Resonance

once I thought we were born here with no clues
no path, no means, no scent of home
like a cellist without a bow,
grappling with an arcane instrument
before a vast audience of laughter

like they knew better than me -
"Tabula rasa", as if babies come into being
with no brain or heart, no feeling,
nothing that might have been carried
from a lighter, timeless world

look at her fingers tremble on the strings -
she's not afraid of the sound
but of the audience, what they'll do
when the sound wakes their hearts -
one single note, to kiss, to destroy -

something to rise out of the brain
into the early evening skyline
they know the trees are shaking in the wind
they saw the constellations appearing
like diamonds sifted out of the sandy clouds

take care - they never asked to be reminded -
"I'll know when I fall in love" - how are you so sure -
except that you are a singing wineglass,
a bell that hums when a voice speaks underneath,
that knows the truth because you feel it making you true -

your mother will lead the tiger out of the house
by its teeth, she'll put you to shame -
while you wander through glaciers, mazes
like endless Inca cities, stepped and geometric,
unable to escape the memory of death

except that you hear the violinist -
she doesn't know what she does, but the sound
is not bound by her knowledge - if you cry
when the crescendo takes hold of her hands,
what is it in you that moves, that resonates,

what did you recognise, that you feel so ruined,
devastated by happiness, reduced to nothing by love,
like an empty evening sky for seeing comets,
like wind for laughing, roads for the feeling of distance -
an empty peace in your clearlight bedroom

Fist

when I found it safer to hate I
became an angler in the lake of darkness

yesterday ate green salad for purity and
white sugar for rotting; kissed this girl
and fucked her and loved her & she’s still here
(what can I do to her now?) &

forgot how to be surprised; forgot how to smile
& just shrieked like an old kettle
blowing to bits, steam killing in sweeps all
around: girl came and ate pain and held me in

sometime I

I was this stupid boy hanging like a
piglet from mama’s tits: Mama Mama
keep me here while you can because when
I’m gone I’m GONE: eat my own food &
scream out loud when I come & I’ll leave you
to smother yourself

the air tinkled with raindrops and seagulls
got dressed & the mirror warped me: told me
‘You are a beautiful man’. & I sickened
but PLEASE: I’ll find my halo and step in
& never be able to pretend again; only
be the same girl as yesterday, tomorrow

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

No Outside

I cycled home through empty roads
under dead lights haunted by the ghosts
of cars and houses with dark curtains
tyres whispering on the tarmac
everything in memory is sweet and sad

climbed the wall and stood by the water
streetlights glittering above and below
a bird fluttered over the surface
bats arcing silently over the rooftops
while I stared into empty kitchens and gardens

taste of beer and chocolate on my tongue
stars blurred through mist and space
silent like swimming underwater
holding my breath to try and stop time
standing on the wet grass like a stranger
 

Sycamore Sunday

She's a time machine
in the shape of a sycamore,
her leaves glowing emerald in the sun.

Twisted branches like swimming pythons:
near the ground, a deep crook
where I straddled and stayed for an hour.

Midges spiralled through shining air,
sounds of the city dulled into distance -
footsteps, voices, wind in the leaves, all silent –

my breath and heartbeat slowed
as she told me I had no need of anything,
nor any reason for fear.

While the sun flickered through her hair,
I laid my journey aside
for this moment. Our bargain,

that she gives me shelter and peace,
and I give her what I can: a life
immortal in the realm of the mind.

The Book of Dreams

I'm a friend killer; I stay the same
while you dream of union and forever,
crying until the next emptiness filler,
Spanish coffee beneath the rain mirror,
cherry blossom in your lying brain.

In mine: a figure in a shadow coat
on a strand that stretches out for miles
under a deep blue dusk; a bell's chimes
like droplets in the silence of his smile.
Music and seaspray, everything that floats.

I cut away my old face in a dream,
slicing carefully beneath the chin,
breathing wetly underneath the skin
of a film star. Then I looked within
in agony. I am not what I seem.

I will wear the ugliness today;
let my eyes turn black and let my mouth
split into a snarl. I'll cast you out
and stand alone and haloed. In my house
there are many mansions: here I'll stay.

On Being Alive

We are two shadows in the rain
walking around the reservoir together -
you tell me that you are afraid
I am not real; that you felt better

in your old, unfeeling shell,
your dark umbrella of self,
than being kissed and gently held
under soaking clouds, your hair wet,

wondering if it can be true
that I really do see the real you

Samuel Beckett gives me props

I knew  I was dreaming, because Samuel Beckett was standing behind the hedge at the bottom of the garden, smoking a cigarette whose glowing red tip floated in the twilight  like a firefly. The dusk had brought a thick feeling of summer and smoke to the air, and I wandered across the uncut grass to talk to him.

He was dressed all in black, wearing a leather jacket and turtleneck and jeans. His face was deeply lined and his hair stiff like a yellow brush, just as he appeared in photographs towards the end of his life. He was reluctant to make eye contact, and pulled irritably at his cigarette, which I noticed was held the wrong way around, so that hot ash and unfiltered smoke poured into his lungs with every breath.

What are you doing here? I asked.
Well, they say I'm coming back into vogue now.

He shuffled slightly, staring at his feet. He wanted to tell me something, but was looking for words that wouldn't sound false. Finally he looked up and spoke softly:

You've got a strong heart. I can hear it from here. It'll carry you through.

He flicked his cigarette into the grass and walked away without saying goodbye. It was obvious to me that he hated melodrama and falsity above all things, and that he knew, with a painful awareness, how hard it can be to communicate truly and sincerely in words, so that someone can understand exactly what you mean. I listened to my heart for a few seconds - that barely audible pulse in the inner ear that tells you you're alive.

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

4D

All this time –
I have seen such changes
in you, counted the dry
husks of your selves arranged

like a calendar.
A simple thought – that I
might keep you together.
Your fragmentary life

I would chronicle,
wrapping your sloughed skins
around my wrists and ankles,
saving them from the wind.

My scattered lover –
as you freeze from instant
to instant, I will recover
the true shapes of your existence.