Smoke and silence

So let me tell you how it works,
or doesn’t, this surrogate for other things,
I try to hold in place tight as a pin.
Doppelganger, friend, foe, silhouetted stranger
I would have erased you two lines back for being
too close
to convention     and the truth.

And even now having reached out to revise
over thoughts of hope or despair,
both being at work somewhere,
this is always more than collecting the day’s shaking fragments,
that lifelong day I’m trying to rearrange into a moldable shape,

I will still ask whether these lines
are good enough,
or if I am,
– smile –
and doubt will laugh its crippling way
along this stream of thought
until I stop and ponder and retrace
and delete signs enough
where some edge of heart-map behind the narrator
saunter into view.

Here would be a good point to stop and take
the ceaseless river and turn it
back on itself, a coat’s padding revealed
or a harmless suggestion raised from a frown.
Even now and here I long to do it again,
to edge backwards towards the rushing river beat
and its parade of smoke and silence
longing to reveal colour without body,
washing over meaning until all you see:
glittering sunlight, your reflection,
hints without answers.

Whatever I do, however I turn the lens
close but not too close,
the twist-necked starling prodding at a truth
it’s easier to retreat from,
or keep moving onward to the next

but writing, even this,
is always the hope of discovery
saying something for the first time,
finally running towards instead of away,
allowing
words
their own freedom
and yours, too:
mine.

Advertisements

Before waking (11 September)

Gazing light shears through
This peeking gash

They seem to be multiplying
These murmuring goblins

Unfortunate that I,
Curtain-ripping,
Gouge eyes in their fabric,
Distraught menace piercing
Tired sentries.

Each careless slip raises
Memorialised regret, self-spoken
Promises on certain accidents
These sprouting holes
Appearing like some sleight of hand
With unsympathetic ease
At my touch
Pulling, testing the integrity
Of these fickle bonds.

Self-doubt: tempting to peel
Away in a single gesture
Hold tight the reigns
Bullish matador:
Seize, grip, swish
That singular unspoken breath
Before darkness is stripped bare.

You startle at these little fears
Parting gaps and loosened edges
Threading thoughts together.

Doubts first start coming apart
At the seams.

There’s nothing to say (29 May)

Really, because it means
what it says is her reply
to a foolish question that
comes after I have read it
line
by line
so they can see it pull at us
these marionette-stringed words
reverberating like the dancer
extending each carefully-planned step
with such poise that you
can’t believe this was ever rehearsed,
and as your eyes flickered
from the page to theirs
you could feel a knowing gaze
from them,
sense between half-breaths a floating
hesitation, eyes peeking over the precipice
and forgetting grey carpets in square rooms to
inhale poetry
whose fragrance does not need to be
labelled because after our collective silence
though we can try and distil the scent,
retrace the dancer’s route,
turn the flashlight on or dust for clues
instead we hold this note because
within it echoes, and echoes and
there’s nothing to say.

Meditation on two sculptures (21 May)

This is written more with slam poetry in mind, or at least the rhythm and roll that comes from being read aloud with pace and passion

I never folded them with my own hands.
I never took the time and care to calmly add the fine creases,
or bend edges skywards, twist and raise each corner
into the carefully finished form upon my shelf.
And yes, I’ll admit that my first reaction when I came across those two abandoned trophies
after your quick departure –
symbols of our wasted hour together –
my first reaction involved the formation of a small smile
before it turned inwards
into something closer to the needless balling up of paper.

Most days I crane my head and see them,
aging reminders of one moment and so many moments
when you or they or them or all of you
retreat and make your disappearance known in one of a dozen conjuring tricks
where you ignore this crowded hour, forget the lines and perform
only for yourself
your first trick a dozen spirals
blossoming in that empty wasteland.

There is no other trick.
No one applauds.
Should they?

And all I want to do
is to show you, and them, and all of us
that you can unfold your mind and see that blank space
is unlimited opportunity that can be refolded and enfolded
in infinite dimensions until you have so much more than
this single token.

Because you do not want to visit the edges of this territory,
do not see that this leg of the journey is in fact part of a bigger map,
unencumbered by the limits of the now.
Tomorrow is here today, but maybe I am not the guide
to show you, to take you there or you are yet to find that guide.

It need not be me.
You won’t believe it.
You may refuse.
Go ahead.

But are you searching?

But if for a moment all of those temptations and distractions
the blue lights and grey noise
with their remarkable hum
would disappear
and your evaporating vapor trails of thought
would condense
there might be something more
than this.

Because now all I do is look up and question,
look up and wonder whether I am the only one looking up.
And if I tell you all of this, not just that you have added
another crease, another fold to me
but that you have this, all of this –
this life, this moment, this opportunity, this chance –
would you still remain blind?

Or maybe I’m the one who doesn’t see?