We crucified the whale

We made the shape in bowsprits 
Dovetailed, bolted tight
Scrimmed and windlassed in the ink
Of all our oceanly delights
Fifty-six ells long, and the upright 
Measured twice, a golden mean
Embedded in the earth
To a sepulchre’s joist
This world and the next
In right-angled tandem
Justice uttered on our lips
Harpooned the beast
With that pneumatic fleeing snake
Watched it vomit up
Ambergris like sacrament
I think perhaps, the drowned preserved within
Found at last release
Drew it up in hawsers
Netted in those snarling knots
That shrink until the rope begins to cut
Block and tackle an ugly face
Double tongued, the bronze
Gone to the verdigris
Of brute seas
In the ichor deep
I am not sure
If the heart
Or time slows
As the weight
Of slumping water 
Only that
The swelling aortic arch
Is a bell
Where the silence
Of the god echoes
Under the excruciating beat
Of a slow approaching hammer
Pierced the pale side
For a crown, a strangler’s kelp
The gulls in swooped laments 
We will eat this lord alive
Rendered fat in slick fat slabs
from jigsawed hide
That stinking lard
To light the blue-green evening
With a flame’s slight harem dance
Caught in the Salome writhe
Of Antipas’s demand
To keep the god at bay
Watched the monster
Burning bright
For three days and three nights
All came to see, and revel
In his Vitas revelries 
After, almost completely gone
Charred vines of rope
Hung from the spars
Still half asleep
The waves in serry knelt
A king tide about the crucifix
The rigs of carnival drowned or gone
I ash blind
Augured, anvilled, awled 
On the creature’s back
A sun-gilt morning road
To another sea

A scintilla of desire

In the French film

Almost  a thousand feet

A bright pinhole of light

The discomfiting sprocket sound

Girls sleep the shape of dunes

The shifting sands of innocence

In the uncertain distance

Horizon spilled into the sky

The azure

Hard as a mirage

With grains like glass

Where you hoped

For water

Minotaur colloquy

In the jasmine arbour
Falling drunk and pierced through
We count stars like days
Breathe the breath of turning leaves
The winter bronze of evening windows


Pretty but, one day it will down this tree
Like cowboy Theseus sprawled on the back
Of the fleeing Minotaur
In
Excruciating slow motion


It eats children (I say)


At who’s behest?


A ring hard through the nose
Quite angry


Daedalus made the place, trapped me here
Chagrined at his son’s burnt wings
Offered nothing, for repast, but disobedient youth
Arrogantly immortal


The sea is soft
Later, in the mild afternoon
I pick it up, (why are my hands so cold?)
Artefacts of light
In my skin as if
Fish left ghosts
Sand undermined
In mute outrush, deflecting
Wavering against
The unsupporting air
From bird-wheeling hands
Cast it back


I watch from halfway up
the balustrade of your ribs
Wondering if, at the top
There is a rat’s maze
Or some other unimagined land

The bright day comes

When you turn the shape of dunes
We fall from the sea 


A blue goddess of such auguries
Smoke, curling from her lip
Lolling as she inhales
Lithe beings of it 
Into her mouth and nose again
In a pariah prayer of victory 


The villa has terracotta stairs
Rising to the blemish of a cat
A black sepulchre underneath
The zigzag shadows sharp enough
For suicide, or misadventure
(The evidence always inconclusive)
A mouse approach
If you slip, a creature
Languidly swishing
A stain hesitantly creeps
Down the angles
Of this laughable geometry


Where we hide, a horned beast
Stamps its foot

By the enclosing sea

At the beach we fall like Carthage
Tasting salt
In the dunes butterflies grace
Small stars on the bramble bush
Bright as copper burning
There is no one here but dreams of wanderers
Worn as sea glass
In twisted nubs that fire never made
Green and agate against your lips
A taste like mermaid skin, you say
I say, as if
For curling winds
We bow our heads
Your face big as the sea-lorn moon
Pocked with hollow frowns
A garland temple on your brow
Pollen on your breath
All fell down
Two mouths make butterflies, of course
Flying away
In utter blue
To wind-torn speechlessness