Stone & Thyme

Your birth is a Rorschach 

butterflies and blood

a string tight around the umbilicus

double knotted, a bow, slack-winged

to promise and make sure

you never float away

Childhood a sharp sprig

this for time, this for prevarication

the soft sound of the turn of cards

in the cage, a sharp stitched inhalation

rot and eucalypt

climbing fences, caught

in the odd barbs of freedom

wet-faced and limping home

still lost

now I am  all piercéd through

in another too bright morning 

kicking down the sun

Wondering, what happens to all those deathbeds

shook by throes 

of regrets and reconciliations

the final jagged fabric of your breath

gone in the wash

Carefully dismantled by the now bereft

sheets shaken out, spars and frets

boats and guitars

to make of blunt horizons

a sunset mausoleum

The old women are the colour of the stones

hands gone rough, skin like sand

still  with stained glass eyes, the light

too brightly glistening

I am still here

they have gone and come back

in the curved shape of forever

Categorized as Poems Tagged

A Paper Boat Unfolds

Some months before I drowned

arms crossed like spars

they made the lake

graders, slowly feeding insects

in the dead beast’s well

a skin of mud exuding

in tracks gouged deep as no man’s land

across lawns and paths and roads

as if this growing death

would poison half the world

now trees protrude like grief

from reflections of themselves

in a Rorschach aftermath

the boat skims like a leaf

loosed and unhomed, with that drifting

impermanence of life

of tides and swells in gutters

and rips in stormwater drains

hungry in the way of ghosts

on blue winter days

the rising smoke

of slow evaporation

subsumed and sublimated 

lines grown blurred and weak

in the chrysanthemum of morning

a paper boat unfolds

Jumping Puddles On The Moon

You are bright as

shop windows in the rain

a wooden ark that

so easily falls down

hard-shaped animals

rigid games

of words in squares with

values concomitant 

on the difficulty of meaning

I will lift you high

to careless shoulder blades

with a monkey-puzzle swing

your arms a python around my neck

knees almost a horse

jumping traffic-light puddles

shiver, smear, break like glass

one two three and stop

choking (only a little) 

on your glee’s foregone restraint

desperate as plastic

landing the way Armstrong did

in a world gone black and white

gum boots down

time dismayed

all the colours up

Neither read, nor yet, written

Winter’s leaving, in piecemeal increments

The sky has the tilt, of neglected volumes

That you thought you’d read one day

Blake and Howl and that exegesis 

On the sailboat shapes of sundials

Teetering in monuments, cocooned time

On the verandah, in the darkening afternoon

Blue-grey ink in chatter falling

To leave pages raw as skeins

In Japan (I say) they have a word for unread books

(I don’t remember exactly what it is)

The intentionality as beautiful as

A cicada’s dream of spring

Shoots bare as nibs from naked branches

and petals, soft and veined and blind and

so many days, thick as loaves, drunk as hope

not yet read

not yet written

Categorized as Poems

A tree so high I never came down

In that whistledown Sunday afternoon
I took a balsa plane my father made
giddy as glue! sleight as bones
rondels filmed as downcast eyes
on each seesaw wing
held loose as tinder
climbed as high
limbs laced between
the crag-barked branches of a light-struck pine
long-tailed birds all fleeing
in the sough and shriek of wind
let it go
with that slingshot fling
as if I came to slay giants (never could)
almost falling
knee fishhooked ‘round
a branch as thin as promises
forearm raked in shallow furrows
a hard kind of thirst
bark against my cheek and brow
hard as callused hands
a stitch, a breath
ribs punched in
waited til
the stars all died
in cloud cast aftermath
gone magnetic resonance blue
street lights, windows flicking on
in a far and moth-warm offering
the plane ink-dark, almost gone 
to a curtailed horizon
made that simple choice
between forever, falling

On This Side Of The Wall

The sun’s a smile

A brindle dog rabbit spurs

The sleep of fields

A swollen exhalation

I stole the green flecks from your eyes

Kept them fluttering and moth warm

Between my close cupped hands

A scratch, a breath

Crooned the ocean sound

Of half-remembered summer

I am still here

You have far to go

We are monsters

Holding hands

In our easy way

The sky almost burning

All epitaphs by glowered sun erased

Too dark, too bright for funerals

Categorized as Poems

By The Shore With Ink & Oranges

You turned the peel in bare hands
Grimaced at
The limonene sting
The universe unfurling
How it imperfectly fell
As if knowing became naked
The embryo inside
Weak as stained glass skin
Theses days they put on chicken wire
To bulwark the shore
For glass houses and negligently cast stones
When glory was a thing
Broken easily in derelictions
As if that were prayer 
But half sideways
The emetus with a life of its own
Written when I thought I died
The sea exhaling all around
That estuarine scour
Of brine and diesel on the page
Screwed it up - threw it away
Read the impressions
As if ink was thin as life – a tide
Below, between machine ruled lines
A few, illegible gouged words
Relentless in their parallelograms
Living in some now alien hand
Tore it out but
Irregardless of how much I erase
It is the welt you left
Littoral in reprise

The War At Easter

The milk tastes off in wartime
Clammy on the tongue 
Even when you are so distant 
You can hardly hear the metal bend
You make galaktoboureko
So thick the shape returns
Wondering why Easter
Falls in archaic calendars 
Each year on new days
As if martyrdom were inexact in its demands
I imagine Medea’s tears
In thick and sweet and distilled stains 
When she learned she ate her young
Time Is a wolf, you say
And in one deft hand
Break another egg

This poem is a war crime

The prisoners have butterflies for mouths

Teeth bared like burnt-out buildings

They say exactly what we want

– without undue coercion 

Just the slightest quaver

Of the jaw and throat

Where stubble hides the muzzled bruises

We lied, we are wrong

We came to drink your blood

These are eyes not camouflage

In haloes on our wings

Here the children have hands of bone

Bandannas over nose and mouth

In the stench they forgot somehow to sing

The sun is bright in vain

Inviolate on the mountainside

The studio has that flicker scent

Of blitzkrieg and cigars

when you are almost halfway up 

Back arched in trapezoid envy

The sky is less steady than it seems

Icarine- the too harsh blue

Of interrupted broadcasts

Looking up, we make new stars

Name them in bravado 

See the smithereens

Cascade in new intaglios

On the surface of the eye

Blink the warmth of tears

Gravity has an equivocal grip

When you are almost halfway down

Knuckles raw as dinosaurs

Feet arched in Quetzalcoatl torsions

Sending hubris, sending love

We will solve this war

Like a misheard refrain

That thick comforting savour 

Of something on the stove

Notes played and played and played again 

Til, despite what we have heard

What we hear is right

What  we  hear  now  has

Eternally been right

Sleeping Under Bridges

After the thaw

We gave dogs for the recovery

To gnaw burnt bones

With that slathered drawl

That brooks no interference

With the jut and fragmentary remains

Until all such blasphemies were gone

The numb colour

Of this too thin desecration

We are in the onramp’s hull

You and me, me and him

Earth and concrete carbon black

Cars stretch like the evening sun

Speared across the dregs of tarns

Rumble and are gone

As if a metronome


                                               and faltered

In distorted syncopations 

Brayed a catastrophe laugh

The smeared window

To another world

Broken when you fell in

Dragged up again

In piecemeal resurrection 

A coin flips from thumb to hand


As if there was any other choice

Monoxide dreams like rain

Your eyes watch the curtailed dawn

For a distant star

Too late

In them the fishhook sun

Pulls you awake again