The Meadows

We beheld a city of hypnotic scents and rhythms
looping trails of lights like fireflies
swirling around spectacular buildings
air vibrating with thousands of voices
chattering like crickets
electrocuted tumbleweed on power lines
interiors washed with overlaid sound
cool-air-swept and timeless
deep pile carpets and mysterious dials
interfaces for minds obsessed with chance
randomly built from desert ground
randomly filled with purchased anticulture

ten days could have turned into a year
until fallen from unreal horses we wither
as the unarguable earth drains us
reminding us about scale and size and time
the labyrinth of dreams and canyons
and dreams of canyons
and deserts apparently beaten back
that reappear as dreamed deserts
crowding the psyches as lights and sounds
deserts in which soul water disappears
and Jerusalem and Babylon become one

the soulless mind craves shining things
the thrill of risk and reward in the glands
hormones racing through tired veins
the heat, the cold, the heavy blue silence
and the endless dark layers of music
the mind wants to be seduced over and over
led through stranger and brighter ways
labyrinths of the real to match
the endless unreal dreamscape of every night
and led by the mind we risk being truly lost
becoming one of the unreal, shining things
a mirror image of a vanished someone,
dark energy rushing through hardened arteries

and God hardened Pharaoh's heart
and the plagues were called down
and the seas were ripped back from the sand
blood in the rivers and corpses in beds
and no land of milk and honey, only
sun-hot rocks, prophecy and stricture,
holy cities raped by every soldier nation
and the invincible, eternal desert uber alles

Ghat Smoke

we are all going to die
that's the perspective
haunting my dreams
hanging over me awake
like clouds lit by the sun
chemical flames flaring
across a grey ceiling
thoughts of emptiness
thoughts of loneliness
and the harbour of the body
frozen in time
the lucky ones find each other
we are told
hair alight with sky fire
kissing to crazy music
we must marry and retire
to the baby-making bed
and give purpose to it all
then death will not touch us
death shuns lovers
we are told
but the graves are full of us
our smoke rises from the ghats
and the battlefields
bloody footprints, bloody mire
and the blood of lovers
tastes the same as any other

wind over dunetops
silver blue island waves
meet me somewhere like this
so we can talk about life
when it doesn't matter any more
we'll both be dead
finished forever with blood and smoke
and we create our own islands
we are some kind of ridiculous song
we can replay our lives
did your skin really wrinkle so fast
did my legs gnarl that way
watch us crumple like leaves
the sun burning us hollow
watch the years pour through us
we will meet at the river's end
we always feared the sea
endless toothlike mountains
waterfall over the world's edge
was that the dream or is it this

slow silent withering
in our mirrors and our minds
who you say I am is nothing
who you say you are is nothing
these words are not the words of a body
that will wither or burn or fall
the body is earth and earth is silent
and these words belong to something else
something original
I mean primordial
something lawless and experimental
not intended and without purpose
therefore deathless and meaningless
ridiculous by any normal standards
something more like a ghost or a virus
unnaturally endless and reflective

this story ends with us cold and rigid
or so they tell us
but I hear different

The Idea of Myself

A meditation mutation,
I don't know any way
to live but day to day

wandering planless
through every moment's maze
the inner artificer stunned

by a stupid loneliness,
tired and tricked by thought
there's nothing left here except

swirling faces in the warp
of damp wallpaper
a shimmering fright

of stray-focused eyes,
that full, swelling energy
blossoming in the body

I will never be famous
never gratified, never certain -
the soft afternoon's sleep

in my lover's arms
will have to be enough for me,
and the insane laughter

of a moment glowing and lost
like a dropped match.
The idea of myself dances,

just one more ghost in the gyre
of the mind's eye, on fire
with living light.

Grange Road

Grange road runs crazy
from between the church and the shopping centre
up to the foothills of what we call
the Dublin Mountains

and we know it for this small slice of time,
a year we've spent in a strange house
full of musty books and stale chocolate,
rusting knives and forks,
shivering patience of lace curtains
on windows overlooking the road,
catching the odd glint of red at sunset
over slate rooves and cold chimneys

we know it for what it has been for a year
alive at night with drunken teenagers
kicking over bins, smashing car windows,
hanging around Londis asking you
to buy them alcohol
they'll bring it to the park
they'll drink it hastily in the darkness
they'll break things in an ecstatic rage
and blindly let the road swim them home

it's a river of life and death
and apparently random decisions
we saw a boy in a red car lose control
around the tricky corner
and destroy 2 cars in a headlong collision
they both lived - this time -
residents gathered to watch, talking
about the other accidents at that corner,
the ones who made it and the ones who died
right there on the road
in bloodstains bleached by the streetlights

over the park wall among the dead leaves
you can hear the cars moaning past
you can imagine dying souls travelling home
there's a stream that follows its path
for a while, under and over ground, through gardens
it runs to join the Dodder
where this road is forgotten
its memories emptied into cold black water

prayers and curses for two miles and fifty years
and we've known very little of it but what sings
in the blood in the small hours
what beats in the heart in the wind
an infinite procession of hooves and then tyres,
young feet growing older, then young feet again
what is a road anyway
it lays itself down in your mind
and in your dreams you follow it
and every other road you've ever known
to the gates of your sacred city
 

