Saturday, 31 August 2013

2 New Poems

Dawn At Corrib

The morning's mist rose low, sallow beneath
blinkered waves sheeted grey, bits of dapple
sun beam, fighting of kick and shove to
touch first the greenery blades.

The air tasted of sugar jars, blessed grains
still taking on a nightshade's character,
the sweetened wine of 11 o'clock, half-past
bedding hours of the reasoned.

The paths were winding, stone's throw to water,
companions of ancient kings, their names
pinned to city council clapboard, some kind of
dirty trudging through uneven pebble.

Echoes of dressed men's dead tongues,
carried on the river bans, shelves of
worn stone in four-four time's march

back to the open ocean.

Wanted To

The fleeting feeling was mutual,
that sense of lonesome wound nursing, paper-tack
walls of four euro wine and bloodied aloof,
little more than the always thing,
ever-present the same pacing cornered room.

The clumsy invitations to teas and coffees,
hand stitched to mouth in beggar's fashion,
were less than printed paper in worth,
more than golden chalice in appearance,
offered to lip in known refusal.

The open window, lacking in curtain light,
wasn't something to choose all for the time:
it didn't take, waiting for loving faces
like two whistlestop trains, crossed, never
heard the sound again.

Friday, 30 August 2013

2 New Poems

You Never Go Far, Really

It would be like me to seem drunkard's clumsy,
without a liquor’s drop to my name, sloshing,
spinning about the glass, in ill-suited fashions
of cut khaki and pocket cloth, I never had
a chance.

It would be like me to lose eyeglasses,
shape finders and little bits of paper with the world
scribbled on them; all falling from possessions'
memory, the things that could see our
way home.

It would be like me to take four months from
a job to be done in eight, leaving it behind
to a whirring of engine, an ocean drop of
continental cloud; some kind of friend
I am.

It would be like me to half-heart escapes,
still being a same pillar of opposed calm,
nerves nauseous as thrown stone, flashing
green light never was something grand
for me.

And it would be like you to remind.

European Cobblestone

The first thing was the bitter hobble, landing
gear on yellow-strip concrete, same as
countless still as weary, the tearing shreds
of stomach woozy with small cups and cellophane,
finally to still as eyes
came open with newborn rubbings.

Next it was the flitting thought, the back-and-forth
of ceramics unfamiliar, never to meet ourselves,
the same walking across again, would
have soaked in the rain, tempered cold
with hearty abandon, reckless to the touch,
the same as their belongings.

And it was the first of the gin and perfume,
the bitter pint and pitter-patter from tourist
shutterbulbs, the last sudden impulses of
childhood's wishful banks, crossing rivers
with recognition of thousands of small
turns, little deaths, we each were taking,

And it felt like I'd made it.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

2 New Poems

By The Time I Got To Dublin

By the time I got to Dublin,
they swept the glass bottles from the avenue,
the cars sat sensibly across the round-about,
the clenches fists of '16, of '09
faded from view, their names echoes in
bronze statues, and white spray paint thereupon.

By the time I got to Brussels,
the city split to three blocks,
clock tower chimes counting past as
hometowns tend to, nothing more;
I came to see chaos, creation,
it was an afternoon.

By the time I got to Prague,
the iron of cross and curtain had been,
the words still about the air from
lips loosened by beer and foreign accents;
no longer the grandiose struggle, the problems
more mundane, parking next to cubist lampposts.

By the time I was home with you,
a thousand new voices had rung through
my ears and yours, we smiled
a bit less to each other than before;
it was the wisdom of aging,

knowing everything important had happened.

Letters In Boxes

I had a box of letters I'd written to old lovers,
well, I'd use that word, the closest one,
they'd never say they were, silly me,
with his huffing and puffing, night-time
flop sweat and greatly protruding gut, the very
picture of a cartoonists' handiwork, the last
thing to appear in the throes of pleasure.

