I liked my words piled up like rubble walls
without the glue of mortar, or the craft of dry-stone dikes –
while rhythm, although it was my heartbeat,
sometimes passed me by, or faced-off the wrong way –
for I enquired in alleyways: wracked like conscience
(a fleeting visitor, discovered in the night)
by a voice, speaking flint-like through the darkness,
sparking words like trust – called truth – from flagstones;
Words which (flaring) vanished… in acrid smoke
clouding across an island packed with attitudes,
broken from the main and skewered on its self-made hook
of certainty (belled, tolled, caged in formal punishment
by flaws of education – and the parts it did not reach)
leaving a residue of loosely bundled letters, peeled raw;
too sharp for some, shot through with veins of mineral
hardened in the air by exposure to the oxygen of life,
served dry and stripped of meaning;
Lacking framework, those words have left me bare;
wondering, what should guide my steps
once obligation has passed by?
Or languishing, in comfort, since my compass failed…
Do not forget, we were amazed when it was new.
Now it’s overlooked as everyday: faintly dismissed…
(although when we were young there was no story
unless someone crawled and wept)
Still. We all stand…
The thin and the fat. The healthy and the ill.
In healing or in stasis or decline.
With futures we may get to have: no longer
short and sharp, mostly, but chronically defined.
Dangling in the open, unreconciled –
were we but honest with ourselves –
although we co-exist, in the wake of an identity
A quest. What cause? What caught you up?
Maybe worry has no base, there is no reason for anxiety??!
Only… Why did we come this way? Was it short?
Who has come with us? Who have we left behind?
What if connections mattered less, and failure not at all
while we were still ourselves, and learning, in our rawness…
Skirting years of revolution for longer days of progress,
mercy, and dissent: creating value of our values ~
Forever next. Shared or solitary. We all stand.
Heavy with experience and years, and growing stale
as I’ve grown dark, but not in colour (greying at the edge),
I glower round anxiety and tense the badly printed jaw
forming the overwhelming mouth which infects the skull
of my lopsided skeletal rack; chaired by my consent
into a passive beast beneath the kick applied by medicine…
Waiting for the finest drill to bite and whine its trace
into the measured root, I pause and hold to join
the lowest outer rank of silent honest fellowship;
I have come sideways to accept my birthright is to swim
among a sea of souls, who all share a trail of sentience
beyond confusions, coincidences and our suffering.
Dazed, upright, I am released to splash my calloused feet,
to paddle in the shallow clear and warm lagoon – before it
opens out beyond the fragile reef to darken with a shock
to indigo; a border marking the domain
of my acquaintances, those stalked by the white ghost
or hosting their mutated living cells…
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.
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
Well, I said. I hope
You can do what you like
But there’s a cartel, you know…
Marquee Moon: scratch it out, hypnotically
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
We’ll go polling once again
to satisfy the calculations
of their cynical party managers
and their backroom infighting –
backstabbers in a nationalist disguise.
But we are not the Turks.
Perhaps somewhat like the Dutch,
we’ll troop into the flimsy booths
in our shabby local halls
and sit those bastards down!
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?
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?
I would not halt, nor was I lame;
or rather, I instinctively disguised
my smaller foot and thinner thigh –
as I denied the challenges that came –
albeit I wondered how it was
to reach and touch, to give and take
without a hooded eye…