Swing-time

That’s where you’re standing,
you’re standing until
from under you with a swift clatter
like the beat dropping
and the mic tumbling
the trap door takes that breath

cause you know this is it,
swing-time that’s gonna
hit you on the pass,
like a roundabout or a trebuchet
lurching towards the exit
until the silence hits your feet.

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Paper dance

sensing only the same tempo, melting
and reshaping itself

is how the dancers ended up
searching for silhouettes through the floorboards,

waging war against the constant choreography,
leaving the watchers waiting and the music

flailing, trying to meet
the riff, riff, riff

as legs speak in tongues
so that each adjustment and rise

becomes an offer and a pose
grappling with a set of parentheses

dangling like the open sesame
chanted to cleave the shade

and send the lamplight scurrying
into the twilight’s daze

though the show goes on regardless,
scenery rippling, wavering, dancing.

Slide out

To the last
of the stomached breath
before going under
water without your eyes
peeled, holding the hum,
tight.
And gripping the thin tube
feeling sound steam out
like a trombone’s rattling prayer
on the express
with the carriage packed,
bag growling at the seam,
the audience condensing,
as if some mystic gas
were blurring the room
like wonder descending,
liable to eviscerate
the air at once
and it slurs and blows
and slides
out.

Slide in

Like tourists free-training
in the rhyme of their own city,
trying to grab the beat
and embrace the thrum
until you step just inside the notes
and meld
with the walking story,
crevices and twists
through floorboard and windows.

There the legs astretch, growing nearer
the pedal falling
atop this syncopated step
and the drag and tap, skim and break
as voices cut in
on top, top, top.

Another layer riffs
while wrists scout out
a trail of loose footholds.
Snapping into joint the tune
and its cacophony
slide craftily away.

Glaciers

The young man should not look others in the mirror,
for some it means stretching down towards a fate
wizened or withered, bending as well as porcelain.

Or is it watching oranges and lemons plummet
from branches bending nearer autumn
as grey waves swoop away promise of distant lands?

But these are shores and drops the old man
lingering over the nectar of decades
has seen and known and stumbled over.

So the still young look on regardless,
towards tomorrow’s glassy valleys and Byzantium

much as the berg calves itself into the ocean,
the rift, so far, a thin hope for charting life.

Depending on the myth

Eating the fruit or seeds and pith
means staying or going, while we lament
the source of fears, mists we’re sent.

And long enough stranded on the shore
imagining the skein in the far, dark sky
and braving despair gladly,

already how far this resplendent neverness
seems etched like smoke and ice beneath the skin.
Towers tell their pain in ethered puffs,

a translucent track through twilight.
The world has clouds and light enough already
to tend the moon, abseiling night.

It’s already etched in, the scent of skin,
to this damp and sliding soil, the swallowing earth
wondering what fruit, if any, it may birth.

July

Swallowed with a gulp, the end of which
is still middle of somewhere,
going ebb over hands
with the silhouette of days.

Yeah, but it’s all gauze shadow-shirts
singing at the wind
trampling the fir
stirring up names for cravings.

Rushing one course again, what a mess
when it happens year-sure like this,
shooing the cat, a scatting tide
goes while winter, never.

Freckledark

Frowning for his wallet,
right and left
the hand sorting
as if this were a billiard slot
in too-blue denim,
the mathematician wondered
of and on, gravity and love

who was kind or wise
or punch-drunk enough between courses,
while the sleeveless waiter
subtracted plates for laughs,
that easy substitution,
to gift the children the hours
so they might name intervals
of light and dark and space.

Fingers tickling the harmonica slide
of keys while standing struck
in freckledark, passing from quietsmile

he thought of strained tomatoes
seeds and pulp twinned and unmeshed,
passing through the universe’s sieve
of strange music, before and after.

They would be gathering up themselves,
presents, papers and steadying
towards their adult cages and nods

for the journey into well-thumbed nearenough
and its additive spell,

  less lemonfrost and more humdark.

He would buy them a chemistry kit,

  tomorrow?
or whatever best suited
its notyet shape,
that they might create
or compound metals and numbers new,
something to turn the world over
and inside out again,

the word for it
just out
of his fingers’ fumbling grasp.

Earth, smoke, dusk

Years later it would spark and burn,
suspicions though from the back seat
mistook country murmurs for smoke
as the mountain road wound,
curved and never let you look
beyond a fraction of a minute.
Melways in your lap spoke signs
as the navigator peering out
sending passage from over the shoulder,
over straight ways becoming loud
as light scatters in slits and slots
cut through by holidaymakers out of time,
wanting to step out of time holding
aboard the few spare days
miseries like sour fruit, skin tight.
Little did you see, rattling by
through the pass because
the days depend on knowing
as you glanced ridge-wards
looking for landmarks
through the jagged horizon
that where there will be ash
the forest stands again now,
dark smear, twilight,
crumbs, leaves,
day’s sprout.

Sea-spray

I have been reading the sea,
through one of its many windows, you might say,
if you knew the bliss and waft of foam,
inviting fingers of the waves, their willing arms
talking dust and detritus to swooning tips.

Hold the stain of these pages
by the spine of their dull watermark, sand-blessed,
up to the shade of youth,
faintly superstitious and quiet
to all the bellowing infinities.

The tide of days sweeps in,
soon and now.

A little longer we will sit here,
catching the near-far silence with wondering,
entrained on the here and soft horizon.
We will wait, still longer, until the mist
gull-high and dream deep fills the soul.