Herakles Of Antikythera

In all probability
Such acts of importunity
Would go unnoticed;
Artists’ strokes still pondered
Under rising sands,
Poets who wrote with much-devoted wonder;
Murmurations from ancient loves
A league beneath a perma-land.

Forebearers’ genres costed now,
Ashes pack a summerhouse,
Berries bluesy caterwaul,
What did we know of here at all?
They dredged his head, encrusted prow,
Entrusted to blind seabed sows,
A bludgeoned god dislodged himself,
To find his home on a pastor’s shelf.

Puerto Pollensa

Anchored, then,
Tonight, the harbour is quiet.

Whenever I tripped over,
I landed on a bed of
Stray abandoned thought-cats.
I survived their falling fire
But this explains why
I have so many scratches
On my forearms and back.

I recently remembered
How we descended into
That far northern resort
Looking like tourists lost
In a monsoon,
Collapsible buggies
With razor-sharp teeth,
Drenched luggage deposited
Wordlessly on a side street
By our bored busman
With the darkest five o’clock shadow
I had ever seen –
No change left for gratuities.
Aromas on a warm squally breeze
Of palm trees, exotic and pliant,
Of ice creams with spirited titles:
Granizada, y Helado Suave o Cremoso,
The absurdity of
Watermelon socks
And mouths shaped like shuttlecocks.
Our sodden map was upside down.

If I want to, I can remember
Every item on the restaurant menu,
Every position of every dining chair,
Every taxi driver’s third child’s name,
All those feelings twenty years ago
Of misguided optimism and hope
Now that memory ploughs and harrows,
Swelling and then low like whitecaps
A stone’s throw from our hotel window.
Time’s arrow is stuck in between my ribs;
The trouble is, I do not want to go back.

Even a fast-food chain looks sophisticated
Anywhere else but home;
Home, this starless island is where
Powerfully corruptive usurpers
Paint turpentine stripes
Across our tarred faces.

Everything good we knew
Vanished without a trace
Into thick, corpulent air.

Ode To Penelope

I have a fan beside my desk,
Utilitarian blessing of relief
(For I am a Leader
Of First World Anxieties
I mainly caused myself),
Presented its purpose
Conceptually just yesterday,
Unboxed and assembled
In the candleless caverns
Of my inner critic, brand new,
But you also bought it for me
From the supermarket
During the languorous lost days
Mid-heatwave, and I knew
This happened because you
Woke me from my sleep
With a dream of the receipt.
You had the oscillations set
To relieve me from my self,
The cool assurances
Like nautical miles
Measured one knot after another,
Like a necklace for a Goddess
Flown over an oceanic shelf
Returns me to a slender skiff
On the Mediterranean’s
Peerless blue hues, as blue
As the ineffable workings of the soul,
As blue as sacrifices to
That Goddess of Nets
With sea-sick sheep and goats while
Fishing for golden orata;
The great sea, infinite blue
Like poetry, glistens
And dances in a reverie,
Just as the same soporific
Waves subjugated Odysseus as
He traversed its gentle crests
In search of a cure
For hysteria.
O Penelope,
How a man craves his opposite
And the irresistible forces
Of his afflictions,
As conditioned as a dolphin
To click and swim
With supple fins
And graces, nattering like
Old acquaintances about
Their Italian diet and
Their penchant
For eviscerated fish.
No rainfall here
For another year,
But I have my fan and that feels
In the moment more vital, for
I outlasted Diocletian of Split,
And though it may only be good
For fanning heated air,
Perhaps that’s all I need
To survive another year.