Vicissitudes

Low winter light,
Vicissitudes of crows;
A skein of squawking geese
In a V, in a row,
The beauty balanced
Between what might happen,
And yet usually,
In my diary scribed
Or sometimes scratched
On angel’s breath,
Inevitability shows
Through dull experience,
Does not fully hatch.

Alignment

Your smile illuminated a night.
The Moon is loosening Jupiter,
A cat is lowering bark;
Southwesternly, further too,
Venus, Saturn, mistaken stars
Are found aligned at last
As I walked with my dog
Through an unlit park.

Light rebounds from behind
God’s eyelid, a pinprick
In a twilight sky extracted
From the uncuttable diamond.
And if so dimly lit
After years of travel,
Like the last burning candle
On a galleon returning
With a South Atlantic vase,
If this could reach my sight
By quarter to ten
As I stand in awe
On the frightening grass,
Then I will see your smile
In a dampening daylight,
Restoring a long lost past.

Butterfly In November

The guardian on duty
Fell into eternal sleep,
So he could not tell me
That ivy ceased crawling,
A stranglehold wore off,
That devious armies retreated,
Helmets for a broth;
Ice caps melted;
Oaks no longer spalted,
A sward in sunlight
For a short time
Stirred the early grass.

A butterfly in November
Landed on my finger,
And then a dainty
Ladybird; and I knew
In my thorn-protected heart
How planets and a moon
Might finally restart.

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.

Incidental

Surfeit of loneliness.
Meditating cursively;
I found him thriving
In my surf-marrow,
Hollow as a sparrow’s
Dulled midnight blinks,
Loneliness to end
All lonelinesses,
Searched for and found,
Pure, eternal loneliness.
Friendships shed
Like ended skin
Akin to showmanships
Before a circle closes.
A Higgs Boson loneliness,
Citculating endlessly
Until I resurface
Within entropies
Until they multiplied,
And see them,
See how they sink
Their teeth.

A Birthday

I forgot about you today.
That is not true.
That is another oxymoron.
But I did not know what to say
And all my candles are blue.

I forget about you most days.
That is not true.
I reused a tealight this morning.
And yet, it does make for an easier way
To dismiss all that you did

And did not do.
There is sometimes no greater gift
Than memory. Deny it,
Not even to refine it,
And grown men panic

And split themselves in two.
There was a future form of you;
We did not meet, touch, or approve.
And yet, sometimes it is so much more
Helpful to forget a resemblance,

Where dreams become punishment,
And hope is meted in knots,
And comfort in blots of confusion,
And when there is more hindrance
By remembrance consumed.

Vespers


She is in the trees,
She is in the vespers,
She is in the roots,
She is in the wasted
Space between my fingers.

She is my disease,
Depression yet sequestered,
When she bares her teeth
I forget to forage.
From my dramas
And catastrophes
She can reverse engineer
Her favourite comedies,
Pressed in pretty borage.

I passed a caulking boat
Upon a tidal ridge,
High-lining and abandoned,
Borax-white, saline scented;
I felt my head upon a rack
Within her unplugged fridge;
And when exhausted
I came to, yet unexplained,
I did not know where I had gone
Or who did expurgate.

My Body A Prison

All that I’ve been through,
All that I lost,
All that I valued,
All that I cost,

All my inactions,
Fully embossed,
Old malefactions
Buried in moss;

My body a prison
With cells unaccounted,
My past in a frame
Unglazed and unmounted.

I’m who you shake
For seeking your answers,
My heart in the arms
Of thorn-fingered dancers;

I hear in my mind
A ceaseless alarm,
For I lost every key
Cut to disarm.

All that you’ve been through
All that you lost,
All that you valued
All that you cost.