Ghost Ship

her mind is disintegrating
blood leaking between memories
every day melting into one breakfast
every evening into one cup of sugary tea
there was a father, a husband, a church
images rewinding on a damaged videotape
giving way to unknown faces and voices
that slide easily off the mind's surface
recycling like paper and glass and identity
and the house setting sail across the sea
into the deep straw horizon glow
with her crew of photographs and ghosts
bound by memory into deathless illusion

Kendron, The Body

Late at night, screaming at the nameless bright stuff
Kendron is trying to get the drop on the insane
catch it unawares, rip it apart and eat it
sleep exhausted shivering on a shed roof

squatting on a rock by the edge of the water,
shoulders hunched, listening for bird calls
somewhere behind there's a presence, a mind:
ignore it, it doesn't exist, it doesn't matter

Kendron has a gun, Kendron sweats and screams
glowing blood-orange in an oven-hot kitchen.
He won't fuck you unless he loves you;
but it's okay. He loves everyone.

A marble in a bowl, chasing zero,
hands and eyes focused on a synthetic plane
tuned into the overworld, spine a shockwave,
a fish slingshotting up a cold weir,

a strangled gasp in a freezing fog,
Kendron can close his eyes and hold his breath
and suddenly, beautifully, he never existed.
Reborn every moment. In debt to every atom.

he obsessed over a terrible nightmare from his past
until it broke him: baby-killer locked and drugged
in an asylum, he lost 20 years of life and mind,
emerged to see his father, his wife, his own hands

lined and trembling. realization like the collapse
of glaciers. he'd been wandering the labyrinth
of his own mind for decades, thinking it real.
horror and loss, tears, waking and relief.

but the fear lingered.
how could he know what was real?
who could tell him?
and then, to remember:

I am Kendron, the body.
I don't dream and I'm not lost.
there's nothing but this.
there's no NEED for anything but this.

sun, frost, roads, branches, faces.
spirals and soft sounds. cats.
a star fading into a yellow horizon.
at last, dying and living for no reason.

Buddha Bookshelf

It stretches out like a psychedelic skirt pulled taut -
they're shoulder to shoulder, smiling softly
before infinite setting suns shining
like rings in each planetary ear.

In each eye he sees things that have no explanation.
Today it's flowers for the famous faces.
The Pope is a marigold printed on a summer dress.
Tony Blair is a carnation held under a crying child's nose.
Dubya, such a silly lily, someone gave him as a gravestone gift.

He used to hoard his mother's cookies
in a heavy glass jar shaped like a bell -
once he dreamed that she kept a young boy's head
in a blue metal bucket by the fire.
He woke up so afraid of being a beggar,
lost in the dark, rainy streets, skidding, crashing,
his fingers tracing some remembered music.

He knows history. He read about the ovens,
the war machines and the Nazi lampshades,
but he keeps seeing them in blue,
made from Krishna's skin, stretched taut,
immortal fireflies for stars within.

No one would ever know he isn't crazy.
No one sees the Buddhas on his bookshelf,
endlessly mirrored, one for each decision and each life,
the cut of every knife, the kindness of every kiss,
the blindness of his soul and his unanswerable bliss.


sky on my skin in the morning, cold air,
the blades of a diamond, wings of glass
drenched in alien wines, hallucinogenic indigo

swimming awake into deep blue sheets
from a dream of a luminous girl dancing
in a dark sky, or a black, silent mile of ocean

now her breath warms my eyelids -
she glows, all the light in the bedroom
rises from her skin, she's been set alight

I can feel her like the empty body of the air,
on fire invisibly, ionized and irradiated,
torn by storms from the sun itself

she's alive in the mind's sea, a siren, irridescent,
opening unknown doorways - she's something
that isn't awake or asleep - dark, but radiant -

sky on her skin in the evening, tangled hair,
the waves in her mind wash over us -
breathing hard in my arms, she's going under again

Juicy Acid Purple

Linda was little girls
27 years old dancing in a circle for happy,
playing patched-up Pink Floyd cassettes
on an old player with the batteries taped in.
She hung beads and stars from her ceiling
and baked bread cake on Sundays
when she needed to remember home.

Home was her parents and Ricky.
Ricky would pull a condom through his nose
and make her scream. She loved everything he did.
Her mother was Mammy, almost blind,
but still canny enough to make her way to England
to visit. Dad was going to lose his legs to gangrene
unless he quit smoking, but he wouldn't.
They did everything their own way.

So did she, getting stoned before her exams,
living with a beautiful boy called Stephanos
who named his guitar after her - in Spanish,
Linda means beautiful. Besides, he loved her.
We all played cards into the small hours
and I'd curse the worst I could
until I finally managed to make her flinch.
"Alan, would you kiss your mammy with that mouth?"

We went to Amsterdam and I wanted to trip, but
"All that's behind me now," she would say.
"I like my bit of spliff and that's it."
She told me her stories, days and weeks
lost in a different world of crazed friends,
sailing dangerous on the edge of insane.
She told me about Juicy Acid Purple, a colour
only trippers knew. I wanted her to describe it.
"I can't, Alan. They don't have that colour here.
It's just not part of the plan."

After an eighth of hash, I always thought she spoke
with the voice of God. It was the most
important thing in the world that I listen to her.
I just wish I could remember what it was she said.

I moved away and lost touch, like she'd said I would.
Later her dad died, and she went back home,
and all I found of her when I looked was a note
tacked to a board; a second-hand report
from a distant friend; little girl-shadows here and there,
holding hands like girl shapes cut into newspaper;
memories, dancing in a circle.


one day in a blue bedroom
blue flares of bursting light
appeared behind her eyes -
she'd never had it so good

sitting on top of him, crying
wanting to be kissed everywhere
so bad, heartache and skin-hunger
then the novas in her sight, and she was flying

and so was he, voids in his mind
full of baroque music, geometric forms -
outside the bedroom it was a rainstorm
hammering on the window behind

her head, eyes turned up, looking within,
mouth open, "Oh Lord, oh God,"
as her insides poured out
through the pores of her skin

the great symphony, the greatest joke
he laughed aloud at the ridiculous joy,
remembering history classes as a little boy -
Da Vinci’s drawings, the hundred birds that broke

before Bernoulli's aerodynamic science -
before they landed on the moon -
playing golf in the white, dusty lagoons,
waving hello in a frozen silence

that sang louder than hammered bells -
unfathomable, a tiny astronaut
suspended like a Christmas ornament
in a lightless space - and then he fell

into the darkness behind his own eyes,
all of his skin on fire with her
breathless, raging to absorb her,
to inhale her - eyes closed, she flies –

bearing the weight of the moon, and him
over the Earth’s surface. The clouds shimmer,
and she hopes to God that they’ll land together,
his darkness a home for the death-light within her.

Mama Kali From Before

My Holy Guardian Angel
Is the Jesus of the Spheres
The am beheld and cradled
Imperceptible appears

In skin She wraps the Radiant
Of Gold the ether sings
Her arrows arch the firmament
In glory of its wings

I worship at Her Fountainhead
Undrinking I inhale
Her passionate and bountifed
Impressionless impaled

The murderer between us She
Possesses undefiled
Deliverance unslivers me
Unshudder with Her Smile

Repent and only sinnerless
I infinitely True
My outcry for Her Tenderness
Destroyer I Love You