children

Sahasrara

At 5am the attic door becomes a waterfall
of cloud-pallor and silver-grey and electricity
flooding me - impossible to think - air full of bells -
and ripples and vacuum and hysteria -

The children wander their unknown dreamworlds
their hands birdlike, warm and light and urgent
as all that brightening pushes its way in
and my skin tautens - I am a kiln - I am a cathedral -

I pray in myself, rats hunt in my cellar,
light presses into me from on high -
with closed eyes I am an infinite space
of many bodies, a mind of mirrors and glass.

My eyes sting, I have to sleep -
but it's worth it to be renewed
at the altar of early morning
and the funeral of the long night.

Signs Of Life

In the crevices of the cityscape, high up on forgotten, unwitnessed rooftops, or deep underground in eternally-lit car parks and basements - tiny and green and clinging desperately, there are grasses and ferns, shrubs with browned leaves and loose roots - darkened with car-filth and stunted from shallow beds - fed on poor chlorophylls and glass-reflected sunlight - worming through gaps in the paving mosaics and the storm drain labyrinths, the roadworks fissures - or trapped in dry pots on balconies, island universes unpollinated, glass bubbles hurtling silently towards dying stars - new leaves and shoots for a cold spring - hurricanes held fast behind double glazing -



God help us, but there are signs - I wither in the wrong arms and the wrong gaze, my love - like the patches of green we see in the dead cities, like the tenuous flowers in your gutters, I am vulnerable - I feel myself change in response to sunlight, anger, coffee, sadness -  I miss my family, I miss solitude - I cannot turn the page of my book and I cannot switch off the television - children frighten me because they are still savagely free - and I don't know if they're better that way or better like me.

There are no bees for the blooms and no nests in the tall trees and the water is lumpy and sick with plastic and pollution - and yet there are swans patrolling the canal docks, there are willos leaning away from the tarmac and the concrete, leaf-shadows still move on the water's surface too. There are house cats curled up fat and sleepy in sunny patches on new hardwood tables in the steel penthouses and there are mosses and ivies creeping across the stonework of neglected warehouses and the walls of car parks, old stairwells, dull alleyways -

Where we lie awake at night in fear of the inhuman demands of the next day - instead of going insane we go asleep and are filled with new patience every morning. Our children run down corridors uncaring that the light at the end is flickering - for them the sun is the only sun and now is the only time and they have no memory of our failures - life crowds their minds and heats their blood and drives the words out of their singing mouths with their birthright savagery. This purity, this vulnerability, this renewal.

There are signs of life - music in the city squares and parties in the rental honeycombs - children free-running in the urban gardens and somersaulting off the statues - new expressions and new addictions and new perceptions in eyes that didn't exist only a few years ago. New eyes - can there be a greater miracle than new eyes? Where did that mind come from to see the light entering those eyes, what radiates, what binds? Lord, what soul is this that knows you? How did a new being come to exist, how is it that this world can be witnessed? Glory, glory, glory - or something like that. Words to do with dumbfoundedness. With crying for all those dear ones that we have left behind in time and will never see again, all those new leaves and secret green and glowing things, all those new eyes opening on an always new world.

Werewolf Poetry

I was in my old school    it was mixed    there was a different feeling to other dreams of being back at school        I wasn't stressed running from class to class    it was more like I was a visiting ex-pupil on a celebration day     then we gathered in the main hall, which was huge and round like a great lecture theatre        they started to play a piece of music    the words were from one of my poems    I was annoyed about this    my mother had sprung this surprise on me        I was uncomfortable with the attention because I didn't like the tendencies it needled in me    love of attention and need for approval

***

I was coming down a snowy and steep mountain slope, my travelling companion a girl. All around us were amazing patterns of ice and rock. I fell and slid down to the bottom in a mini-avalanche that buried me, but I was OK. It was a bad line to take down the mountain, the girl admitted. Then we found ourselves on the edge of a tall warehouse building. I was scared to approach the edge because I thought I'd slip on the icy surface.

My companion went ahead of my to a door in the side of the building, while I stared at the street below. When I followed her, she was gone, and the warehouse was dark and silent and full of closed doors and long corridors.

I chose one way and ran towards a door at the very end of a long straight corridor. I felt there was something behind me. When I reached the door I found it locked, and when I turned around I saw a small figure behind me, hunched over a light. I ran back that way, loping like a wolf, struggling with my own fear and trying to make myself appear powerful and dangerous. As I ran past I saw that it wasn't one small figure but several - children, all huddled together around the light, terrified of me. I ran on, realizing that a werewolf had been preying on these children at night, and that was who they thought I was. I wanted to explain that that wasn't me and that I wouldn't hurt them, but I didn't. I ran on and found my exit.

***

A storm was coming to my grandmother's house. The cats' things in the garden would blow away and we were anchoring them with stones. The cats themselves were confused and scared.

***

I was in a second-hand shop with Paul, wandering around. It was run by a Japanese lady and therefore had a lot of Oriental things and a lot of kitsch Western stuff. Weirdly, there were also a lot of things I remembered owning, such as mugs and comics and silly ornaments. I was browsing these old things of mine wondering if I should buy them because they gave me a nostalgic feeling. Then I thought "I gave all these things away, so why would I want them back?" They all belonged to Liadain and I, and we gave them away one time when we moved house. I found it very funny that this little shop contained so much of my and Liadain's life together and were redistributing it to strangers.

