honesty is overrated,

life’s pronoun for lies
delayed or better claimed
than the eye can wrestle with

or name for their subtle, spinning dervish dance,
steady as the candle’s flailing ember game
against a snapshot of chewed fairground floss,

or creaking piano stool and the song
of you, this and each step’s saccading rush
between ligaments of cotton and silk

seems breathless and hesitant all at once,
a frictious con of skin, sound and disclosure.
It’s all in the release, the sweet suggestion

of no more attempt at throated deflection,
while shadows still enclothe the pages
as the light retreats, only jagged grazes

admit in trying to scrawl it out,
transcribe new soul to memory
what lingers here, nor you, nor me

our verbatim dance of honesty.

Serpent Stories

We make a dish of serpent stories,
take the taste and repentant
shock, averse to the look:
that twin propeller spinning its thin tongue
one way, then the other.

Like some amuse truth
if you pardon the look,
pink paste piped and waiting for
a trip of the tongue,
(yum yum).

Much more taste it turns out
than a tangled mass of
myth and memory.

Nestling in the silver light,
under the blackened cityscape
back, back where a thousand
dazzling dots and night gusts
outside this blinkered room
and this was real for
who you were then
and this was and is fear
for all of you now.

(These nights deceive us all
even as we recompose them,
even as we invent them.)

A single offering to your past
and future
so salty.

All while the propeller’s tail rotates
and flaps its tempting truth
knowing a reluctant taste
leads onto taste and another bite
will have you leaping back
never realising it breeds
that craving:
more, more.

When nibbling again on that tale
over and over gnawing its root
you find it so smooth,
delightful the way it crackles
on your tongue
soft and sharp without suspicion,
too much like butter
how easily it melts away.

We hear (27 July)

tangled plaques these twisted words,
rebelling at their limits like some
helium-filled story longing to be
unwound, untold, exasperated in a
single rush of exhaustion.

cannot find the beat where truth
first glanced fiction, abandoned the map.
cannot scratch off the coating that
formed when in that pulsing instant
memory was a second thought.

embraced in these miseries,
until they are no longer ours,
until by sharing pain we mute
throbbing secrets into
cracks in solitude’s lonely walls.

suddenly they are only quoted moments
because telling a story
makes it your story
untangled with that first breath:
“this is what happened.”