Politics in Wartime

I whistle in rough kin
To a camaraderie of magpies
They return trilled warnings in reply
As if to say you are no one 
That we know, a thief of songs
Pied and clumsy
As any bastard’s fledge
We dispute the global south
With that stalagmite part of speech
You say it depends
On which way you uphold the map
I say words
Are the same in any language
Pulling flames like petals from the edge
One for love, two for hate, and on
Til bare husks are left
Black and hard as any rasp
Cracked, with a little salt
Makes a beggarly repast
You say these things are
Almost the same
I say, halfway home
Smoke coiled between my lips
They are almost different

She Shrugs Cloud Shadow

The tv spills a cold, invasive blue

I have an impression 

Of you walking on my spine

As if I were an arc and cable bridge

And you a monster movie freak

Grown so large and petulant that

None could help but fall

The sea below hard and pliable as new discoloured bruises

Tear it down, you say

Crush them all beneath your unbound feet

As if the stillness

Before and after earthquakes

Were merely punctuation

Wrath is love, you write on the sky

The moon moves farther away each year

I still abide, calling in that silent way

That I have always had

She shrugs

Cloud shadow, listens

I Gave You Tired Flowers (In The Stained Glass Evening)

You have the wary crackle
Of radio in war time
Uncertain of whom listens, and
Whom exactly speaks
In formal pronunciations
Desperate and resigned
As slowly burning ships

What do you recommend
For half-life —neither exactly
Celebration, nor lament
Mostly, perhaps
At resolve’s inordinate delay
A smirk, exasperated
With brown sugar and cinnamon 
Baby’s breath, aspidistra, nectarines
Gone overripe —soft
As waning summer—
For the intoxicating scent
Arranged in a chimera
Of cellophane as nauseating as breaking glass

Well, we all have something to sell
The static hard dismay
Just perhaps not quite
Drunk as wilted flowers
Pretty but
The stain indelible

In The Space Between Your Robot Breaths

Still the day, all lantern faced

my name is carnival

in alien respiration

throat coiled and translucent

my hollow, ringing accordion

machines, and grace

when the heart in moments 

repeats one note

beauty in its revocations

returns and is still

I lost you on the beach at the end of the world

These are private words
It is not for you to know
But me to say
You turned
Under a ragged sun
Only then I remembered 
How the world ends
Not with a whimper
(As Mr Eliot said)
But a shrivelled leaf
Almost an hour gone
The chink of knives on cups
Sour coffee breath
In that aching clarity
Between wakefulness and sleep
I waited while
You went on ahead
I hate it here you said
But we have nowhere left to go
Except this curl of beach
Tonguing the acid sting
Of salt and vinegar on cracked lips
That common benediction 
I will swim 
Til my ear aches
With the conch deep voice
Of your chasing echo
Ribs a heaving predator
Breathing in
A swelling tide
Breathing out
A stitch in time
Just like Jesus had
No more walking
Face a squall
Towards the sunpath, wounding
The shallow sea now gone
Leaving brine and sulphur
Wary, scuttling things
The day again renews
The shape of your shadow thins
Over loose corrugations 
Slips beneath my feet
When I turn head on
To almost forever
In blinding scintillations

A surfeit of nectarines

I have clean earth in my hands

You shake, a sea of trees

Humpty-dumpty falling

I am drunk on nectarines

Face half bellyache green

The obverse

The deep maroon

Of summer’s lost eclipse

Clouds thin as desperation

Where we once bent like ships

Buoyant but

Never quite losing

A carefully layered union 

There is almost nothing

Left up here but sky

And your warm-honeyed faced

Swollen-cheeked

Jack-knife crooked

Strung on the limb

Turn aside

Far away

Water breaks, rejoins

Curves like swans, dissolving

The heat is a churl 

The unctuousness

Of sickly pine

Arm in arm we go inside

Laugh-collapse

On the ricochet linoleum 

The Day My Kite Flew High As The World

Caught a blue day
On a sharp paper wing
Thin throat a-howl
Until the looped string
Broke with that strange
Updrawing weight
Of a new jealous wind’s
Stray trumpeting
Gone almost too high
Almost to glass
Almost as thin
As the last shard
In your blue orb’s
Sun struck glance
No longer you
No longer me
No longer see
Gone paper thin
A scrabble of ink
Through translucent skin

Arc

Slug trail skies
The day in x-ray hurts
Where I pull
At the blinds
To dismiss the shapes of frowning
Dust spills a mica race
Like promises in the air
Far above
Rorschach arcs
Where jet planes
Have cut between
We drift in parallelograms
Apart
But for this too complicated screed
That we laud in hailed contexts
What in more intimate reflections 
We dismiss
A shell of broken porcelain
Once devoid
All meaning becomes
Tenuous as inconstant praise
Your mouth the sun
Behind hard clouds
                                     slowly spoken 
Makes the shape of                             doubt                              
                                     slow forsaken

Artefact

You say

morning people

aver the sun

spilt homilies from

hands bent to dismiss

for too long

I refuse to let things pass

jealousies, an arc weld heat

the bronze, once globulous and molten

rigid in that deceptive, ugly shape

of desert rivers 

I will lay here

for a thousand years

inconsolate as sand

until I almost evaporate

still, that mica glint

when you pass and

almost catch my eye

Is

as bright as drowning

once again

Ode To A Dead Starling

Did the birds tell you

In tremulous warning

We will build another sky in kinder hues 

The air as thin and bright as diagrams

Of escaping oscillations

Held against a winding sun

Bury my hand

Time’s mortared skin

In earth as warm as sleep

Whistling hymns to magpies in return 

A knife-hard split

At the corner of my mouth

Opens a sharp, metallic sting

Oxalis grows where you died

As if luck were grown a stranger shape

As if this voice of clay and air

Were another wanting prize