Galapagos

Reaching outward towards some island
traced out in hyphens and hieroglyphs,

in lamp-lit hours, drifting shapes,
cinnamon-tinged mysteries of life’s arrangement.

How: inventing a story to fit that sweet desire
for how things lunged forward with or without us

into a Galapagos, held in distant regard,
some classic inched down, only a name.

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Sand dreams

Here is where I retreat,
under yawning bark and view

releasing a tiny, forgotten universe
held together by lashings of memory.

I imagine owning the fabulous adornments
of a reckless youth, brittle inventions

or useful battle scars, the bright ferment
giving birth to aged sighs, a slow release.

To sit and sift through novels of a past
that feels real by its invention

with old rocking-chair men poring through
dusty tabloids of shuttered, bygone hopes,

cursing and loving the past in lamentations,
possessing it again in monochrome

under cover of roofs, hats, denials.
Devotion in this place takes no shape

dissolving out of reach and view,
though the past is always underfoot.

Or we invent it without seeing, without knowing
we have pinned all our hopes to its mast,

much as the earth astounds the castaway skies,
bracing the stars, the dream’s quiet music.

Pursued

Palate of silver winds and shades too slow
to tame the stretching vectors,
birds we scrape words across, like Zeno
inventing a puzzle of the entrancing sky,
draining its unclenchable mystery.

Until even in the woods of thought
under the wide-brimmed canopy of metaphor,
conversations become homonyms
for each other.

Inhabiting that small cabin of quiet history,
pursued by the flushing snow
of restless thoughts tilling rooftops,
with the morning carving its diminuendo
a familiar shape of day
whirring everything into the self-same shape.

To be otherwise, to be other
in words to step
beyond mere echo of that forest
outside these walls.

Voices I have read before, I shelter under
your steady frame, dreaming instead
how new colours will slide out across the tongue of time,
how leaves will split across their horizons,
spilling out new verbs
that we can taste the unmade universe.

No more than this, much more
we twist to escape the comfort
of everything we have already read,
and steady paths known by ripe grass
that swoops and waves and tells
without knowing why,
other than that it must.

A thousand dreams of blue

In a thousand dreams of blue,
over and over,
strummed by sandwiched sea and sky,
gull-clear and even-tempered
valves of light announce a melody.
Everything under-wing, this worship
of waves, whose art
is never letting go.
And somewhere, sometime
astir between despair and hope
plucks out the firmament
into a dazzling array
away from its short monochrome,
you announce yourself
the very definition of azure.

Dandelion dust

Restart the breath of spring, retake dew drops
as morning flows down the flute of nature’s spine.

Now yesterday’s bright petals grow paper sharp,
from hours of constancy fading like a subtle wind

while countless dawns suggest an ode (there is one here,
somewhere) inscribed on the bark of others’ dreams

and parched desires. Removing themselves from the minutes
they have pulled over and slowed for no reason

other than to inhale the river’s dust and wondrous deltas,
still under the endless lamp of time.

The all-divulging sea

In the steady arclight
of afternoons past
bewitched by imagination
trading memories
for the eel-skin future

warbling and ajar with loose change
those small schemes
whose butterfly netting
swat at skyscrapers
hardly leaving a stain

your back pressed up against the window
of some line you read
once this morning
or in a somewhere moment
all its indented caverns aflutter

while bursting in again
the moon falls quiet
restless and reflecting
as the all-divulging sea

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.

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.