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.

Mythologies

Knowing nothing is all you ever know.
Like seeing the fallen cedar limb that has come
down while you were taking the temperature of tomorrow
with a question.

On a whim, that reckless cousin of fate,
you drive out again to that pond where yet again
airy thoughts collect into a solid mass.

Take aim against the water’s pale skin,
or at least imagine how a measured throw
might glance against the grain and skim
the order of things.

As if stories were other than a claim against chaos,
the invention of ripples from clean silence.

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.

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.

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.

Camera obscura

When I am not so much strained, one day,
holding scatterings unsaid, when I have gained
and lost enough to let the truth of things
slip out like seaweed, what of the water?

The past gushing, the bough boiling,
a bag of almond meal never used for fear
at letting sweetness fall. Nor do they make
guarantees for the future, guides for how to take

yourself apart from yesterday. We are
outlasted and outdone by distant years, perhaps,
in their consoling way. Will I know? Crafting walls
whose doors we fear to test, not trusting

how to sketch space when the sudden moon subsides
leaving little room for seeing what silence hides.
You hold tomorrow up and take this pulse,
decant the sun, shy away, softly fading false.

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.

Sea-spray

I have been reading the sea,
through one of its many windows, you might say,
if you knew the bliss and waft of foam,
inviting fingers of the waves, their willing arms
talking dust and detritus to swooning tips.

Hold the stain of these pages
by the spine of their dull watermark, sand-blessed,
up to the shade of youth,
faintly superstitious and quiet
to all the bellowing infinities.

The tide of days sweeps in,
soon and now.

A little longer we will sit here,
catching the near-far silence with wondering,
entrained on the here and soft horizon.
We will wait, still longer, until the mist
gull-high and dream deep fills the soul.

Andante days

Where are the andante days of spring,
where gone their watercolor glow?
For now all leaves pass maple brown
while minds run glazed by snow.

The lanes soon grey and smooth with noise
of gusts rushing in to break
some sediment of yesterday
that these chill months cannot slake.

And yet the year leaps on anew
as full heart-heavy times can’t last
more than a lulling interlude
knows soon these skies will have passed.

Moonfall on a broken atlas

Hand on the rudder, reading pagewise as the silt
scurries up in the wake
only the slow drift of hair askew and dripping,
this swirlpool of story

We in silence here have been sitting
and still drifting until the float
of mosquitoes swells, reminding now night
that it too should be stirring

With faces bending low into caverns dark
the limestone of slow-brewed selves
jutting in some other script whose curlicues
tease out an atlas obscura

And running back with the flow, forward-bound,
you know, as the breathless drop does
where water takes on water
  together and asunder, waiting

Absent-hearted, the pause holds back the tide
of days bearing up the calling night
whose darkness pools as much as light,
where moonfall and falling boats both rise.