Thought-Flotilla

A depression sinks
Thick teeth into my bay.

Brazen, sharply emblazoned
Within my beacon’s sleep,

One final action
Before the king of myself

Exiled himself in a fit of treason
To his most inhospitable island in

Far rough southern waters
Beyond starry St Helena and

Tar-deep lavas of
Tristan de Cunha,

And even beyond the other island
Of shimmering immateriality

And such impossible wealth,
With more lakes than land,

More puffins than people
And fathers’ mouths

Mastic with less teeth in number
Than they bequeathed children,

And statues of elders
Each chiselled with just one foot;

Well, he commissioned hundreds
Of such pitch-pots over

Coastal paths and marshland routes
To alert his nation’s duties

Towards resurgent armadas,
A thought-flotilla

With canons trained
On peace and seasons,

On woodlands and hope,
On fisheries and reasons,

I woke to an ocean of
Platitudes in old Spanish

And also Greek calligraphy.
Blood on my wrist,

Alpha is Omega
In this new script.

Why do I enjoy numerically
These blood-clot sensations,

These idyllic notions
Beyond posts of my death.

The Beach House

Through bamboo screens you’ll see the beach,
The beach where self-awareness opens
Slowly, like a barnacle unfamiliar with
Relinquishing its briny truisms,

Seagulls with pearls in their teeth
Buffer in time with the sea and beat
In a chorus the sunken skin of their souls
Like raucous musicians drunk on

Their own instruments. Love’s apogee,
From the beach you will free the sea,
Bound by corroding shackles, a monotony
Of men and desalinating prophesies.

Bold, profligate sea, you tossed back
Illicit passion on to the beach unapologetically,
As if a shark’s fin toughened or the Mother
Of All Wisdom, as silent as driftwood

And as memory complicit.
The curve of the earth was unimpressed
And distant, unimpressed by the sharpness
Of white horse crests, we shared

A heartbeat within an empty cockle’s nest,
Held to your ear, coveted, caressed
With shells, and we were awash with love
And sins across miles of blue emptiness,

As when your voice, or a semblance
Of your voice, remained in the room
While you were nude in a kitchen upstairs,
Garnishing dishes, asparagus spears

And salted North Atlantic fish;
And as when your rings fell into my stomach,
Jettisoned treasure, and the scent of varnish
On your toenails, a scent padlocked

In my buried chest forever.
Through bamboo screens you looked
Into the moons of me, and I was lost once more
In the intimacy of quiet eyelids.

On that inattentive sea’s behalf I listened
While into my widening ear you whispered
Directions for finding our love again
On four far and final islands.