Tuesday, 20 August 2013

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.

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