The box weighed heavy, I fell for many,
they were adolescent, gushing at best,
fawning at worst, something that could only
be written from storybook rhymes and battered film,
never from an actual being, drying and serious;
it was a way of dehumanizing, making sense
of the passing time, hormonal effects.

I'd retrieve it now and then, trace fingers to
names (loss of weeping and smiles).
Some drew close back, names known
and known to me, gave a great
chuckle when we talk now;
I thought I was no good at hiding,
maybe that was wrong too.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

2 New Poems

Flights From Newark

The roads were a circulatory lighting,
bounding through the dusk clouds,
as ocean turned to squared farm,
farm to looping concrete, prefab
constructions, the same million dollars,
spent over and over again.

We gave way, three thousand miles of briny air,
the river of shipping containers flowing
in crane's time long to the horizon,
the last strains of Staten Island's finery
flickering on to the pale ghost
of the coming Irish dawn.

Dashed again, feet crossed, squeezed,
between two rests, formalized polystyrene,
rubber-stamp size package of pretzels,
and cola to keep ourselves company;
I had a partner for conversation, name lost

in a light-headed haze now.

Meeting Old Crushes for Coffee

When all the other rooms had parties,
swelling deep bodies passing, echoes of
whiskey barrels and draught distilling,
I'd just sit in with my books and highlighters,
self-righteous in the glory of refusal;
the same thing with the flip-switches, the
silence as flashlights carried past the dorm window.

I heard it all on Monday morning,
anyways, reasons for smug smirking.
She'd love this, though, clear and sober,
desperate and loving me, wound from
film stocks and cigarette burns,
the feeling I could wait another twenty
years, as long as her patience.

Far past freshman times, after a sip or
two of whiskey, a pint or six of slushy
conversation, still the same; the luster of
adolescent daydream, now as squint-giving
reflection, no less empowered for it.
Braver men than I would try, admit something,
be a writ of witticism, painter of poetry.

Other people could have parties:
I needed two planes, and an ocean.  

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

I Left My Heart In Dresden (A Poem in Five Parts)

Decided this needed to be posted separately for space purposes.

I Left My Heart in Dresden
I woke early in the dawn,
The state radio screaming its
Nonsense, the glinting black
Of the militia men stomping heavy
The cobblestone outside and
Knocking the window shutters
With the wood of their rifles.

I grumbled in mute voice,
Hauled my boots from
The lockbox at bed’s foot,
And laced them, drew
A shirt, a jacket,
A pant, from the closet
And, fingers numbed with
Night, buttoned carefully.

Taking the stale bread and
Dulled tea leaves from the
Cupboard, I sawed with a
Boot knife to rend a wheat
Chunk off, and sprinkled
Leaves, like salt, in
The mug’s bottom.

Tapping my shoe, unwantedly,
On the board-floor to the
Shortwave trumpet blares and
Cymbal crashes from the houses
Across the alley way; I
Went to shout, to scream and
Yell, at them to cease the noise.

Though I was never one to speak up.

From Berlin to Bavaria, I thought
The scene the same: men swigging
Their ash-burnt coffee, reading
Papers writ-long with Horst Wessel
And Rosenberg doctrine, women
Cooking the last of the family’s eggs
In scrap iron pans, making
One stretch to feed five.

The clock above struck an
Octet, and I dragged my way
Up the staircase, feeling the
Wallpaper peel beneath
Fingertips; the speakers commanding:
“German strength, German strength.”

I pulled a work cap
From atop the closet bar,
Stuffed the shirt with two
Cigarettes and made one last
Move towards the bed.

All the while, stepping lightly,
Not wishing to disturb, I
Had been wandering not to

“Dear, I’m afraid, you’ll
Have to face today,
Where not a thing is
Different since the last,
But, as well, where we
Still know our love.”

The birds scattered amongst
The sky like autumn leaves,
Running like shrapnel, like
Buckshot, from the draft
Winds of targets and great stars.

The siren screamed in red and
Black, lights warning of coming
Brimstone. Becoming deaf from the
Constant whir, the constant whine,
I ran from the line, dropping
The hammer to concrete with a

Mechanist’s clatter, rushing past
The men with holsters and
Fatigues, and the women
Clutching children to their
Skirts, to the house.

