Still Running From The Breath Of Stars

The bed falls towards the centre of the earth

Beyond the roof’s reptilian back

There is something earnest

In the dust of stars

As if the night’s sparse rigour

could sustain your waning exhalation 

Until you were empty and it was full 

The rumbling descent of slowing cars

Occludes your ghosting breath

Lights an alien red

As if you breathed out

Another world

That

In dark obscured distance

Still running you breathed in

Sawdust horses

Pull at the reins of sleep
you curve away
caparisoned horses
jangling with 
a head thrown preen
motes and stars pinwheeling


I thought I had you
the circus brightness
of your smile
the acrobats of laughter


But, a rain dull echoing
of shod iron feet


On the roof
a mocking skeleton dancing


It is hard to know
if redoubts
are weak as second thoughts


The shapes you left in sawdust 
now uncertain

For a little while

The underside of the table
Has colours like the Sphinx
In one of those arch
Murder mystery telemovies 
Where white men in white suits
Pontificate on how the Mamaluk
Beys were defeated by Napoleon
With the help of an ancient desert curse
Discovering Thebes, Dendera and Philae 
In the wake of Janissaries fleeing
Their horses hooves curving up
A sandstorm’s furied face
For the uncomfortable planar shapes
Of magic carpets to ride on
Eating the uneven edge
As if the broad, contemplative forehead
Of Africa had a migraine
The pry ram ids seen from space tack sharp
The women pouring jewels
In elegantly panelled dining rooms
Of cruise ships much too big
For undredged river beds
Discussing losses at baccarat
With the vestal aplomb
Of supremely innocent naïveté 
Prophets in reed baskets
Floating amongst the crocodiles 
Muttering chemin de fer
Derricks and dirigibles emerging
From a postcard landscape
Smoke haze from the burning
A pink stamp on the wood
Almost wholly illegible 
As if the substrate were once 
Prime meat, now the ancient dead
But curled up quietly
Amongst the galleried forest
Of laminate and spindle legs
The close carpet smell 
With the noisy zigzag pattern
So full of time
Nevertheless a safe place to sleep
At least 
For a little while 

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

In the curled leaf of your eye, still full with sleep

The morning has holes
Like a summer leaf
Withered by all those excesses
The swelling lymphatic process
Curtailed again, in that shirking act
That ebbs in sacrifice
Closes, a bent fist
Inside the marble of your eye
Thought you had turned the world
Inside out, the moon-thin meniscus
Serpentine and fluttering, in return from sleep
For that, the ocean dark below
All the pooling magma
Defying sunrise (you said the name
Of some lost shape)
Between wakefulness, and
The still suffused surface