I sat down in the shop where a group of people were performing an odd birthday ceremony for one of their number. They were lighting candles and blowing them out with an exhalation of cigarette smoke. At one point they decided to start over because something in the ritual hadn't been quite right. For some reason I thought that the ritual had involved taking pills at the start, because I said "You can't chemically reconstitute these, you know. You can't turn back the clock and begin again - the drugs are already having their effect." The guy who had decided to begin the ritual again turned to me and his attitude said that I really didn't understand something. He told me a few things, most of which I've forgotten, but the most important thing was "Don't ignore things that exist." I asked "Like what?" and he answered "Well, like love." I didn't know what he was referring to or what I was missing, but I woke up feeling like I've been allowing something to slip by me, or that I've been ignoring something real in order to live my own life or to choose what direction I should go in. I've been wondering if I turned my back on love, or on my family again, by isolating myself. There are so many demands for love and companionship. I'm not just an empty means for the needs of other people to be fulfilled. I am a being unto myself. But what am I and what guides me? What am I missing?

Ragged Umbrellas

 

the sun is a dark smudge in the sky
for the ghost women of the birthday
pale fat arms cradling plates of apple pie
trailing smoke from a burnt out day

the clouds bleed quietly down for hours
and they dance under ragged umbrellas
singing about how they love to be powerless
the houses of ritual have made them careless

and sometimes the light shows their true faces
behind the opera masks - there are no words
for their expressions - there is no place
for comfort or for grace, the songs they heard

as children, when afternoons on dirty strands
became evenings drifting out to sea in dreams
asleep in the back seats of cars, hands
twitching in the rhythm of piano lessons, hymns

washing in from memory shores like wrecked ships
as sadness and failure like cold voids
suck the clouds and the sun down into their lips,
their skin, their hair; they frown, they get annoyed

by children who will not obey, pets who want to die,
dolls who will not stand upright, friends and lovers
self-obsessed and desperate, who cannot cry,
cannot speak the truth, cannot stay together -

the ghost women drift through parties and wakes
as the songs and the rain tell them in whispers
that they were once young, that the hand that shakes
is a punishment, the skin that is wrinkled and crisped

is a judgement on their innocence, and they watch
the children learn about loss, they watch the graves
open and swallow and close and wait, they watch
the works of the Lord, noting who he damns and saves,

what his plan might be, why he does not love them -
they gather between lifetimes where the water shines
dancing on the endless beach under ragged umbrellas
pale arms linked, lonely only in their minds

little

today im little
brittle bones under the sky
silent and lost on the inside

i feel faint
staring at the wet chops
in the fluorescent meat shop

the colours of the fruit
psychotic flowers
in the green grocers

i only want to sit down
lunch by the water
floating in the sun

just to hold her hand
little fingers, little sounds
in the park, children all around

little guns
for little killers
relentless and unashamed

laughing in the daylight
look mummy, look daddy
im mad, im running

water is my enemy
voices are my afterlife
love is my innocence

so little
under an insane sky, just
to hold her hand for goodbye

Emperor Norton

Steamcurls from canal surface
writhing in ghost arms around his head -
praying on his knees in the road
before any blood was shed, by blades
of glass electric, silence
holding the striking hand

as before sunrise
a fragile paleness
for building cities
viscera of bulls

scattered into the black bay
sinking into unreflecting water -
trees cold to the touch
leaning and darkening as if for a burial -
deep in the wood,
lucid dreams of a titanic return
only the innocent left unburned

Incarnated once in a hotter land,
nailed into history: the traffic
backs up for miles behind the praying emperor
- haloed in emptiness -
gulls will not fly over the chaos maker
nor clouds form in his sky.

Divine fingers uncurl the roads, spines
shudder under mountain vertebrae,
lakes spill as their eyelid beds grind open
a madness
of hard-dreaming hobo bones
unbroken, the chill of centuries -

Our shadow caster -
sunburned, longing for sleepy rain -
churns blood through river-smooth stone
the ebon pool, angel hands
to encompass stars
flung a hundred leagues
ribcage lightning conductor, judgement
of the heart and nerves -
today only

the stillborn children hug on the riverbed
alone in the morning of the sea

Travelling Home

Lord, when the night falls,
leave me enough light to see
the stars in the water.

When you line the roads
with roaring shadows,
let the house glow in the distance.

Let the sky shine blue for hours
at the fringe of the hills
as the children return from the fields.

When the train slides softly
past endless farmhouses,
ghostly in frost and fog,

let there be a golden wreath
on every bare branch
as your red sun rises.
 

The Knife Dance

I, you, we
high on young energy
prance and piroutte the patterns of the Knife Dance.
Our feet are slithering in shit
and blood cakes our hands.

The sun drops behind the hills
and the air chills in our bowl of living.
We enter each night stamping and shrieking
Great Father, Great Mother:
the words of spells
that were taught without meaning.

Friends, lovers, strangers -
we cut each other to pieces
as our circles converge.

what was promised was given
and it is the dance
and the price is the dance