As the sky fell in around
Me, around the whole city,
The clouds seemed lit with
Kerosene, the rooftops
Set with charges and dynamite.
Rubble slammed upon itself,

Revelling greatly in its excited
Futility: no rock, no fire,
No gun, no act of man nor
God, could stop my thought,
My legs, my heart, from movement.

I spun around the final corner,
Breathless brain pounding from
Heat and noise, but sorely
Determined in exhaustion. To
Not lose myself, to not lose
Ourselves, to not be torn

Asunder by mere fires of
Men’s construction, by only
The ersatz whims of will-
Breaking shrapnel: no, I
Said, they shall not shatter


There was no sound as I stared
Into the impenetrable, oil-black,
Like night, of the smoke,

Hemmed by the red brick and
Smashed grey steel (last testament
That once a home was made

Here). Choking on the fumes
Like the last gasp of a
Dying engine, I slid beneath

A hut made of two cracked
Slabs, searching for a
Breath, a pulse, an open

Eye, amongst the pallor
And chaos. A sight of
Gold, or linen, or porcelain

Being all I wanted. That I
Did see, laying like a
Lily thread amongst black

Ash, yes, there she
Was, but not the same,
Having no breath, nor pulse

Nor nothing.

I hail this clear beer of
Vienna to all those men
Who drowned us beneath the
Ceaseless drive of their
Vision, the clanging ardour
Of their trelice-like thought:

For Herr Gobbles, who ran his
Speakers all over wide
City blocks, linking houses
Upon homes together with
His hate, his fear, and
Stole away our people’s

For Herr Goering, whose
Promises of unfallen
Bombs upon our good,
Just, glorious Reich,
Were wiped clear in
Smouldering wreckage of
Buildings, cities, lives

From Bavaria to Berlin.

For Herr Adolf, the lovely
Gentlemen at the front of
The crowd, a neat moustache,
His hand raise over us
All: a guidance, a symbol.
Oh, he was ours, ours
Alone, for worse or better.

Our gods became four-cornered
Blades, our leaders devils
With silver tongues.

With all my heart, I drink to you.

With all my soul, I drink to you.

For my friends, I drink to you.

For my love, I curse you.

You and yours,
From mine.

Time has a most wicked way,
Of robbing us of our lives,
An hour gone twice-dozen a day,
Whenever the church bell chimes.

When winter first came, snow
Battered us in hospice camps,
Our recoveries came so slow,
Our lives becoming rubber-stamped.

I had but memories and pictures
Of faded ones had and lost;
Bettering is but errant stitches,
And time but a creeping moss,

Draping lives in shadow-fog,
The night looming over day
Spreading over field and bog;
“Not true”, you say, you say.

I’d sit here forever, if ever I
Could, with these glass men,
Letting out all mournful sighs,
Of past lives so surely spent.

Time shall heal all wounds, you
Say, that I should move on, let go

But I left my heart in Dresden,
A long, long time ago.

Poem Clearance

This post includes all of the stuff I've done or re-edited and not posted over the past few months. Done so as to have my files clear before I head to Ireland.

A Letter

I'd write you,
thirty-two lines to
a page, ten-thousand
feelings to a word.

I must simply find some paper,
a pen.

I'd scribble down some
thoughts, meld them as soft
karat. Until luminous.
Until fully-formed.

I must simply take a course
on how.

I'd fold it carefully, as
a crane, as a tiger,
each crease precise, each
line and corner defined.

I'll need a book to
teach me.

I'd seal with candle wax,
press firm my symbol's
heart, staying together, never
could become apart.

I'm afraid I could merely
burn, though.

I'd send it along, mailed
with fifty-cent stamps, a
worthless kiss, this memory
unspent; the envelope splits.

I'd just need an address,

courage too.

