speak of the pupil dilating in the iris.
But I don’t see it like that.
I see a few strands of Cornish wheat,
and an airspace sky, with a few whisps of cirrus
and endlessness, the colour of your eyes.

They say, These words were forgotten many years ago.
But I don’t see it like that.
My words aren’t memories. The eyes of my words
don’t close — perhaps you’ll see it like that.
I don’t know: perhaps you’ll see it like that.

Words are the most patient things on earth.
And words are the hardest substance in the universe.
They will outlive themselves, fall, vanish, be lost,
and still, one day,
someone will happen upon them,
and hear again the beat of a living voice,
as strong and regular as a human heart,
or as the soft dipping of fast rowers’ oars.

You’re so strong when you’re naked,
you can lay the world aside with a smile
and your sleep is as serene as the quiet night,
and as wide, as copious, as unashamed.

They speak of the gods, the stars and the host.
But I don’t see it like that.
I see you sleeping, cool and marine,
meeting the night somewhere, far beyond me.

I don’t see it.

They speak of the gods, the stars and the host.
But I don’t see it like that.
They speak of the ghost in the machine.
But I don’t see you like that.

And when you cry, I see nothing mechanical at all —
or maybe only
a tiny, fragile machine
lost in a ghost.

Some evenings, when the moon pulls,
I can hear the world call.
I lay my head to your breast:
I hear a child’s voice, across the common, in the mist.

And the willows bend like a bow,
firing the river green.

I see you like that.

As I wrote that day, it began to snow.
Like a Victorian journal entry, perhaps a promising scientist
in his neat hand: but Andromeda
Or perhaps, Aurora’s condition troubles me

I guess she has lashings of curls, Andromeda Parry.
Her lips are lusciously full, but her pallor is more
than simply fashionable. She is soon to be married,
but dreams in carnal, slaughterhouse reds
of torn bridal gowns and of ravishing creatures
with the forms of men but the teeth of beasts
and with eyes haunted by a long, inhuman hunger…
She is scared of these dreams inside her,
and her case begins to disturb
our earnest and baffled young man…

I suppose there’s a kind of comicbook lucidity
to most notions of sensation or of human sentience.
The WHAM of self, the KERPOW of presence
and absence. It’s still snowing, even now, as I write:
but now, it has stopped.

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