Tomorrow rises

It’s easy as uncapping the street to discover yesterday,
difficult as this time-worn patina, spore-seed grown
in the pollen breath of memory and expectation.
Worming into the silent, still canals of there and back,
Arches, shadows and bridges gather and disperse
according to rules of place and absence,
indecipherable as palm lines or half-known faces
a heartbeat away from empathy.

Here we are, could be, once more again
sipping questions against the mist-slung skies,
because every truth suggests something to hold onto,
every artifact was worth preserving, someone said.
Just as our galaxies might meet, their planets align,
nebulae brushing up against the rain-kissed glass.

All the never-yesterdays are gone,
never to have arrived, replaced instead
by all the nothings fleeing,
leaving behind these swarming infinities.
Something lingers in the trembling notes
like itchy moths rumbling the quiet cabin,
leaving while wishing to grasp those pulsing lights.

Look, below. How those palisades and ponds
conjured only out of mind, their continental dreams
retracting into a soft simmer, then the quiet.

In another life we are always
leaving things behind,
the dull remains
of misbegotten youth
with its rinsed out yesterdays.

Yes night, O night, with your nostalgic ebb and laugh,
turning over moods for greedy fodder
though you are here
even you must relent and close up show,
your library hours cease for now:
touching feet to your solid waters,
the street spills, and tomorrow rises.

[A note: this is something I wrote elsewhere first, but I’ve redrafted. Ironically the revised version is more melancholic and darker, an almost inversion of the poem that gave it birth. The narrator is fictionalised :)]

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Random Objects

Begin here an unfilled lyric,
much like a city has walls we can no more see
than the quiet pillars of the mind,
barricades that need dismantling.

Only when we clear away
a confusion of souvenirs and sorrows is there
sign of grassland new,
canvassed by some unplanned design.

See how the years bear little relics
proving somehow that nothing gathered can be lost
against your will, only laid aside or reassigned
behind those spaces even dust won’t go.

Look: I’ve laid it out for you,
all the scattered pieces fallen and askew
sound confused and beg for naming
but I refuse to give the eyeless voices,

So I try again to make a list
but I’m falling short and open.
The scattering and the toppled props
reward me with disdain unless

I try once more to sort and ease
away now more than memories. Then hope
arrives and I object: O life, that leaves
us grasping for these walls to fold.

A Passing Shower (June/July)

Vacant streets
cut grass
empty mornings
we fret.

Watches spin
time runs
hours flee
we stress.

Right shoes but
wrong socks
forgotten phone
we groan.

Somewhere mayhem bombs
and people flee their
panicked lives while
we bemoan

in column inches with
sordid pity, chattered fragments,
sixty-second updates
we sigh.

Interrupt our misery with
gossiped snapshots of
death and despair
we hear, we want to

in regular intervals
of foreign nowheres
made whole by estimates that
we can pity.

There’s nothing to say (29 May)

Really, because it means
what it says is her reply
to a foolish question that
comes after I have read it
line
by line
so they can see it pull at us
these marionette-stringed words
reverberating like the dancer
extending each carefully-planned step
with such poise that you
can’t believe this was ever rehearsed,
and as your eyes flickered
from the page to theirs
you could feel a knowing gaze
from them,
sense between half-breaths a floating
hesitation, eyes peeking over the precipice
and forgetting grey carpets in square rooms to
inhale poetry
whose fragrance does not need to be
labelled because after our collective silence
though we can try and distil the scent,
retrace the dancer’s route,
turn the flashlight on or dust for clues
instead we hold this note because
within it echoes, and echoes and
there’s nothing to say.