poetry

For the Soul of Your Mother

From the pitch blue that strikes
ache in the eye for trying
to find a bottom,
we carried into
Reeth under iridescence.
Always a longer drive than remembered,
a very serious walk, and a wonder
at the soundness of the whole idea
upon arrival; ice cream parlour
locked up and all.
An evil of colour
this sundown,
bedraggled with cloud-rips.
Lost I’d say, or left behind –
Red-sided
garter snake ecdysis,
or vixen smeared
over an oily road;
that thrift shop cardie
you’d never wear,
but for the soul of your mother,
can’t take your eye off.

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Flu

These chronologically challenged fortune
cookies started life on my side
table. Covered my books, todo lists, tickets,
picks; bulged a drift against my lamp,

so in the evening nuclear
waste prophesies burned
citreous through the wraps,
milky as you’d like.

Telling my past and present.
Delicate pins of red sulk
in plasma like blown glass. The
origami doomsayers

spilled fast down
onto my carpet. At times
I’m delirious enough
to think them pretty

as white roses, or spare
stars, forgetting that reactor
core balled in
threatening meltdown.

I’ve had thoughts of you, S.Lee.
How these chemicals have been
on my skin, my clothes, inside me.
Where are my super powers motherfucker?

I have dipped an ashy toe
in plutonium fen. Drunk
it and expelled it.
Drawn some in a pale.

Yet I am raw as an old strop.
I have made razors sharp
as star limbs while I have
blurred into bokeh.

If I were not thinking this
I’d swear I’d become object
set here to drip as
salt lamps, stalactites. Inmates

are warming,
have talked to me,
told me jokes. I have
laughed like dragged

girders over the
blemished epoxy
of humour. Sort of gun point
laughs, elevator manners.

Atlas hatbox knows
very little of geography but a great
deal of the seasons,
and of storm formations.

Doesn’t know how talking
about the weather became a
faux pas. Believes it to be
the closest thing to real

magic after art, the relative strength of ants,
and a great cloche. Erhu is a dirty
old bastard. Wants me to pick it
poppies. I tell it it’s not the season.

Asks if I have any weed.
Orange MK II has noticed
my voice tuned down
an entire minor third.

B I believe.
Asks if I’m into drone.
Sometimes I say. This guy’s
alright says African

redwood hippopotamus.
And I wonder at his Brooklyn
accent, and absentee tail. I tell
him thanks. The ugly bowl

of pennies/misc. threatens blades
sometimes, but I’m not worried.
He’s mostly just pennies. Graduation
llama asks if I still write.

I am I say.
Now? As we speak
Champ. God’s honest.
But I must stop for a moment.

The pendulum clock
just peeled me
a ripper, gun cocked, and I have
drafted more neon globules

while I dragged my girders,
and I am entirely
out of tissues
again.

Engines/Insectarium

Dry laughter of night trains
beneath scoliotic spines of galaxies,
and moonlight rib bone stark around the boiler,
nips the ghosts of idle machines. The chains
holding cold engines have no weakness.
In neat cryogenic sleep dreaming of breath
their tidiness evokes emptiness;
emptiness imitates death.

Smokestacks that whispered into clouds
now slim cathedrals in dedication
to nocturnes of silk organs
periscopic in the system. Small crowds
of spiders boil from the lips.
in webs, wing dunes rise
resembling pumpkin pips;
the last rot of mulched flies.

Piston jellied stuck.
Ants march the shaft in a double-helix.
Moths choke the whistle cavity;
animate shadows of the nook.
In dust-light of oblivion
oily spectrums flash
from pulsing obsidian
of beetle backs.

Slime filigree fractures
suedes of decay,
drawing out continents
in the dust shale; pictures
etched by godly mollusk.
A new planet born
in backscatter musk.
A second first dawn.

Amputated carriages,
twitching still and world scattered,
hollow the core. A murderous
un-pegging of cargo marriages.
But empty bodies must be filled.
Each split chrysalis
and ghostless thing billed
a thriving new metropolis.

Top Heavy

You fell so often
your skull developed craters
and was moonish,
fizzing lunar transients.

Grit asteroids revised
your cranial map.

Maria flowered darkly.

Mountains surged from plate faults,
and basaltic valleys whirled beside
your blood orogeny.

The sun dripped away
behind your swell of horns
and lit you – a theatre
of bones –
and I sat beside you,
eating moonlight sweet from knives,
then dissolved into orbit.

Still, They Knew Him from the Flock

Inside the beacon, someone
found the blue eyed lamb hung;
throat frilled as gunnysack,
sea-cold,
in the first field of the coming sun.

Atlas and Axis disengaged;
both strung and trapper.
Music of death-rattle.
Selena’s tracks between used
rubbers, and chocolate wrappers.

How many nights before death,
caught in mooring rope,
the stars washed in so low
a tall man might knock his head;
the moon stooped enough to hang his coat.