So sacred was this, we clutched
It close towards our breasts burning
In the night;

Forming a forge worthy of
The old steel furnace, we
Burnt away what

Was unneeded, gold glint and
The townie moores. We had
One thing, perfected.

Nothing, in our knavish minds,
Could be a blockage, a stop
To this; us,

We knew the lies, the supermarket
Receipts, we here better than them,
Our hands could

Hold up, as Atlas, that worrying
Weight. Others had simply numb fingers,
We would say.

Nay, there was nothing to better
This once, it could not be so, why
Ever was the

Rest spoken? Surely, it was the
Speech of jesters, travelling caravans,
Nothing thought of

By the proper persons we could
Wish to be. Half-and-half, we
Balanced our treasure,

Its smoulder cutting these old
Stones, cobbled as blackened foot.
Yes, we held

And it was broke.

Like the Sun
Like the sun, I adore you,
But I could never
Understand, with my books and
Measuring scales, telescopes and
The night sky; I seek to,
But the cowardice to question,
Like millstones tied tight,
Leaves me merely watching,
As noon turns dark.

Like the moon, you puzzle me,
Always seeming in new shapes
With each of dusk’s passings,
Once smiling, or with a half-
Hidden smirk, but next the clouds
Drawing to a saddened state,
Or one of buried anger;
Oh, how I wish I could
Learn your fullness, your crescents.

Like the lone river, you intrigue me,
Watching the wash upon the banks,
Living with your books and soft,
Fluttered absurdities, flowing
In one’s own path, unnoticed
To streams which impede, or ajoin,
But stirring in strange patterns,
Seeming pained, on occasion:
Fishing for the reasons.

Like the grand oak, I long for your
Shade, the embrace of the present
Light you bring to ashen dawns,
And wander with one, going nowhere,
But knowing other’s adoration;
Alas, your past shunning of
The more suitable gentlemen,
Give the pause of centuries to
Mine, and you are, still, to me

Like the sun.

The Grey
I fell through the ash one early
Day, no rhyme, nor sense, to it:
Simply, it was.

It held a hearty harshness, upon
The first glance, tree barks about
The eyes, stinging.

But, free of ground, I could
Only flail above, hands desperate
To be affirmed.

There was little, though, but the
Hanging of clouds, the heat of
Long-glowing embers.

I lost reminders, pockets outturning,
The bright of the sun smothered,
All beneath this.

Nary a branch to grasp, I
Was to collapse full-face upon
The dank ground.

I swallowed there, choking as the
Last of breaths taken, though the air
Was stock still.

These were the first days, the time
Of greatest distress, when I did not see
How to exist

In this, how any point, or function,
Or form, could be born amongst
This tone, broken.

Now, though, it is more calm,
My eyes have grown used, as at
The midnight’s leisure;

There is no more a protest thrown
Up from these lungs, no more the
Fires begin themselves.

Nay, there are now but shadows,
In memoriam for old toasts,
Glasses of ferment.

What is here, all I have now known?
A few trinkets flash amongst it,
Catching top’s light,

Little-by-little, I have found them.
A look up, though, even if comforted
In this slush,

Still tugs like the rope on a
Schoolyard’s set, pulled taught
To the fray.

Then is this clouded place a
Joyous one? Even could it, mayhaps,
One day bloom?

With the ash still mixed in taste,
The one roughened diamond still
Signalled in vain,

I have lost the strength,
To know.

Time has been as wooden shows,
Swelling and splintered to my feet,
The water in puddles, muddy,
And splashed about as little children,
Lacquer to these breaking things.

I scrub verily, a sponge and hand-cloth
Set aside, the goosing flesh pained
To boiling water’s touch; I am
Not proud, it is my resistance,
The cause of this.

But you, you wear the years as
Badges, proud-pinned on jackets,
Sweaters; you smile in the
Downward glance, knowing you
Are different from them.

Or as the soft-spun dresses, hewn
Of tower chimes, the flutters of
Morning finches, that have unshapely
Form to so many: they are the
Most gorgeous of gowns upon you.

