Cloud Topiarist

Clouds shaped like lovers,
A giraffe without a neck,
And skeletons in cupboards.

Cloud topiarist,
We seek perfection and yet
The nearest shears are in heaven.

Metallic balls on a yttrium string
Swing rhythms on a table;
Dead offices; disconsolation.

Was there ever a collective
Endeavour roaming
Worth our reminiscence?

It remains an open secret,
There are many dead men walking
And living people buried;

This is what occurs
When graves within my sleep interred
Are kept broken, undelivered.

I hear recurring prophecies –
Spiral vortex dreams –
A financial offshore tremor,

A van concealing hostages
In flags of white and blue,
Loaded guns, rooms in rubble.

If over nations clouds remained
They often gave that day a name,
Apartment diaries, online news,

Then happy in this skylight citadel
Are those murdered few,
For at their graves

Where clouds give shape
They’re brought to life
By a drama or two.


Subliminal Hooks

Dreams are hung on sunbeams,
Out in a garden to dry,
Steam I have seen rising,
Subliminal hooks in the sky;
Ancient as an argument
While no one remembers why.

There is an unseen world
Within my organs, my tubers,
Where moving creatures thrive:
Spermatozoa,
Micro-organisms,
Carnivores in disguise.
Should my body burst
Like a vodka-soaked melon
Standing in only my socks
In a hosted dream
In your backyard,
Please do not wake me up.

I wonder how far into madness
We can stray before it is
Too late to return.

Over the river
They have set seven festival fireworks off.
I heard applause, distant,
A languorous dog breathes
In my ear and tells me
Life is not for living;
Her voice is husky and
Her beard is coarse;
And i wonder whether all those moments
Are locked, unchangeable,
Or if variants spin and gather
Like a Catherine Wheel
In a clear night sky.

Somewhere then, I am worse off;
I would return to that place
Though not at that one time –
There’s too much pain in the host,
And the river there offers nothing,
But sinners floating, and ghosts.

Night Owl

Thank you for your photograph,
Passport-sized, white frame,
On the reverse side in red ink
You wrote your name and
Number. The image I received
On the spine of a silently
Howling owl in a dream
Last night I placed beneath
My pillow and in a dream
Within a dream you emerged
From the portrait large as life,
Your lipstick as red as the ink,
A deep red, deep as blood in
The whales stampeding through
The caves of my sleep searching
For their calves already hauled
Onto the harpoon-stationed
Entrail-made slippery deck
Of hail-harried vessels in
The steep Pacific breaches.

You gestured to me not to speak,
Finger over your lips and I was
Transfixed. I watched you
Carefully, devotedly, as you fell
Asleep in a red dress, your blonde
Hair falling over your eyelids and
Your nostrils and I reached to
Brush those beautiful strands away
When your mouth opened and
An alarm fell out and I woke
Sweating, and drowning, as
A refuse collection vehicle
Reversed outside my apartment.

Shoreline

Decanting on the shores of sleep,
Where dreaming estuaries will weep,
Perilous cliff-top climbs are steep,
Sounds across a border seep.

I found a strange sensation brew,
Stranger than the crossing’s crew,
A second breathing bridged the two:
Inhale once, exhaling due.

Inveigling spirit, a bellow between
What is dreamt and what is seen,
Organist pedalling lungs for a dean,
Cathedrals where I have not been.

Apparitions line the coasts
To sing in chorus for their hosts
And keep witheld communion ghosts,
My bark is tethered to their posts.