Child King

The person at your heart is a child king
head held high, flying, singing
nonsense words to the tune of your memories

you are a person, you have a story
he sings over the rain and wind
(he's running, it's stormy, he loves it)

you are a person, you exist
in a desire-fulfilling world
a world where storms have a meaning

and that meaning, somehow,
through some kind of universal design,
has something to do with you.

The child king sings because he is not you
he is not anyone, in fact
he doesn't even know that he exists

he will never have babies or a job
his language is a song of fragments
his bare feet indifferent to grass or broken glass

every time you try to focus on his face
it has changed, he has gone, replaced
by a blue wind, a sheen of sun on oil,

strange things of that kind, themselves
gone in an instant.
His song disappears too -

there is nothing but a whispered word
that brings you into a forgotten room
memory upon memory, wasted afternoons

shuddering in a silence without him.
He is your heart and he is running away.
You hate him and you wish he would stay.

John's Perfect Heart

John's life was a quiet disaster
of needles and computer screens and alcohol
bank notes drifting gently down
onto the bodies of his parents

pets asleep in the filth of a swollen toilet
doors and windows blown open
in his mind, lights winking down a river
walking to work in the rain and the rot

he saved lives and stole them, ran screaming
down stunned streets, smiled carefully
in shops as he bought suicide implements,
melted and shook and snarled in the gym,

drove endlessly along roads, roads, roads
as future memories swam in his veins
- he would marry and father sad children
- he would die at someone else's funeral

John's life was his own, and every choice
split the universe in two, each half perfect -
perfect in panic and pain, in rain, in madness -
such a heart raging in such a savage heaven

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

Johnny No-Name

I am mute torn orange leaf sucked into white sky
word made flesh rooted in shrine body shaking
cemetery kiss in ivy silent cloud-waiting laughing
and true sacred psychosis bubbling bright in blood
blue mountains weeping and fat river choking hills
world-serpent son of battlefield-broken god
wolf-son destiny for bringing blessed mother darkness
all churches mumbling nursery rhyme revelation
reawakening birdsong in glass house sweet air
burnt clothes burning mind beautiful burning hair

Suryodaya

suryodaya, the wave that wakes us
steaming land and hills sweating cloud
brief and still and the crying of gulls and
herons, the backs of fish glowing
in the bay and the rivers trailing fingers
up the crevices of the hills

every night the houses and I and the stars
in a dance full of gravity
rabbits creeping up to the dark grass
light from the kitchen in the tips of their fur
and I'm swaying, almost crazy from not talking
all of my life filtering through my mind
and my hands and my skin are not mine, they're moving
in a ritual of morning

I give the world it's geometry today
from schizoid equations and predictions
curves on the axes of my field of vision
patterns I see in the carpet and the grass and the sky
patterns I feel run through my flesh
as a silent, heavy core moves along the breeze
sliding down the arms of an attractor, wings
designed in dreams, given to the memory of the garden

and I'm so alone at the heart of my universe
and I love everything that I see,
standing still under the trees, a glittering mother
giving birth to the sun and my lovers

Choirboy

I was a choirboy where the light
crept through windows stained sacred
in a cold chapel, and I sang from my throat
raw from crying over homework, forgotten toys,
a memory of death floating back through time,
I sang from my blood and no other world
had ever been so holy.

It was so cold out there on the school steps -
I pulled up my hood and sank deep into myself
travelling through my tissues, I dreamed
forwards and backwards in time,
and it could have been half an hour or three hours
or three years
as a rock in the shape of a boy
before a priest came to rescue me,
his cold blue eyes confused when he recognized me -
he'd always thought I was cocky, aristocratic,
not a helpless thing too stupid to call his father,
wandering in imaginary worlds that might never be,
how I sang in my veins to be free.

Every leaf and breath and star and voice was perfect,
lost in time like me, and I sang for the sun
into dusk, the sun tearing wounds in the sky, savage
and desperate to send me to bed. My mother's voice.
Bed the universe, body the living god, pulsing in darkness.

I am not human, have never been human,
something singing and laughing in the skin
and the blood and the bone and the dream.