A final vocabulary

That year I gave up
on mastering the dictionary
between advocate and avocado,
I like to think,
but it took a few letters longer
for the infinite to sour.

Always was missing
and always was departing.
The pendulum could not merely
swing across the chasm
when some grander jump
would take us whole across.

It seems we return again
to simple comforts and pleasures,
the melodies of before,
forsaking more for less,
content that it takes a glance
only to trust who we are.

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.

In your own words

We traffic in words
their fuse and pop and darting light
the mad electric parade
becomes our mind,
a
reaching out as we revel
in making thought from old
with the scrambling hop of fingers
pressing into the grease-proof clay
always springing back and forth
between new, never and timeworn delight.

O, how we revel knowing words.
Touching, they merge
to trip us beyond,
and even meeting at the intersection
of silence and confusion, staring
blankly
distraught because the lights haven’t bloomed
again and all our moves are governed
by the same recursive loops
drummed into us,
no matter. True enough.

No matter these,
when the boundless sky swirls here
and there at once
enough that you know what I mean
in your own words.

Rules for splitting syllables

I am always catching up with the past
but mostly its fears
nestling skull-deep and muscle-stitched,
restless hints behind the eye that twitched

and it has worked me over
like the tree whose yearly carapace
circumnavigates a sea of years
becoming more like itself, more the tears

a child feels, rushing anger at inconstant rules
for splitting syllables and making meaning
out of watching the earth rise up
severing, bisecting and dissolving love

having made pacts with myself
I have been constant
in breaking them

the way I tie shoelaces and tomorrow,
or move my brow from mystery to sorrow
I stay in motion
hoping to fling myself free

these yesterday syllables binding me

Ghost objects

they tip off the tongue and its rolling train
  tracks bending towards the haze again

misremembered fruit, globed like another language
  whose sharp breeze stirs many somethings

count the footsteps the moment after landing
  as a clock quivers the second after seconding

the sour trace of absence sings
  yesterday will hold what clings

Everything that rises

And here’s magic out of falling,
a punctuated sky
dripping blues
whose brain drops silence
into easing fields.
We should know
when we realise the hills
their lush and sweating rows
of miles
skimmed by sea-sweet memory.
Try to break bread
under the infinity of hope
and its rippling crust of neon
or feed the flock
with the rhythm of kindness.
Everywhere is devoured
and everything rises.
While the crew sings panic
into the engine
the shore startles
leaving the trick
to cauliflower outwards.

To Persistence (27 July 2015)

Each word read extinguishes hope of the next,
A library’s shelves running in reverse,
Possibilities slowly fleeing.

Footfalls in retreat from
Rattling thoughts
Tamed to silence.

We were so close to finding out when
Our words burned like days,
Recalling déjà vu.

Bred of countless imitations
We raised quotidian thoughts,
Unexpected rediscoveries.

Imitation upon imitation upon imitation.

Our flame, our wick. The infinite moon.
Fireflies become metaphor lost
Within a beat, a moment, withering words.

Wasting sleep we feed the nightly soil
Awaiting the arrival of morning buds
In unseen letters.

Tomorrow we will try again
To paint the world.

Before speaking (19 December)

They are just words,
Just people.
This is just a fleeting moment,
One of many
That mark our lives –
We will remember them
Only in the shades
Of memory’s pale fire.

So live in today’s quick-passing minutes.
Just be yourself:
They are your people,
All they want is to hear,
To smile.

So smile, too.
After all, it is just
Lexemes, sentences.
(And spoken language vanishes
In time’s waters):

They are just words.

///
This was composed for a friend today, on a special occasion. Congratulations! I’m leaving it exactly as it was written, with no editing. Because they are just words. But oh, what are we without words? What would we be?
(Also, a hat-tip to Mr Nabokov for a few particular borrowed words.)