Apologies for the lack of fresh verse, I’ve been reading a lot of Buddhist stuff and wrestling with other people’s poetry. I was going to write a much longer entry, but apparently I have to go for a run. I do not run, as the person I am not running with will soon discover.

apathy?

March 31, 2007

Every sunset is new. I know that much.
There’s a crumbling woman who walks all day, neck bent
like half an archway that the streets won’t stop
passing through. They try to thread her
but slip away and nothing is made.

What do I know? Less and less
fear of her, thankfully. The pain
of the other casts a shadow snare
that sends me scurrying to snug in apathy.
But I do feel something. I still won’t help,
I won’t wish her away.

She knows what she’s doing –
I’ve always had enough respect for her to see it
and today I can’t make her see anything, I can’t stitch
or prop, or point out the new sun, the now-sun
that breathes the clouds into flowers of evening
just for her.

bricolage

March 23, 2007

It will live here, the beam
your eyes sought as the canopy opened.
And the ducks’ iridescence
and the oil marbling the brook.
I am noticing for you, behind things.
I turn the pictures into stories.

The hovercraft booked at a moment’s notice
you sit onboard thinking about the friends
I won’t let you miss

and fiddling with briney paper,
making animals. Leading them in
one by one. To keep them alive.
I follow sometimes

and help you feed them. When they’re lowing
in rough seas, I come and sit with you
at the helm, right close behind your eyes.
But mostly I play. Shape us
styles that grow like wardrobes,
clothes that you see
when you wear me.

In Dieppe, the pebbles
from the beach are stuck in the roads,
the sides of buildings. Maybe they miss
the press of others above, the textures
around them? Towns are such
haphazard things, cobbled together
with whatever fit at the time. Nothing really sees
anything else. I dazzle you with your friends,
both for you and because I love the sight of them.

At the club, we work so close
with ears and heart and hands and feet.
Friction soaks into melody
that smoothes moment we
craft into memories, fantastical beauties
that make the unicorns blush. I watch them join the arc
as you dance. One day
I’ll teach you to paint.

sing now

March 22, 2007

Bird says to bird
you are selfish to sing
freely, when others have no voice. My choice
is to shun the music
till all can join it.

Bird says to bird
music is heard.
Listen to the chorus
join me.

Tonight, despite the cold
she sleeps in the open
on a hammock whose gaps
frame stars. Traces the arc

of the light between years
it has taken. Like city neons
when you bob your head dancing.
Sparkler trails. The money

was good then. Serve the gin
and tonics, vermouths, camparis,
let the ices match the fizz and float the whiskies
to the smiles. No further.

And then she thinks once a little further,
and of how well he fit the mantle
yet fell. She blinks and it is gone.
Big wide sky out there.

She wonders what she’d say to an alien,
how much more he might have seen
and whether a human could ever catch up.

Her eyelids yaw
then sink. She sees endless crystal
and rooms of lucent satin

rippled and fanned out in spirals
and his body golden like
the opposite of a ghost.

hurt

March 18, 2007

I crushed your fingertip in my door;
you were game then: let’s take a picture
of the bruise.
Your dark shell
explodes into yellow, magenta. A mangle of friendly fire.

You kept the photo
like a warning. I would find it
in the drawer with the stamps,
under piles of your writing or
marking the heave of a page
in a heavy tome.

I notice you have no scars
wonder if you are an immortal,
a daydream, a modern Blodeuwydd
curved from polymers
themselves made from the petrol
that once fueled my howls for colour.

I stopped finding the picture,
and soon after that you stopped daring me
to steal us milk bottles at dawn, or
put my hand between your legs
on train journeys. You would observe me

as if I was a scab you once enjoyed picking.
The day you told me about him, I called you
all the names, breathed them slowly to you,
like bloody petals. You smiled,
sickeningly wise and said you must know
you can’t hurt me.

They paint me nude, as usual.
In some ways I am flattered, but
I sought treasures beyond skin.

The article says that the astrolabe
and hydrometer are
attributed to me on scant evidence.

Perhaps they should dress me in it.
The gods know I was naked enough
after the oyster shells uttered my bones.

Later, my most precious skins were sent
to the fire. I expect Cyril thought
that would finally put me in my place.

It is a shame the mob choked their pearls
on my blood, and flamed mine from history. Maybe

it is right that beauty endures
when all else is flayed.

conducted

March 16, 2007

Am I wet? No, it is the metal
of the zip. I try to reach you
but you are with the machines –

a delicate operation. The cord
catches my ankle; I’m used to it now:
I do not fall.

I imagine clean planes
foaming from dry ice, blue shapes
that compete with your irises for form.

You arrive; I force my neck straight:
I know you admire the craft. You pass me
your coat. The metal again.

wizardry

March 15, 2007

He tosses them up,
after-sound spears his words,
spell cast like a dragon of kites.

The defenders tremble, feel their mass
drain into the roots of trees. They fold
from their dimensions,
slicked to his syllables.

The wizard grins: you know, the words
don’t really matter.
I ask him where then
is the magic.
He grins again.
I say now

I must watch my grunts divide the carcass,
but first, teach me, as you promised.
He tells me
to honour my gods. These are a dragon,
a wolf, and a great bird
that calls morning. He asks me what price they take,
I laugh. It is always the same.

I wipe first my blade, then myself
on the pelt, and we share the meat;
I smile slightly and tell him my gods
only eat bones.

I nudge the fire.

He begins. The southern priests say
that a boy-god raised himself from the outer ocean
upon a lotus flower, and dreamed the land.
Magic is when we step closer to him
and he stirs for a moment.

My spit steams a tiny cloud from the flame.
What you say is nonsense. You have no intention
of offering your secrets. I know the world:

the days grow and split like vines,
the gods are names we give to the blade
that splits us like sickle slices of moon.
I ask you for the power to craft empires, but
I might as well pray to the ash between the stones.

The wizard laughs and opens my body with
my knife. Gods and cities spill out like butterflies,
each clutching my heart like a prize. I wake
outside camp, run to my companions
and tell them we do not have to fight.

avatar

March 14, 2007

It can’t be. Her fleshy’s been dead
for a month. Yet there she is
gathering wood, leopard at her side,

battling bosses
with her blue manna. She does not speak,
but then she often soloed
anyway. Her guild kicked her

for being a ninja; rumour
has it there was another
reason – her pixels glowed
too fiercely, she took
damage from the leader.

She /waves – I nearly jump
out of my skin and back
into my body. Who are you?
I ask. She /sighs: ghost
in the machine.