Duo

 

My heart sped!  Beats quickened,
intensified by sound,
rising and inspiring:

a duo sharing songs –
by reeded living breath,
by hammered vibrant strings –

in forms which forswore words
to throw off sentiment
and strip their meaning bare;

mere sequence graced by notes,
patterns based in number,
yet speaking to our souls.

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Delivering

The rivers run higher in the hour before dawn:
rushing pulses shaped into alternating streams
as the red-white long-haul contra-flows of business
are driven hot and oiled in hurtling packs of steel,
vacuum-wrapped and insulated, but still roaring
with the purpose of a generation’s power;
consuming all the world to keep our selves alive.
Delivering – whatever it may cost our young…

faded paint

Once we were new and immediacy could guide us! 

Now that quisling young intensity has passed
since consciousness began to tire;  of holding on
like paint the sun has faded until it flaked away,
cover wrinkling into splits and decayed character;
of some older habits that have lingered past their time,
reminders that the past was smaller than the now –
although a film of settlement resists the change,
obscuring shallow detail, forgetting losses in translation 

Except: at least, this has not disappeared –
it’s time to hand over / for others to renew… 

 

 

national poetry day 2018 – calling for change

Pictures: You and I

I hold you in my wallet, to keep you safe from harm
in a fading store of memory, with our devalued currency –
a little worn with use and age, but easy to access;
an aperture into a version of our past, above revision
once framed by shutter speed, in silver salts or pixels /
or inked in composition, rolled out by the press /
or sketched in charcoal strokes, brushed by human touch;
a fragment in a narrow view, blurred in shallow field…

Except there is always an act, an outside intervention:
the fleeting gravity of looking – itself irrelevant –
gone to seek transparency where none exists, instead
reflecting back a composite (of me and you; of now and then)
and composing a reflection, to evoke my thoughts and feelings
without asking or concerning how they could be requited
or if that moment’s image had been perfect or a lie
or something in between, a flaw pursuing life?

Because you are not mine, or ours, or motion drawing breath
but a chameleon’s subtle model, to represent reality
in flakes of time torn off the torrent in its flight, snagged
while other things that were once new have aged in turn,
grown into the fabric before fading away – while you remain,
a tainted arrowhead lodged against a nerve
that leaves a wound infected by the presence of our past
and a seed to germinate belief in never letting go…

 

(revised from version posted in early May 2018)

3/9, 4/9

The year turned, slowly, in its cycle:
racked a hollow mark on its traverse
from origin towards infinity… 

~ as harvest ripened;  barley malted,
the living yeast renewed itself
and brewing sang in warming water 

~ as negotiators inched and postured,
compromised, on our behalf
while falsehood shifted to us, past us 

~ as I turned my back on you, in tears,
coming to face a life alone.
Autumn lowers. Winter follows. Death. Rebirth. 

I will find a way, or make one 

A word in your ear…

I once hid myself, afraid;
until the heady rush of words was jammed
by a crime against the muse, committed to survive:
the stream of language dammed, damned, damaged in its course
to leave words languishing around my skull, staring from its windows
calling echoes down its aural spirals, striking out their balance – 

Words marooned in emptiness…
like fickle acolytes of lost idols, panicking unshackled
or liberated helots pining for some mastery to serve;
like nomads in the tracking chain lacking moral compass
or athletes drained of power then balance, grace and skill
… after the fall … the fall … all 

the mimic

I was unsure – of who I was, of how to live outside my home
and lacking adequate affect, while full of social awkwardness –
so I conformed.  The choice was stark but simpler than it seems
in that long ago. 

Thus marked, by birth or accident,
I took instruction, even study (to a point),
as my seeming deficit became a fabric of belief
and I self-censored, thickening my carapace
to grow in roles which made denial second nature;
learning how to walk without the hope of wings,
needing to avoid defeat, absent persuasion
in that yesterday. 

But of course I wanted to be right, so I admit:
there was collaboration.
I enjoyed the gravity of power that pulled me in its orbit,
compelling me to move eccentrically
until that shook my axles loose, spilling their bearings
as they ground my gears to fragments;   falling
beneath those asking, how it was possible to live
without a purpose – or an allegiance to one colour? 

Those true believers:  defenders of the faith, keepers of the flame,
held hostage to the dogma of their self-defeating doctrines
while tied by their taboos at a bridge too far for reason.
I scorned them even in my weakness – 

How much trouble that has caused me!