silence

So we drifted past in the night:
as implacable ships of disregard,
in silence
except the changing bells of watch,
respecting rights of way in navigation
if not always each other…

Until we were woken
startled
by the dawn barrage of voices,
a lying loud array on shore
joined in the jagged struggle to defend
unprotected feelings from attack:

Exposed, but settled headlong
into ways I thought I knew.

Varadero

The morning rises with a tide in flood,
a swelling warmth of swallowed salt
that lifts my body off its feet
then muscles up and through the chest
as it overpowers a racing mind with calm –
or the tastes of sweetened rum and the delights

of islands that once dreamt a feathered man,
imagined in the humid light, a force of colour
radiant in palm-carved air, hanging….
but vibrant with a pregnant pungent life
which if inhaled infects the heart and fills me
with uneasy sweeping dreamy peace.  Peace

that may forget the old molasses and mosquitoes
of a Caribbean twice a sentence, twice a grave:
a candied killer and attractor, destroyer of the men
who made sugar for the craving and reward
that brought wealth beyond their avarice for the few
and a fevered anguished aguey death for many;

islands liberated but still branded by the stain of slavery,
when one was damned and ten, a hundred men were owned
to make an ancient sin industrial:  the power
and the desire to erase those people’s names
and chain their children to that rotten block –
the foundation stone of empires, the anchor of our trade.

anxiety

You are the bleak-hearted fear of what exactly?
Unnamed and nebulous, pervasive and
refusing to take shape – but stronger for it,
your dark gravity distorting time and space among us…

I may try to name you, I cannot define you
I can never face you; panic wins again

Since my skull is empty, while a cold wind
rattles shaking through its sockets
where innate confidence belonged
and skill should sometime rise again, they say

Find your inner chimp

Well, I said.  I hope
You can do what you like
But there’s a cartel, you know…

Marquee Moon:  scratch it out, hypnotically
bc..bc..bc..bc..bc..bc
a soundtrack to a lifetime / in which lightning / struck itself
We are in the red box / with our first world problems
# shift it along  /// # overlay #
Warm and caustic. Prolonged… Accelerate!!!

Don’t walk away. In silence
Don’t walk away
from the big brass bed / I had, in dreams
Chord  Discord  Accord
Thesis  Antithesis  Synthesis
Order  Counter order  Disorder

Life is full of irony
if you can stop screaming / long enough to listen
And so it goes…
From our heartbeat / to your caricature
We tried. You try. They will try
Do your best, my son.   My daughter will not listen

the stag

The beast lay awkwardly across the road
hemmed in by the obscenity of shock and pain
pressed on the labouring heart beneath its sleek dun coat;
its head was high, its neck was taut, struggling against gravity
with hatred of its torment and the closing graze of cold oblivion
coming motionless to end it, on an unforgiving tarmac hill.
Its countless springtime outcomes now reduced to one:
endurance out of time, prolonged until the tranquillising dart
will still its complex writhing eye, the dimming eye, in mercy…

… oblivious already to any kind of meaning I might have glimpsed
or thought I could ascribe, to the tiring dregs of his gifted life…
to the sacrifice of lithe young potency, betrayed by random order…
to the Fall from a morning’s innocence, rutting with antlered pride
to this helpless agony of broken-hipped distress, still tied
to life by fraying threads of habitude and parting ligaments,
his reality cut through to bring the grave its victory
as we went streaming safely past, insulated in our sins.
Who could prepare for this?

Sehnsucht (Saudade)

Empty thoughts – a dry river in the night:

Of wanderers condemned to replay – and enjoy –
a game whose rules are crossed
so we can never win, but only hope,
repeatedly forgetting the result.
Mere humans and yet more:
we, the godless, and our longing.

Of our strange mistress – unkind,
unsentimental, alien and rare –
who consumes our fat and leaves us lean
transfiguring what’s left until
we are transformed in her devotion
so that at last we’re marrowed bones
transfixed by our desires;
covenanted to the most elusive of ideas
in which, in truth, we had no choice but to believe.

Of a futile longing, for some thing unknown,
someone half-glimpsed, disguised, unrecognised.
How can this feel so much was lost?

Thirteen ways to view a season

August 9th : 124/1/913
An opening :
The day perplexes, as it startles us: welcome to an altered equilibrium….

October 4th : 124/24/910
Speed skill and movement flow at perfect pitch / and then a long consolidate

October 20th : 123/5/910
Battered but not bowed, we survive a mighty onslaught / to seize an opportunist win

October 24th : 125/8/942
Dominant and headed top / although clear weaknesses are on display

December 21st : 25/24/772
Moneyed rivals are outclassed. We’ll never sleep: excitement reigns all night!

December 28th : 123/5/907
Expectations rise, hopes surge, hearts open; the new year beckons and entices….

January 24th : 123/4/909
But the good guys are tricked again / by a thuggish cartoon bandit

March 2nd : 24/21/754
Plunging, in the thirty minute switch / from triumph to disaster

March 13th : 9/25/256
A perfect afternoon / except they had a plan and we had self-destruction

April 2nd : 126/21/968
Revenge is sweet, revenge is comprehensive / does it point the way ahead?

April 21st : 24/24/743
A sterling success, in isolation / but the coinage had already been debased

April 30th : 24/24/750
Sideways backwards slow. We have come to loathe predictability

May 15th : 24/22/745
An ending:
We grind a final clear-cut win / while that other lot implode;
Consistency eventually is excellent / when leavened by surprise!
Yet shadows gather in the wings / as we watch veterans depart.

 

[Originally posted May 16, 2016.  But since it was – in part – inspired by Wallace Stevens’ ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’, I thought I’d re-post it today]