Costume Party

In Notre Dame, there’s a bookshop
where they stick stickers
over every price and barcode,
marking each book up five, ten, twenty euros,
because it’s famous.
If you buy a book,
the lovely french till lady, who looks grotesquely literate asks,
“Would you like a stamp”?
And every customer gets a look of worry
and quietly asks,
“Does it cost extra?”
It doesn’t, and so every person says
“Yes, I’d like a stamp please”.

It’s always full of beautiful people
wearing their very best writer’s outfit-
Shawls and scarves all cleverly draped,
like the wind in Paris had delicate fingers.

Up the stairs to the left
there’s a little old piano
in a small enclave
and you’re allowed to play,
if you’re able,
but not allowed to take any photographs
in case you disturb someone’s studies.

Opposite the piano is a wall of post-it notes
with bits of prose, and lines of poetry, and songs, and messages;
all written by the patrons, all in different languages.
Each one assiduously chosen by their writer as the
champion of their portfolios. The line that communicates a pure essence,
and if some wandering publisher reads it,
will storm the world in search of them
to publish every sick and sweet word.
But they just sit there in a sort of dogged rest,
looking somewhat cemeterial,
twitching each time somebody opens the door,
and perfectly ignored
by everyone that walks by.

I picked up a book, read a page, put it back, and played a note
for the dead poems
as I left.

The Glow

Death, I picture is much like

walking toward

a single street-

light

from a path,

black deep.

And noise

isn’t noise

but notes.

And the light isn’t light

but the absence of

the dark.

And shivers hit you all over.

Not from cold,

but strange joy.

And once more you remember

the burden it was

to cast a shadow.

 

And it’s something like

the impossibly quick

frame

between dreaming

and waking,

that is so fast that

it’s hard to imagine,

but must exist all the while.

 

Then if you die with priests at your bed

the venue will swarm

and pick your bones clean of a soul,

pray and regurgitate.

So angels like baby birds will devour you once more.

 

And if you die by your love

your soul will travel in them.

For that is the heaven you know

 

And if you die by your enemy’s hand,

at least

you’re not alone.

 

And if you die alone,

then

I am

sorry,

and so should we all

be.

 

We were never one,

though people like to say it,

but desolate,

isolated

things.

Unless we

found each other

in the dark.

 

I’m sorry

I never

found

you.

 

The Snakes Were Hushful

When we got together

people wanted to talk to me.

People who never wanted to talk to me before.

 

Snakes

 

Slowly, I’m starting

to think,

there aren’t

many

who aren’t.

 

Still, we were together,

and i was something.

But she watched too much television,

and I stared too deep

into the window,

and with little to

say to each other,

it expired.

And the snakes were hushful again.

 

I wanted to hurt,

but in honesty, I felt better

than I had

in a long, long time.

 

We just stopped and went on alone,

unscathed.

It was nice.

 

We were like ghosts

that stumbled through each other.

Richmond

Before I left my home town

after we’d all been there far too long,

everything  good,

it begin to gently rock and sit askew,

like the peach with the worm inside.

And though it is really a very pretty place

there have been suicides,

and there will be suicides.

And the night sky is deeper than any other place I’ve been.

 

We were close friends

but slowly, In small ways, we turned on each other,

doing bad things Just to see what it felt like.

Sick,

and artless,

and stuck.

But now when I go back there

everything they do, or say is poetry.

 

Last time I was in town

they told me about two local boys.

One, with his friends, stole the other’s cocaine.

So he, with his friends,

snapped his legs.

Now his friends, and friends of theirs want revenge.

Wherein lies a problem in such a small place,

because friends of his friends, are friends with his friends, friends.

 

Then they showed me this

thick legged, butcher of a spider they’d captured under a measuring glass,

suspended in frosty lines.

Pure evil in a jug cup.

I wondered, did it know it was caught at all?

They said his name was Bruce.

Bruce had been in training.

They’d been catching flies and smaller spiders,

and placing them in there with him.

Sixty days and nights they were sacrificed,

Strung up, and gutted ashen.

Bruce, they told me, had tripled in size.

Then they introduced me to Titus.

Titus is a bruiser, they said.

It was true, he was a killer.

A sooty death hand in a mason jar.

He and Bruce were to be pitted against one another

under the jug.

 

It was all so excitingly cruel.

I wanted to tell them to let them go,

but they wouldn’t have,

so I didn’t.

 

I had to leave before the fight was scheduled.

It would have been an interesting thing to see.

I’m still waiting to hear how it all turned out

with the stolen cocaine, and the feuding boys.

With Bruce, and Titus the Bruiser.

It’s likely they’ll forget to tell me

but it doesn’t matter all that much.

 

One will devour the other,

and the victor will be alone

again,

under his cold glass sky; No Horizon.

Then the victor,

the victor will die too.

And I wonder, do they know they’re caught at all?