Lodestone

Another name for wisdom forgets
how marks and stains overwrite their past,
means pretending autumn always was, and leaves
never stood intact and green before.

Offering a tribute to ruin and rubble
in its tranquil splendour requires a certain trance,
a suspension the young sparrow makes
scrounging in the diagonal rays.

Of carbon, only take diamond and coal,
pulling teeth from time’s hard gums,
those sore trophies and a body
brandishing its happy scars.

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Her mind wanders, distracted

Play on, you would,
if not for the feeling
someone else has been here already
or her already
with the momentum of the windborne
planned out, or not, uniting sight and line.

How: in a moment the hand flutters between
tenderness and treachery,
fingers deciding,
gentle leaves can soon retake the muscle memory
and shout like bellows,
palpitating organ song.

Rise and surrender
and play,
play on or pause,
or breathe and huff.

Other have chosen before, little gods
scratching for toys,
this one quivering silently on the glass:
winged and wingless, ruled from above.
You could be choosing freedom, as you play skin
against hard skin, hand to life,
gambling whether it will rise
or fall.

A Formula for Living (8 December)

How to recapture the design for youth’s
Inquisitive eye creeping into small gaps,
Crooked places holding life’s careful mysteries,
Whose constant fiddling and axis-tilting dims
To bleak acceptance of this invariant now?

How blood stirs when unsudden life is jostled
Awake by a single and unexpected discordant
Bang that grips your shoulders like a madman
Concussing the unchanging present with a
Mighty blow, this ever-waking unstill now.

We marvel at a single distraction that blossoms
Into an accumulation of these neglected wonders
Respiring beside the constancy of all the
Sweating days and nights where our stumbling,
Sealed lives are ripped apart by

A hidden cat who startles us, and it, correcting
Gilded eyes in shock while overhead arachnids
Perform high-wire maintenance, bending girders
Against the foaming winds, their labor
Unmoved by this, our blissful gaze.

Be still
For these brief seconds:
Only look,
Let time wait.

Spring Rains #2 (16 November)

Spring rains, where are you?

Your winding tracks   rivulets that stick
As tea leaves do, smudged remnants recall
Some hundred forgotten stains. We pick
Those we would wipe dry before they fall.

In one scene, your arm up-reaching to save,
We think, an apple trimmed too soon, displaced
By gravity’s truth. Palm upward-poised to pave
Soft earth might mute its falling, unbraced

For this metaphor to come unstuck
As hand, tree, apple all fall apart
When we realise we cannot pluck
Hope from life’s branches as birds start

In song. We cannot sing out in prayer for
Spring rains, though we need your afterglow,
Wait for epilogue to follow downpour
When the world breathes and this flow

Smiles itself dry.

On the 10th of October (1o October)

I remembered today and
Before it passes, this
Quarter-life, half-life
All gone since you left
Would say

Your leaving, the last of many departures
We mark
The strangest anniversaries, these,
Disappearing acts
Performed once only
Bringing silent pleas for an encore
   Empty house
   Cold room
   Skin.

Breathe.
No.
No.

The rest is –

Before I began to increment
Days into months into years
Commenced within an hour
In fractured passing,
Your voice would sometimes crash
Against the walls of dreams
Awake, asleep, its echo blurred.

Mind’s eye, my sense of you,
Once so loud dims to
Those final monochrome moments,
Pale, bleached shades of

Your eyes
Your face
Skin,
Touch,
Breathe.

Please.
Not again, again, again.

Again.

This is the clock that
Unwinds my life
Echoing with such precision.

Where does love disappear to?
Can it fade or merely hide?
Does not leave but
Haunts us
With what cannot be undone.

So when I remember today
I will try to see
The smiling years,
The Before
Though I cannot unsee

You follow me everywhere
All of you
Everyday

So I will remember the next
When it comes
If only to remember and
Mark these days.

Unstill Life – Rewrite (22 July)

Where do they keep letters lost,
words and thoughts so quickly
abandoned to unseen mists?

I peer out at the horizon
as stars rise and fall,
forever seeking
through all the yesternights and days,
ten thousand faded Polaroids
that glimmer and fade at once.

And in this ebbing darkness
the mind shows its cracks and tribunes
as life leeches out, through
this labyrinth of history.

Try to keep it steady but one river
leads on or cuts through the next
like a tidal wave of unstill life
your mind will never tame.