the reverse

I have found a simple malady
which, when handled expertly,
will turn a system on itself,
to poison every breath, to flinch from any touch;

Ingested, even as immunity betrays me
to trace its patterns on my skin
with symbols of dismay, absent contagion –
but who could ever tell?

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Breathe

In for five, out for seven: Slow down!
in for five, out for seven: slower
in for five, out for seven: deeply, empty
in for five, out for seven: empty, reflex
in for five, out for seven:
as one by one the shutters fall, the diodes dim,
conductors cool and gateways haze together;
as my fears and empathies alike relax
and consciousness lies quiet,
suspended in the moment of repair…

windmill

Landmarked in a place we’d never seen
we walked along the dike, across the marsh,
heads down and wishing we could huddle
against the buffeting of the endless wind
that chased its shadows in the reeds
bending, bowing, circling in their beds
until it hustled out across the sea –
to places where our dreams had been…

Before we found a shelter in the sails
that had driven down the grinding stones –
now opened, trusted to receive
an unexpected vital moment’s strike:
a moment, even two, of clarity and warmth 
to mark a passage through life’s mud and salt;
so we can imagine how to live, into a future
different from the past.

four columns, squared

And you said you knew / how the supports all worked / though they were engineered and unobtrusive

You bastard!  How you indulged your agony / of  misplaced confidence, at best / or a flow of fresh mendacity, stinking in the sun / spilling over purpose, one step off the curve / a vision out of focus, lacking depth of field…

as you observed, in cold and brittle politesse / in baffled, bunkered equanimity – ha! –

the columns leaning out, not in / splayed by their own weight / across each other’s lines / before the roof was even raised / to welcome innocents abroad / who’d come to worship here, and play –
let alone the masterpiece / we could have made inside….

But you said you knew / how the support would work / within the frame I’d barely found.
You bastard!  Who will build the shelter now / in praise of openness?

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