Some Do Fall

Yesterday, my younger self,
Slowly, inexorably –
Focused, inevitably –
Overdosed. And
So it goes everyday.
It cannot go away.
In that moment, I re-read
My lines diligently,
Preparing my soliloquy,
Eighteen ancient years
Yet more child than adult,
Scared and confused
And alone in an era
Of cocktails and beers,
Of riding in car trunks
And rolling down hills,
Of men being salacious
At best, of disregarded
Lectures and inspectorates
And spider plants
Stoned on window-sills,
Questionable fashions
And a plethora of cigarettes,
Bedrooms thick with such acridity
You could not see your peers
Across the room as they kissed
Excessively and toked.
Mine were Marlboro
Because the British
Have never known how to smoke.
Cold, punishing dormitories,
A chicken’s head,
Everyone was bloated
With sex while I sat
With my knees to my head
On a dim and distant bed.
Much of the nuances I missed,
A hand held, a love letter,
Unattended trysts,
The blushes and
The sadness.

That age is a rope bridge
Like the frayed
San Luis Rey –
Many make the crossing and
Pass over quite adequately,
Some are even enthused by
Such precarious views,
Some with heads in clouds,
Some too confident as well.
And some do fall,
Succumbing to atrocities
And I was one;
No audience,
No gods with pince-nez
For a pauper’s show,
Just a tablet at a time,
Slow, slow,
Slowly absorbed,
Purchased from
Supermarket jaws
Over several weeks,
A letter to no one
In particular.
One tablet at a time
Because my future glowed
Brighter than a forest fire –
Untamed, unquenchable –
And because I was pressed
From the pages of
My father’s blasphemous
Kiss, a contradiction
Of love and self-loathing,
Pressed like a dandelion,
Seeds separated
By the careless impact
Of a book once loved,
Now in a cardboard box
Gathering mould
And dust
In the attic of a house
I did not frequent.

As the last pill then
Descended through tubes
I have never seen and
Never will see,
My only thought was how
I would want you to know
That I did not mean to do this,
Did not even want to,
But sometimes life
Has a weird way of
Leaving me estranged
And saying No to what is best.

It seems good enough for some
And not for others,
But my mind,
Held in a crisis-vice,
(I had to be good for something –
Even if it was to be this) –
Led me to ignore my own advice.
I thought about it twenty
Thousand times
And then twice.

I woke into odes of disappointment,
Applied an episodic ointment,
A compassion of paramedics,
A wrangled worry of parents.

Permanent autumn.
Charcoal throat.
Embarrassed, strained voices.

Twenty-five years is a long way to go
From being youthful and comatose.
Life became lodged –
Visions persist of pine trees
And a missing residential goat,
A warden’s office, pool tables
And loyalties and loss,
As someone I loved did say –
‘Society thinks it is more
Sophisticated now, when
Instead it is far less’ –
Such is the price.
And now I must go,
I must prepare this
Next last meal
Upon a gas wheel
Of jambalaya and rice.

P Versus NP

Might I dream that I can see
All pathways laid out clearly,
For life and death are industries
Without a prize for nearly.

Do we all resign to bed
Believing in this age instead,
Oblivious to a night ahead,
Or am I by my age misled.

For life and death are mysteries,
P v NP – problem unanswered,
Solution out from histories,
God is not a dancer.

Lake Of The Woods

What was the time in Ottawa
When that boy ran full pelt
Towards a delapidated pier upon

An icy lake to make his shape
Where conifers colluded
And memory occluded

This day, it once occurred.
Plenty (or was it a few) anglers
In lumberjack furs

Dangling their lines
In holes through snow
As they blow in their hands

And distances blur
Between water and skies
For hope of a bite

Oblivious to that parabolic
Arc of his last jump, his leap,
Neap tide, a void of pride,

The police had never been so far
From the scene of his crime,
But you can’t pursue spirit

With a Horseman in Time.
Something, always, is lost
Between the old and the new,

Between a thought in sheets
And all written words, Love.
One day I’ll remember this,

Sipping my oxtail soup,
Inconvenience, true,
Tired, yes, and mute.

Moving On, Not Moving On

Do you remember
When love was composed
Of moments that mattered.
I remember incomplete
Semblances of light
Piercing through patresses
Which flattered the soul,
Landing on the carpets
And comforting rugs
Of sentences
Sometimes forgotten,
But habitually
Resurfacing without knowing
Their purpose as they’d unfold.

See how in these strands
Of memory alert to
Dust in slow-burning noons,
There is nowhere for me
To hide as soon sunlight glides
Into my room for the living,
My coffee is cold, and memories
Unforgivingly dismember
The ingredients for
Moving on.
How we agreed we fitted
Like pieces cut into life’s puzzle,
Or a key in a gate
To meadows where

Buttercups would bloom
In the yellow hues of useless
Eternity; for we are two keys
For other locksmiths
And like pollen
Our love was scattered
To the four seas, those ranging
Blue plinths of the sacred minds
Of prophetesses who once
Spelunked in the Hebrides and
Who own more love now, more
Respect than my Hesperides
Descending through the bones
Of half-closed curtains.

Yes, we moved on
From the fusing of our arteries,
From the quiet platform
Of fond remembrance.

Flotsam Song

With cellular losses like flotsam
I could not see myself as old;
I had no thoughts to reach that far,
I would not be so bold, it felt
Like contemplations of reaching cold
And insurmountable peaks
Of Cordillera de Nahuelbuta
By driving a ’64 Ford Mustang car
Up those yellow buttercupped cols.

We had all this love to give,
Unused in their atoms’ aromatic fronds,
So this love was abused by the sea,
Our hearts of dark samphire drifted
Underneath the empty stars,
With childhood messages enclosed
On well-preserved papyrus.

When a product shipped in a box
Across the raging ocean
Disconnects, we search for lost instructions and scratch our heads,
Then hit re-start
And massage hope,
But there’s no restarting love’s long-lost hearts,
No manual, nor compass, nor rope.

Beachcombers found the seaweed,
Its on their kitchen window sill;
And jellyfish beaching swiftly bloat,
Being mostly made of water
They evaporate like coastal ghosts,
Leaving only purple rings in the sand
And a feeling that something was lost
And towards a far-off land afloat,
Where everyone is old,
And now and again I remember there
All that it meant to be young and alone.