Outside, An Ocean

Outside,
An ocean
Of constant motions,
Lush tropical abundance,
Yet all I cradle are ashes
Charred from bark
And burnt rubber plants,
Unusable coconut
And a poisoned palm –
The bark itself carved from
A mythical phoenix-tree
They discovered
Accidentally
And nonetheless marked
And later diseased –
This would have been
My self-sufficiency.

If no man is an island
Mr John Donne
And Mr John Dryden,
Then why does my lonely abode
Align with the limits of
My aspirations so comfortably?
I have seen in deep reposes
Those ghosts who come and go
For whom there’s no repelling;
Sometimes they stayed a while
Perhaps from curiosity,
Or perhaps their own
Uncertain form of loneliness,
Yet never so long
As to find me compelling –
This writer without hands,
This tongueless orator.
They always stole something
Out of nothing, or would
Confiscate our materiality
In the end –
Glass from oriels,
Tiles from steeples
And church-roof lead.
This is why, to hold the pen,
I maintain my right to an island
With hopes and invocations
For better times ahead.

The Reason For This Evening’s Tailback

Deathly onyx cold,
When the layering curse returns,
As it always will and still unfolds,
Ravenous, his satiation made
Impossible, implausible,
Bringing new brocaded covers
With images of his solace
Although its story is well told,
I then become cold to my bones
And proximity is no requisite
For shivering from his grimacing
Chtonic, unobvious presence,
Timeless and with flashing teeth
On gums of gangrene and mould.

In this grim palace
A choice is not a choice,
Any meaning is void
And made obtuse,
Made meaningless;
Debased, your imagination
Weighed the same as gold,
Which he bought, and
Which he melted to
Gild the dumbstruck throats
Of statues in his home.

Unwilling guest, dreaded party,
I had torn up his red invitation
But a taxi arrived regardless.
Now I am bound with his
Interminable shadows
While he plays a consummate host,
Debonair, with silverware,
He spins on a cane of liquified hope
And this bleak trope is complete,
Gone with all cares,
They were strafed from wastelands
And in his darkness I grope for
The one way home,
That one truth path
He scattered within
A million mascarading bluffs.

It would be akin
To climbing back in
To the belly of a dragon
Having seen the knight
From within eviscerate,
Daylight sharply juxtaposed
Between swordtip and entrails
As he slices me out.
No, life, sunshine, heroes,
No you don’t.
Put me back on the shelf,
On the bleak rib and distral ropes
Where gastric flames
Did many a stronger man well-roast
And more so, yes, than me.

So, then, these true happenings
(With heavy heart I am re-telling)
Are made manifest
In men driving their many cars,
(Cars they keep on selling),
Parked by central reservations –
Early evening drifting snow –
Tailbacks ensuing,
Vows for renewing,
And with nowhere left,
Nowhere left to go.

On Homelessness

There is much to be said
For a warm, downy bed,
And a roof for my head.

In truth, those cold stars
Kill men with their draught;
Stratospheric, crystal glass.

I knew a man who died that way,
On a bench rain-soaked
In a well-loved park;

Several cars had slowly passed,
Narrow tailgate margins;
I didn’t have the heart.

He started somewhere far apart;
So much at sea drifts
Listlessly from where our hands

With a planetary love did chart,
Yet Truth has no use for straw
Or for bars, nor Justice, too,

Constantly miscarrying,
She chews on rue like
An ancient Appalachian goat

And her rivers are in my bones
And bath. In the long grass
I lay there waiting, in hiding,

Until the shadow of my self
My life, flew slowly,
Silently above those hills,

A giant airborne stingray,
Inexplicable, mythical,
I cried at the sight of my

Childhood loss. Returning
To my humble shed from roaming
Through my gloaming spirit-loft,

There is much to be said
For a warm, downy bed,
And a pillow for the lonely.

Sacramento

Ego-buffeted blustering coast.
I hurt the ones I love the most.
Seaweed thoughts and neon foam,
The loaming mantel hides a ghost.
Shipwrecked, re-wrecked,
Where’s the host?
The crow-man left the crow’s outpost.

Feather-blossom, light as moon,
If we leave you’ll see me soon,
Apple-wort and rotten trunks,
Ego-thorn and ego-dent,
My life there’s one experiment.
The ones I loved hurt me the most,
Sacramento, holy ghost.

Ode To A Parking Lot, No.2

Grief, do not disparage me,
Do not diminish my yearning
To observe the rites I will learn
In turn, by rote, just as oceans
Spurn the lode in mackerel bones
And whiting dreams and cod,
Fulfilling the needs in fishermen’s
Ganseys and hand-made
Tablecloths their wives
Once ironed, having washed,
On kitchen benches draped across,
Though sometimes a trawler
Or two were lost and the sea,
With blind unfeeling disbelieving
Reasons breeding in their peaks
And troughs, duplicitous sea,
Brought home only grief and loss,
Those I have known and those
I have not, as I cried on my own
At midnight in a parking lot.

Symptomatic

Is this world both one and true
As that within my mind,
From Argonauts, Thelassian crew,
A golden fleece to find.

I felt the sea the same,
That gentle Aegean lapping;
Did Peloponnesian navies tame
The inlets I am mapping.

Or is this landscape’s manifest
From minds divested only;
Symptomatic, I am a guest,
Devoid of fleet and lonely.

Don’t pity me, a juvenile,
These sands and weeds aren’t homely.
Owned by ones I could not find,
Wandering lost and lonely.

Tristessa

Strong hearts
Do not require taming,
Unmetallurgic wild horses
Never found comfort
In sodden-straw stables.
Your father brought home
For the old kitchen table
A brace of dead pheasants
Bound by a cable.

Through turbulent moors
And rubicon rivers
We felt there reverting
A timeless deep raging;
From scorched summers burning,
Briar-berry and bramble,
To winter’s bare pantry
Where salt pays for aging.

Together, five or six moments,
We felt more or less able
In the heartbeat of angels
To outlive the lengthy assailing,
(Daily they’re planted,
We later discovered)
Of all modern things
People now take for granted.

No one here has ever seen
Our grey-green seas
Deprived of life and motion,
The fossils would make a commotion!
No one observed those orchard trees
In the entirety of their devotion
To imparting the knowledge of apples,
And no one here speaks,
For our mouths do not open
(Unless for a token),
So I remain unable to say
How much one singular moment takes,
Though without you here
This feels like forever and its days,
Restrained by constant motion.