Festival Girls

It was all a rush,
ground chemical ash fading to grass and gravel,
muddy pools as piles of footprints,
one atop the last, until none were.

The rainwater mixing with mass-market
beer, pumped from tents,
served with red gilding and a bit of
a smile, the most that could be
marshalled for the time.

The movement of lights, the human
form in time as a dance between
sloppy partners, just learning the steps,
worse to only absent teachers for it.

You could see the great workings of it all,

And the festival girls with their novacane
and sutures, bandages for broken hearts
and bruised egos,

Or so I’d imagine.

Oil Stains on a Sidestreet

The car wheels echo about,
clacking creaked chords with the pavement,
the blacktop and yellow lines.
Well-mixing with the breeze,
the wisened coughs of smoke and smog,
made of green dresses and paper cutting,
the sun fighting its last battle with
downcast stars.

Casting long shadows, the porch railing,
still flaking expired varnish and sawdust,
bends to weight and water, the last
of it passed away long since. On edges,
phones wait to be rung, pens to write,
mouths to talk and mend the day
from its exhaustions, its songs

Of lead and concrete.


There’s trash to be taken out and in,
scraps of sink refuse chewed and tugged,
by the ever-present little beasts of this town,
plates and cups to be run under water
and glittered with washing liquid;

Yet I sit with a pen and paper.

There are always doors to be rapped upon,
cheerful smiles to be offered, the words
stilted and shakey; it was God’s work,
saving the world, in some former life,
the only thing to be doing;

Yet I balance feet between pine and sun.

You’d say the same things, too; going
to live the life of a two-house drifter,
where there are always meals to cook, chats to be had,
there are drinks to drink, and beautiful girls to kiss;

And yet

With all I could be doing,
I wrote this about you.

Tornado Warning

There was the wine labelled two cowbell-ringers,
three-quarters and a bottle-full, migraines
with lemons and no Advil, becoming dazed
by the minute, still,

I took the bonfire with my hands, pallid
white as folded motel sheets, tracing patterns,
hastily-drawn zigzags across pieces of air.
Water-wet, in a moonlight,

The buses with their stop-switches, polite men
pushing pedals, sped past blurred as ambulance
lights. Sighs and mutters came afterwards,
we shuddered to be held close;

I am a switched power line, a transformer,
watch me burn and spark at night.

Could Be

We were dancing, your skin as rainwater,
impossibly traced by crate paper, we saw
as stars in the depths of midnight,
and I thought . . .

The cracking of bitter fingers, aged bone,
dust setting in as 5 o'clock suppers
time spans stretching beyond the appearance,
and I asked . . .

Not that, teenage breathing and cackle,
heavy dew in the first Fall winds, August's
dead promise, no, something quiet, constant,
but I wonder . . .

Foolish Flowers

I was thinking far ahead,
back to cannery row weddings,
the glint-twinkle of Coca-Cola neon
upon housewife's whitened teeth.

In conversations, stab my tongue,
undignified man that I am,
never matched the water-rush,
the echoes of great wording.

Rather, nervous spinnings, love-struck
hastiness, cellophane on cigarettes:
obvious as daylight, but never so bright,
never so stirring from lost time.

Crying Glass

Theirs is a steeple pattern, organ hymns
etched in violet staining, bathetic.
The calling wash-wave filled the spaces
between ceiling fan drone
and the shuffle of restless feet beyond
the birch door.

Hidden voices, echoes of eternal time,
lit as matches on singing bowl surface,
fire as a blunt metal object,
heavy pleasings, the lament of peasants pushed
about by city block, gentleman`s establishments, beside
another pizza place.

Coming closer, shut eyes tight, the tipping
place came a surprise, no great battle
fought for country and king, between,
Dante and Virgil themselves;
we beheld time's end as it were, the last we knew,
it was too bitter a branch for weeping.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

New Writing (2 Poems)

Joke About Car Engines
It was clutching, full moon glow,
breathing headlights, ruby-red,
park our cars along the roadside,
by the uneven fenceposts, by the rusting twine,
watch the dust-dew, starry-eyed cascade.

