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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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.

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.

Between falls

Wait at the vacant drop
displaced from ocean home
and this taste for words, an obsession
in cataloguing kept thoughts
will some day expire from overuse

perhaps fiddling at the margins
trying to push every symbol and break
into place has meant losing
sight and preferring
the skin-deep difference

there’s a density to looks
and the way a smile smells
or the mind retreats
flapping towards the equator
when winter’s skin forms

instead it’s always line music
always edges and rests and rhymes
inventing a pleasure of gulls
shaking loose a patience of drops
until, between falls, we rise.

Foraging for stars

Cutting up the sky to reinvent the earth,
in some small way, would be like plucking a star
from its socket, endarkening a nest of stories.

Their blazing path peeled clean away
dips the ordered life out of joint, amiss.
Can’t you have that too, the dream made flesh: this?

Must it always keep diving back under the dark surface
into escaping orbit, far and slippery beyond your touch?
All the while you wonder rivulets and speak so much

your eyes wishing myths might breathe again, for once,
for the first time, your mouth and lips testing
the bruise of these soft syllables, foraging for stars.

a jacket for its dust

a mountain ledge offers poses and position
on which to lean an easel
as one image knows another
in their easy friendship

suggests the moon stretching out a hand,
the fine-rimmed sun offering its cheek,
so to speak, while the earth waits
like a jacket for its dust

everything consumes like rippled cloth
unfurled over the cracks and rises
of a silent city, all-engulfing,
rhymes and myths and up-lipped cheeks

and down we go, valleying as quickly
as the mind permits
like dice with swift surprises
only the wind knows

those other sides our view reminds
we cannot speak each eroded peak

The Lotus Box

whenever I latch onto the words
having taken the long view, telescopic,
I’m always seeing their double duplicated –
hearsay’s echoes draw us close
before meaning does more than halve
instead of staving off a rhyme
that falls off mountainsides
pretending to echo.
there’s no meaning here, I should warn you
I’m mustering deception and its breezes,
lest you step too close to the sucker punch.
ego has its own ways of eating
echo chambers and projections,
offering an impression of bitter defeat
when hope is replaced with honesty
but these turns, like my mind,
realise a lotus box, sliding
away from the suggestions of a monument,
means acceptance of the exaggerated past,
not the failure of fable
nor the silence of tomorrow.

No haiku wisdom

The moment I dreamed
what stood before me easing
in the momentary light

some haiku wisdom
cutting away the branches,
a falling skyscape.

What hoax this,
what cheap transcendence
as if these became more than branches

thorn-encrusted and wound back,
relieved of their arthritic peel,
that hunch inscribing

an untrammeled march
upon us insatiably,
until it falls away.

First you catch up with the past

First you catch up with the past
then it overtakes you,
breathes in a need for movement:
autumns all at once.

It cannot arrive
soon enough,
with the rush to escape,
yearning to retrieve

knowing never quite again what was.
Irrepressible phrases, traces
left like accidental knee-marks
by artists embracing the canvas

Bending at the intersection of years where
signature stain, a flourish beyond words,
valleys restored to verdant bloom and rivers
turning cartwheels, laughing as leaves might.

The hours around hours,
before sunset and after
monuments to moments or just
a nod, a shake, a glance.