In the corner of my mouth, the long road from forever

A bit overdressed
I thought, it would be cold up here
Green parrots and pink galahs 

On the lawn, amongst bare-shouldered trees 
Each fossicked seed a new returning soul
Borne into uncanny blue
In startled opal fire

Coins in my pocket (for you know who)
The weight of unpaid debts
That lock of hair the colour of the dead
Swollen gums we used to hide behind

Full of street cornered threats and invocations

Some broke sticks of chalk to write
On the footpaths and the walls
Nothing particularly legible 
Sad and lost and proud held lines
With that difficult kind of joy
You get in wreaths of disarranged native flowers

Coming down, high and desolate ways
A cattle truck swagger
The blind menace of hungry chrome
Eating every crow-crookèd road
The hills old dog dun and brindle backed
Swaying like a mercy

Scythed my mourning face
In another town
Nowhere to the sea

Through the rust stained eye
(Thought of) hurricanes and
Carelessly dropped ice-creams
Fragments laved away

A new day’s shining face 
An endless broken promise
Never going back

Got those old commissure scars again
From too much hard smiling

Six pieces of a parti-coloured boy

1 Skateboard Blues
The day is loose
As old Chuck Taylor’s
Worn thin on the side that scrapes the road
Negligent laces flailing out
With each bent-kneed chasing kick

You will fly
Before you break your bones
Down a mile grade
To a ragged curve
The skeletons of half-constructed houses
Windows vacant with the violence
Of embryonic lives
Watching in centurion stillness
An actinic flare from satellites
Full of esoteric patterns
A distraction glinting in your eyes

At koan speed
The grit bites the polyethylene
With amphetamine vibrato
The swerving car, the looming cliff
A brimstone voice pronounces
On the whipping air
How the sun is roaring
You make a choice and hit
Shouldering the bitumen
Gravity and friction
Tearing you apart
A skipped-stone re-entry
In decaying orbits
All satellites eventually burn

Tumbling in piecemeal deceleration down the road
Forgiving her, her hard and molten surface
Softness just a vagary of time
Stumbling home
She holds you like a mother anyway

2 The Northern Line
We leave at ten
For the northern line
The morning still as hunted birds
Quiet as statues (the inept kind)
That scowl and scowl and scowl
But never make a noise

The glass has shaded imagos
Of others and the self
Peering in as we peer out
Jostled lines of luggage
On parallel lines of shelf
With the Damocles threat
Of unruly boarders
(We cringe and mutter blandishments)
Making statuesque complaints

The day – train long
Crosses roads with crucifixion bells
Jangling off and on, the widows
In their voodoo coiffures, scowling
(Playing mahjong, worn as scrimshaw
in the berth the next along)
The way crows peck and cackle
At desultory bones
Thin as sunset, at the roar
Of elements and intersections

We’re almost there, she turning says
Face hunched, the butterfly, tightly pinned
To the landscape of her hair, in the half-light
A shadow passes, (pointing, she scrapes a clumsy wing)
We lurch on again
Spilling tiles like the end of rain

3 God Made A Monster
God broke my rib to make you
Tikanis said, with that mad
Patriarch gleam, of Charlton Heston
Kneeling on the beach
Cursing us from his fruit box pulpit
Disowning his own madness
The luminol on late night murder mysteries
(On channel seventeen)
Speaking in tongues
Of gout expletives
Wondering, then, in the septic glow, who god made
From my broken jaw
That in silence never healed
Or the toes of my left foot
Without that desperate ape dumb purchase
A hobbled curl to walk
The radius just below
The ball joint of the wrist
Grown bat long and turning
From the threatened cliff
With an owl chagrin
At the failure to grasp
The small fleet prayer
Echoing in the concussion
Of skull concaved
By that knot-wood, rabbit-punch fist
Resounding with a brim and lucha sermon
In revelant smoke and fire
What monster in these wounds
God made

4 Lawnmower Song
Mercurochrome leaves a stain
Falling through the lawnmower afternoon
On cotton sheets tied in hard knots
Climbing weary trees
With a droning four stroke threat
The handles lashed with electrical tape
In black bands like mourning

A stone skips, against the dune of rib and arm
As if I were a desert river
Flowing backwards, with the static sound
Of the fraying evening, howls like the birds
Left by slowly eddied blemishes

The water with the algal taint
Of a lost green world
Sucking at the leech of blood
With a chlorine hunger

Gone pale as plasterboard
Broken so the interstice of chalk
Compresses a thousand angry lessons
To the remaining constancies, of a vanished sea

Lapping still;
In a life the human heart
Beats three billion times
Each moment a new strange twist
At the cage, as if escape were possible
Not just a song it sings
Of blusters and frets
Until the thread of all such strings are stretched
Tight around the blade, until the motor stops 
Too weak beyond the face
Of recognition

5 Above The Eternal Freeway
In the breath of summer
We fell out of the cat soft night
Looking for stars in jagged edges
I said, Billy there’s siren trouble now
When you threw the stolen typewriter
(Car crash orange, Lettera 32)
From the sway-backed overpass
To the chrome and roar
Of the eternal freeway
To see what kind of poem it wrote
In the maw of scattered keys and broken teeth
It said something like the death of stars
Or (maybe) the birth of universes
Paltry in our humdrum calculations
The pressure released from the scream
Of burning filth and halogen
A scattering impetus
We fled into the argon dark
Bruising the arms of innocence
In percussive corrugations
On our fence-tin cradles
A jaw crack fury that the indecipherable words
In miracles and oracles
From the skewed deceleration
Of tyre punctured lives
Bore only this

6 Car Crash & The Breath Of Stars
I imagine, the interceding years
Gone in the fading glow
Of the taillights of fast departing cars
Insistent and as terrible
As a hand of broken glass
Cupped from the tremorous water
(Leant perilously close)
Burning under bridges
‘Oumuamua rabid in the sky
I suppose, my father is a rail
Where we crashed, chrome wreathed around
In congratulatory laurels
My mother is a tree, somehow shadowed in the road
Somehow gone, the enigmatic objects
In the dark far distance, emitting indecipherable signals
(The squalled, undying hiss
of AM radio)
With causes and with consequences
In the enclosing shroud
(Fragments swathed to the curving edge of dark)
We can never understand
Only that, trees like stars, like the burnt out shells of cars
Deign only speak, in their private languages
In words as bright and lost, as gasping exhalations

From the dining car, a river

On the train you hold the waxed-paper cup
In two hands, careful, as if you caught 
A butterfly

With seesaw determination, as the carriages shunt
At the points, where the rails diverge and intersect
In that clumsy, stagger back way
You always thought unnecessary 

A summer cold is just past all sensible belief
(you say)
I think how you mantis, turn 
The taut, wrung out cloth of your neck
Outside, the hard, enticing glint, as the river passes

When you return, careless this time
With another cup, held at a clumsy distance
Like the besmirched paw
Of a particularly embarrassing child
Shadows lifting from your back
I consider, the isthmus of your face
The changing half-moon light
Where the sea erodes

One day there will be
Nothing left (I think)
The way sometimes, in our peculiar distances
All details are effaced

But for today
When you tilt your head
To better catch the trip-trap of the rails
The silt of time
In the hawkish, estuarine rake
Marks out the familiar, negotiable terrain

If I only knew the legend
I would keep the map
But, instead, watch the run, of unevening colours
The roads becoming flood-torn 
As the paper soaks
The spilt tea from the tray

The journey only ever takes us
This one way
Crumpling, with that mildly sneered distaste
We are lost