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.

Heartfall

Heartfall and windside and daybreak
and the sudden absence of light,
or just shadows peeling quietly away.

First to winter and a boulevard,
veins quiet before cyclists come flaring
upwards against the wind,
screaming morning into life between trees.

Or there are no trees there like here,
only unnameable sketches of buildings,
their order interchangeable.

When just before nightbreak that same backdrop
settles under fogbreath
and misting mouths clatter
between nods and frowns.

The notion of sky is the colour of sky,
its aching magnitude
a reminder that you have been transported
into a world not of your mind’s making
whose matchbox frames and peeping windows
gather another people’s birdsong

but all is still sky, earth and
pulsing days between.

(“I assume you still write poetry?”
“Only when the heart rises, the wind subsides,
and the cross-hatching of memory appears.”)

In any order other than chronological,
a single moment feels like echoes,
sings like wheels in motion,

a kind of endless question and answer
not unlike tomorrow, today’s fresh-brewed child
dropped into all our lives at once.

Then the crossing light clicks over, ready for you.
Even its different tone should not be
different, really, only second or third, like

the unfamiliar rumble of a stranger’s face
known except for the darkening years
whose dwindling chasm spells out
bridge and length of your heartfall.

– 9 July 2016

That one hour when

dozens of imprints overlapping
(coffee glasses, tea pots, cups, mugs)
add their print to this wood’s
stains of conversations past

I imagine their lives intersecting
circles, like the very ring marks
not solitary tree years
embracing dark autographs

we intuit
from and to each a story
from whose lips poured forth
moments precious or time evaporated

lines between sips
promises and deals brewed
romances kindled or doused
here engraved in memory

as if this table might house
a gallery of a thousand lives
offering barest glimpse or
scratched reflection of that

one hour
when

(3 February 2015)