Moon quartet

Each time I try to write a verse
I make a carnival of the lines
because what I want to convey,
such awe – that pendant, silent

and pensive in its scarf of night
cut from the cloth
of every night and every moon
and every eye.

It doesn’t matter.
Holding the same horizon up
to the rattling of fingertips
unfurls such joyous song.

It is the sound the tide makes,
the glow of a restless tomorrow
stitching lines of memory
into shadowed, sleeping ground.

Party Animals

Breakfast on the relics of each jungle night
where now they feast on headphone juice,
unclenching feet from rubbing cages, tight
leather traps, heels and straps now loose.
How gripping close a coat might reveal
the sour chill, enchantments too soon made day,
rhythm of yesterday’s animal ordeal
or aftertaste of yawn-ripe kitten play.
No guidebook exists, nor an Audubon Society
to catalogue and collect their number:
these stripes and spots have no deity,
bending only for that dark horse, slumber.
Between the strobes and twisting light,
pouting for selfies with halogen so right
for the scent of lens flare, a fierce pose,
a tribute: this zoo will never close.

Owl Hours

What a gleeful chest of stolen images,
Waking life grants us its treasures
For wondrous taking, bestows a

Swaying form: an owl astride a wire, a
Turning, curious figure above the
Abandoning dark, the dust-weight of
Night ascending slowly through the hues

Like a child’s playful hand delighting
To run fingers over coloured pencil tin,
Feel each barrel’s braille-story sing
From heaviest blue to the lightest

Daylight where we feed on afterimages,
Years string together living dreams that
Dwindle to be reborn in our owl hours.

If I were braver I would (September 26)

Don night’s shades, or thereabouts, as I adopted the necessary disguise
Which would include wrapping firmly up my eyes, Zorro-like,
To take advantage of a still-early moon, its framed moment
A perfect pause before evening’s adolescent hours descend into
The regular, monotonous, teacup slumber of its lunar middle age

When, adopting careful pose, I could mimic the fence-line
Tracing a slow path against its grey, decaying teeth
Until I reached a point previously determined from which to
Launch this delicate operation and, confident of my success,
Discover a toe-hold on one rail, grip and pivot

Now finding myself in enemy territory, crossing the shadowed yard
Pace by careful pace to find that chained victim, voiceless, all alone
Conquered by the ruthless forces of human savagery,
I bend down after carefully adjusting this wretched cape’s straps,
Untethering the Jones’s dog, carrying him to safety

Here on hallowed ground, rescuer and rescuee would celebrate this
For at least a moment, long enough to realise the futility which
Sun’s fresh rays and daybreak might expose as surely as the
Inevitable barks, growls and sudden influx of pet-related
Accoutrements needed to sustain this sudden jubilation

Casting wide the net at once summons forth a veritable bevy of
Potential advocates and assistants, brave warriors for humane ends,
All Tweeting or Instragramming an implicit willingness to serve as
Accomplice or accessory for any number of noble causes
Aimed at restoring or retaining the Greater Good

Now, fleeing time means choosing the most practical (read: the closest)
And after settling on an animal liberation group whose mission statements
Seem admirable, a flurry of messages lobbed back, forth with little
Pings and pops foments a disbelieving rendezvous, pre-dawn,
In the parking lot of a local takeaway

There we meet, eyes first, I knowing nothing about her ex-flame the
Moody biologist whose name she will slip in and out of conversation
Through coming months, a cudgel flapped with accidental force, yet
Her protests in the simmering final days lambasting my supposed
Obsession with costumes should, in retrospect, hardly come as a surprise

But in that single halogen-encrusted moment that lends a sweet,
Albeit vampiric, twinge to love’s emerging wings, when imagination and
You are sealed within one new-born stanza, all we can hear
Are the soft sounds of night music, or what is actually Felix’s
Relentless growling as his claws and drool reduce my car’s upholstery to mush.

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.