Hands rhythmic, sweating clear and cold,
tapping on the windshield tinting,
rubber and steel between us and a four-foot
fall to the ground, rolled around in darkness:
something I wish.

There was cowardice and cutting license cards,
trembles of breath beneath the drive-in light;
it became of itself, thought to say anything,
oh, and never could be done, though,
by the end, it was known.


Skin of a wax mask,
sweating plastic cups,
drawn tight, hour after hour,
deeper and deeper, pores and freckles,
exploding with lacquer-grease finish.

This is the light's perishing, kept alive
by tubes and knobs, pins and switches;
farmers in formers ages had been correct,
never meant for this time, never meant

to be so defiant.

Friday, 9 August 2013

New Writing (3 Poems)

The Thing About Fathers

Always him, with the trudging up the half-flight
of stairs, work caps and ill-fitting black shirts,
constant waiting to be punched in the jaw,
pushed to the concrete or hard plaster.

Something washed over with the IVs and dripping
pulses, the finality, a light on a little grey
bit of plastic, and that was all there was.

Confusing spins of tears, reddened eyes,
lying in funeral homes, on therapist couches:

Feeling of excuses, feeling of relief.

There was some shaking, iron filings on a child’s tablet,
to forget the air conditioner heart attacks,
the reasons we slept on grandfather’s couch
for a year and a month, missing Christmas.

Falsehoods, easy platitudes, passed around as
Thanksgiving china; what was supposed to be
said, compared to drug store greetings?

In a minute, an early life’s ten years,
mere sparks upon untested metal, I learned

The sort of thing never to be.

Thought About Sidewalks

It was the electric cable, swaying sleek and pitch,
low-humming trembles in the August sunlight,
first-heard chirps of hummingbirds, crickets for
a long time, a night without shoe-heel slapping
pavement, without the cry of wheel-axel.

It was a melding, leaves looming shade-like
over the deadened windows, lights snuffed
from the half-vacation, reflected stacking stones.
As it came together, swirls on paint palette,
the canalman’s complaint came, the subtle rejection.

It was fraying rope, in perfect metaphor,
stretched from bridge to bridge, worn as
faded garment; the attempt at warning,
unheeded, yellow and black unwinding,
it never stopped a soul passing.

A Pose

This was an absurdity, artist's rendition,
clutching limbs to chest, hasty retreats,
wishing to go back, to go back.

Broken pieces, scowling lip, serene
eyes as shuddering pools; remembered
we were so close, warm.

Pinned as night shades, wooden shutters,
struggle to move amidst hazy lies,
told to ourselves, adolescent treasure.

Breaking wave, computer click-buzz,
bolts of forgetfulness, cross-eyed loons
and the third kind of lonesome:

they kept me company, waiting on
tea saucers, crumbling cardboard,

for an ever-promised arrival.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

New Writing (2 Poems)

Two Frames

Two blank slates were we:

I, some simulation of another,
suit, tie and teenage aftershave.
A series of steps, followed somethings,
to keep from complaint, to have a later portrait,
to fit the crowd’s intentions, to sway to slow music,
to do all except love.

If I was painted, crooked canvas, expired palette,
there could be no blame:

You, some image, screened and printed,
all pixie dust, ukulele strums,
the type to splash water fountains, and
dance gracelessly, unloved musical, with.
All to be ignored, cold hands, ambitions, the fact
you never were.

Years hence, I could hold you
a thousandfold, frigid digits and all;

A mere negative, still.

Both Times

The clouds traced patterns, faint, smoke-like,
empty as I, facades to hide the heat,
shapes of crustaceans and war victories.

It holds as unlabelled paint, as dollar-store varnish,
brightly, the peace is timely, as she seems
to forget it all again.

I cannot blame (bright razor, handcuff twine),
never the tide-time, never the moonlight,
now the improper thing.

When the others took their mantle, bedding
widows’ wives in their cocksure way,
I was shrugging, waiting for planes.