ThereĀ“s a parade in the square today:
Generals and a beauty queen. Soldiers
the colour of Atacama. They speak and
salute and a gunshot strews pigeons
to circle the air above the arches. A moment

later, as they puff and court
I watch an old woman feed the birds,
her smile opens seams of sunlight in the cracks
and the plaza glows white and golden.
I think the god of war must look like her.

July 16, 2008

a Dadaist

Traces of snow were found in the blood
but the cause of death was heartbreak
not overdose.

He sold the art school to private interests.
Gave his charity away to money,
in a fit of nihilistic rage.

He was so close to his murdered dog
that he would go on all fours
baying at the grave.

A Dadaist, in court
he reversed the charges
and dialled out for pizza.


July 15, 2008

Naked as rain, I walk my ancient rooms,
a willow-the-wisp or bruise, a sliver of spite
goads me, withers whipped on through my doom,
my body dissolving like another marsh light
with handsaws and hawks, since even soaring kites
are tethered to the wind, wind bubbled in sky
sky just a dreamer’s brushstroke in sight
and every brushstroke calligraphs why?
My provincial ceilings, now raised high
house no answers, there’s just this walk;
this next step kills each step gone by
and love just sits in mirror talk
lips now become a mirrored world
or cushions, where my path unfurled.

lone moon

June 17, 2008

Lone moon ripe as belly
split birth your cicadas,
come rain down the night
sweet silver nectars.
Come glisten the rivers
lone moon ripe as belly;
split birth your cicadas,
come drink the mystery
will rest in their humming.


June 16, 2008

Night and water all the time;
I drink their signs, the redwoods creaking.

Day and day star out of reach:
the lights that teach are constellations,

slight in the glove of a weary mime
who sets them as my sight comes leaking

rills to wend dusk’s perfect breach,
its silver charts bright consolations.


May 28, 2008

Our sky is not a colour like your sky,
it is more like your blood:

not red, but warm, full,
and dangerous to spill.

There is no death here –
we do not lose what we have made.

Moments do not fade; time is embroidered, not passed;
each instant thrives

and life is a fabric of vines. Love is like weaving,
anger like strangling. Seeing is making –

some say we are tricks of the light
but we can touch minds, angle ourselves and become others.

Each of us has one great heart
that floats ahead of us like smoke.


May 28, 2008

Two hundred feet below the high rise, and soon,
the cars will loose their horns at everything.
Celine Dion offends the French with her Canadian accent –
she’s there on the TV, in a dress like a mirror ball;
you are with me, drinking champagne.

We squeeze lemon juice onto oysters
who tremble in their shells, pale by candle flame.
I am sipping flesh from a crescent moon.

The hours embrace, then expire without protest.
You sit before me, latte skinned
on tight North African curves,
talking to your friends in language I am free of,
relieving me both of silence and the need to speak
though sometimes I do speak, when you stop,
lean forwards on your elbows and explore
or we worry at translations like meat caught in teeth.

Yesterday, Reims cathedral looked about to awaken –
encrusted with statues of the beatified
carved in stone the colour of dirty mustard,
their eyes watering with piety.
Now, at midnight, spirit blows through the walls

like a god cooling his food,
pulverising the shells around them.
Awakened, they must be sounding the horns,
or else it’s city folks begging to be saved
from saints’ swords and angels’ tridents.

Our eyes flicker in time with the candle flame.
The door opens; metal reflects decor and digested skin.

The army of heaven can’t believe that on this day, of all days,
we’re having a dinner party, rather than praying
or gouging out sin with a rusty apple corer.

I smile over my gateaux, tell them:
that’s the trouble with the living,
but the living is good.


May 27, 2008

We moved to the countryside. The nights were silent.
You dipped your hand in wine and coloured your belly.
We came, shivering. The moon was pale.
We took it in turns to talk to,
to caress. The moon was white.

Seasons shimmered. The telephone
began to look out of place, then later,
like a shell. No one came to stay.
Our house sank a little each day.

We covered it up with turf;
the foundations hit bedrock
and it stuck there like an egg in a pork pie,
and we were a raw yolk, viscous,
sloshing round in a bubble
as the crusted earth turned and we were rocked softly,
while everyone else was kneading and dying like flies in pastry.

The moon was the colour of buttercups,
jeweled fat by a cooker, cratered amber,
a wash of saffron ink on old canvas.

We had a window in our roof,
and we watched the moon for hours,
felt it dragging tides of our bloods,
imagined ourselves shrunk as small as cells,
ebbing and flowing with the circadian spin:
two happy, drowning voices,
conducted by a sweet, fat lunatic,
and we folded our selves into the fabric of the land like haiku.

We kept paying the line rental. One day,
we were phoned by a fax machine,
and it felt as if one of H.G. Wells’ tripods
had hovered above the window
and brushed its nasal death ray past our eyes.
Once we got over the shock
we tried to talk to the machine, we tried to explain
why we couldn’t come back,

as if we were Gaia talking to the human race
or as if we were love trying to apologise,
trying to explain why it hurt and what the easing of it was –

to a fax machine. And it listened carefully,
but we spoke the wrong language,
so it was frightened, and did not speak
or later relay our message to anyone of consequence.

So the days suffered like they always had, but more,
and that beautiful bastardbitch of a moon drew great tides of blood,
and waves crashed and threw up great gouts of it that splashed on our high window,
soaked the tiles and the wars went on and on and on

and no one told anyone;
no one told a soul
that you can only see what’s real once you realise you’re dreaming.
No one told a soul

or they screamed it from the rooftops
then the beacon hills. And maybe we did
and maybe our house never sank
and we died with you, as you, screaming for you,
as we pinched ourselves, each other,
harder and harder

to wake others up from their dreams,
to live in ours, which was not a dream –

and kept pinching till we were crabs
shuffling and duelling, shuffling and duelling,
shuffling and screaming for beheadings
as flimsily as we turned against the wind
to be spun and scattered like sycamore down
into blood and the dizziness of spirals.

So we never moved to the countryside;
we talked about it for a few months
but your tests kept showing negative.
I got worse and worse and the meds
just made me fat and slow witted.

But the wars were real
like nothing else. Unless pieces of shell.

summer of love

May 22, 2008

The stained-glass saint has a beard
and behind his head is a tendrilled sun.
He thinks he looks like God. They all do.

I think of the cross
how its wearer’s blood dried to ink
then black wire.

The sky is fierce with clouds.
Angels turn to silt in their guts, cast themselves
to the pavements, the gutters.
I move to shelter through my thoughts

of America, wishful,
imagining a pulsing bag of chrisali. At Beltane
a girl wove me a circlet of twigs and flowers
and I dreamt I was a summer of love.