Shine

When I wanted a river,
An ocean arrived
With its astounding medley
Of tremors and surges,
In its sudden bending and sway.

Absent Poseidon, the sea cannot
Be locked shut and its glare
Pretended away.

I have known sudden
As something relative,
Shocking and startling increments
With their readable auras.

Citrus,
  Bright sun,
    Soft teeth,
Pressing an ear to the vagabond skin of time.

This is dancing weightless
On the silent pond,
Holding the brine of white noise
Between lips.
And wanting, waiting.

You cannot wash away the bay,
Forget the bitter lapping
Against the sweet.

Decades

X.
Reckoning with solid rules.

Having reached the point where the years seem to hold
A constancy and by the end of which
Adulthood blooms over the horizon,
Relish the way letters form the same each time
You sign initials, your self.

Who?
You.
Shrugging off sudden autumns,
Questioning unreachable flights,
Admitting guises you cannot take.

Yet ecstatic: how things balance out
At least into certainty
Because you grasp the names for things,
What they might become,
What you might not.

XX.
Where you try on new selves like clothes.

Expectation is a fairy godmother
Who disappoints, going AWOL, shirking her duties.
What, did you believe that maps were more than suggestions?
Or that smiles could not become obsolete?

When you could have been burning time
Years took on more solitude than solace,
Fields rolled out of view,
Acres emptied themselves into the wind.

XXX.
Where you climb the monolith.

In the accumulation of milestones and markers,
Still you might make a break from it,
For the unseen and unmet refuses to taper off
Unless the past is always revisiting us.

Speaking doesn’t make it so,
Nor does wanting, hoping, yearning
Or relenting.

Out strolling and talking, years back,
Between roses and summer, dividing possibility
Into intervals of life. Born under a comet,
Reminder of how long the journey,
How patient a return.

Netsuke

Whole, half and emptying
history needs all its hollows,
pleasure and pain alike

in recesses where dust won’t go.
Smooth pockets that make a second
heart for holding sun and silence,

all that fits past clasp and key.
Say the unwritten is unerasable,
not true, never having been

more than out of mind, a sound,
a hint or wish to know
how to cast a jigsaw of the sky.

In the columned quiet
of monuments, tombs and temples,
you wonder what was left unsaid

and why.

Depending on the myth

Eating the fruit or seeds and pith
means staying or going, while we lament
the source of fears, mists we’re sent.

And long enough stranded on the shore
imagining the skein in the far, dark sky
and braving despair gladly,

already how far this resplendent neverness
seems etched like smoke and ice beneath the skin.
Towers tell their pain in ethered puffs,

a translucent track through twilight.
The world has clouds and light enough already
to tend the moon, abseiling night.

It’s already etched in, the scent of skin,
to this damp and sliding soil, the swallowing earth
wondering what fruit, if any, it may birth.

Walking dreams

I’ve been scrambling the thesaurus for its tangerine clouds,
trying to whip solutions from the dust into truth.

Instead a mess of stars and gusts send hinges daywards
while all answers adhere to the flanks of trailing ships.

And all nouns collect behind the frowning ether
furnishing the shadowed rooms, dreary with their suggestions.

Sitting here, watching and scouring the silence,
the days keep slipping their skins, becoming new words.

Maybe you know

the fat, constant sweep of the fan
blades my mind, stopping it from flat-lining
into those meditative valleys

that swing and blow and dream, cold and ripe,
beyond the pale dawn, cast in white,
where they’re sawing down fresh metaphors of the flesh

for the tailor in his absent humming
and sharp cologne knits lips and words together,
guiding his needle in to make new light

where I am here for a single blazing moment
taking tea with the muse
and the daemon, both and all marveling

at tomorrow’s more, how gusting magic unsettles
one word from the next,
where any suggestion becomes a supple text

to lean on, wafting, like this one
a sudden spear of fresh-sewn language
blooming from a rough-tossed seed

thrown outwards with a single fanning need

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.

Pointing out (31 December)

Burning the year waiting for skipped beats,
your ear held ajar against the bass line
holding out for the drummer’s slip, any fumble
added to your catalogue of others’ errors
fuels your compilation, jukebox list of
enduring complaints become your year in review
we expect, accept, all the haunting imperfections
these recollections claw away with tell-tale
rhythm, eye rolls, lukewarm laughter, a snort
of self-inflating contempt, your immolation.