Cleat

I cleat the soil

A soft black earth

Strewn with flecks

The frozen skin of mica

Long since gone to dust

Leave a mark like a cross

A promised, graven treasure

We span a gentling curve

The distant water blinding 

There is a stone like a ship

Defiantly sinking

I think

No one I know is buried here

Sylvia’s Washing Line

The hills hoist tilts
In windmill indecision 
Hung by its own petard
Which always sounded 
Quite uncomfortable to me
As if the rust stained bag of pegs
Slung like a smile below the crank
Were some brash sporran 
Not just a place to keep your keys
As Dr Freud would have said 
A tangling cat’s cradle
Trailing kelp ends
The wire hung
In slack loops
For cockatoos to swing
In the asbestos afternoon
The rain a loudening drum
A cry, the bird is gone
Shoulders wet
The leaves and blades
In eye twitch shuddering
Turn the other way
The trapeze as empty
As Sylvia’s dead trees

Almost Human

I check to make sure
You have knees and ankles
Not like people on TV
Who almost always don’t have either
Not sure
How they locomote 
Perhaps on wheels
Perhaps they float
But at least their waists
Sometimes appear
And their smiles are full of hope

Published
Categorized as Poems Tagged ,

Here On Midsummer’s River, We So Elegantly Fall

At your party I will stand
Compliant as a hat rack
Carefully holding parasols and scarves
(An iron kind of evening — neither cool nor bright)

You will swan about the room
Medusa bleak and breaking arms
Smiling with an executioner’s grace
Bodice laced
With an hourglass desperation

I am still angular as adolescence
By the kitchen door
Holding these strange and lurid canapés
(Pierced through and with an iridescent shine
like the mortised remains
of blue admiral butterflies)

Crying for your midnight emancipation 
(Your powdered mien begins to crack like glass)
In the beveled edge of gilded mirrors
Catching signs of extraordinary life
For an exit, feint
Collapsing in three miles of sequinned cloth
As if you were the last enchanted avé
On midsummer’s river

Of course
It is not yet daylight savings here
My hands too full of walking sticks and woollen mittens
I wear my face at 3 a.m. (or quarter past)
And watch
Letting you fall slowly to the floor

Victory

Lost my voice

Words dry as funerals

For those missed, but

Not particularly loved

The winch enjambed 

Halfway down

The earth’s slate and crumbling

Throat, a shout in stone

Pyrrhic –I think they say

All those glazed white dancers

Carefully incised, but

Startled, paper eyed

I am simply

— Erased in evening

To a more consuming kind of light

       — Now at a loss

Medusa In Her Salon

I put a cigarette in my hair, forget
Light another 
Until I’m pouring smoke
Like Typhon
Or some other creature
With an overture’s burning eyes
And a mouth like Hades

That young Perseus, you know
Wing-heeled and with
A penchant for mirrors
I would not so boldly
Demand he look himself in the face
With all that ire and confrontation 
Of time’s bronzed blemish

Burnished sunsets come what may
That Zeus, half bull, half swan
Made of minotaurs a laughing stock
For all his hubris and charm
Cattle calling from the Parthenon
Milk bar across the road

He always complains
About the poison smell
It is just ammonia, foolish man
To colour snakes like hair
Ruby, gold, auburn, blonde
A fired sunset
Your face, when the winds change
Almost turned to stone

Angels & Dandelions

I will
Dismay you with dandelions
Adrift around your face
As if you were some woebegotten saint 
Surprised by torment as least as much as benediction
Too far, you say
A weed by any other name
Will still defeat
Your more refinéd Eden
But
How they gentling fall and cling 
To your hair and lips and brow
As if angels in their sorrow
Humbly kissed

Nine Pages

The gouge is in the fibres

As if permanence were

          dependant

Solely on the fury of the hand

Each syllable a bird

         Chiselling the sky

         Not a cloudbleak day

But

Lines challenging erasure

As if this were a palimpsest

For a greater world

Where all the fragments

        I forgot

Cajoled

            In the dance of thunder

A trailed whisper

The shock yet to come

I pour out the glass

Shake the aching in my wrist

      Bone cracking like the onset hail

    Are you listening

Through the detritus of time

   Dig a little deeper

   Strata weak as flesh

Fissile as a moment’s lost idea

Mostly illegible

The space between the lines

          has more to say

   We ache the way

The minotaur does

In our maze

     Divided

The string is frayed

         Ariadne, shorn of her display

Knits up time again

    The hammer knock

Of the torn page

        Throw it out a crumpled

           Day

                  til lost

Felice Averno

The house has eyes

A sunburned peel of paint

The silver underneath

Of unevening decay


Summer slaps me down

Pulls air from my lungs

Huffs it out with the ghosts

Of dandelions, each withered dance 

Asbestos dry and sharp

As any dust-devil resistance


I hide within, the screen door scrape

Of your hinged words, a growling cringe

The air softly sieved

Into wormed cascades, rejoined again

As if, like poems

The old, familiar sounds

Were made anew


Pull-to the door

A haze of half-closed days

A fine meridian 

Seems to say


Abandon hope

All who venture here

Bread & Rivers

As you knead
Your eyes distend like rivers
Behind half reflecting glass
Frames marked with the bird foot marks
Of your anxious imposture 
Imprison half your face
As if gulls had fled
The knot between your teeth
As if you could in misered focus
Taste skittish thoughts
In that hard bitten fibrillation
The more piquant
Rank sourness
For a palsied freedom
I do not know how you see
Through that constant pouring
A cattish nonchalance 
Scrape with the axe blade of your hand
At some casual irritation 
The fissile texture 
Of flour on your skin
As if inside, a statue were emerging
Eggshell and porcelain
–Bisque I think they say
Like the soup
Somehow in birthed paleness, lithe
As if the outer self
A thing of frowns and creases
Of variegations more imposited than arranged
Were the shell, the now ossified thing
You have like any wiser being outgrown