Paradox

If I die
Does that fly,
(Industrious in my boardroom-soul),
Die too?

The answer lies in morning truths;
I have seen too much death
To live without the absolutes
Of moths and fly-wing truths.
Await ahead, the multiplicity of universes
Wait renewed,
For the fly lives on without me,
But that singularity buzzing
In my mind’s
Unhealthy eye
Is discontinued,
And so the two states
Unfold together,
Uncomfortable together,
Yet necessary ever since
The primordial glue,
Made endless as Pi
When considering as I
Pulled the duvets of truth
Over my view
Of all the possibilities
Latent, residual,
In me, and in you.

Pigeons On The Gate

I crave an end to endless days.

This season must be Spring.
I have just witnessed a return
Of two boisterous
Libidinous
Courting pigeons.
When I open a door
They act above suspicion;
A flurry of downy-grey feathers
And chesty burrs under
Intentions Nature has hidden.
A dog is defending her right
To galvanise all dust and dirt,
She chases her own tail
As though extraneous.
We are much the same
Through heaven and earth.

I caused all this
With my senses, with my
Tick-tock tick-tock
Effervescence surfacing
In defiance of my
Self-sabotaged demise.
But pigeon, and dog,
Also a headless chicken,
You are complicit, too,
Existing in my field of view.
The garden not long since
Waterlogged
is now is my synagogue.

I flirt just as those pigeons
With the edge of spiritual
Inhibition.
Back to my yard-broom,
Back to my shelving.
This air is the same air
Of a twenty-year old’s depression,
His lonely, self-misunderstanding
Breath. Unfaltering in your
Hungry unhappiness;
Dear adolescent self,
Let go of the fallacies
Surrounding you;
I have not advanced,
I have not progressed.
I dance with the dust
And the dust is my death.

Temple Bar

Your love is my temple
Where we enter
In reverential
Silence.
These tasselled
Tabernacles
Inside you
Are draped
With silks and refined
Ores from the shores
Of the Aral Sea,
Luminescent shells
And gold-leaf murals
Of peacocks and grapes.
This temple, (just like that arid bed
Once home to sea-cucumbers
And one exotic fungus which
Expunged all poverty,
Caused wars born from
Tribal animosities),
Flooded once, yet while all
Around the shops and houses
Resounded with torrential
Waters and furniture pounded,
(They were engulfed by the love
Of the Lord all around them,
Inundated beyond survival),
Yet you stood firm,
Outlasted all the others.
Your love is the beginning,
An entrance, the frame
In which my adoring form
Is made out of shadows.

We are a communion
Our love out of your love
Conducted by a lightning rod
Until earthed in a channel.

I must be mistaken
If the worth of sleep is awaking.
A telephone rings briskly
Somewhere in brittle distances.
I get dressed and feign existence
In the inbetween life
And all its anodyne mechanics;
I go to work solely so that
I can live and pray again
In those shadows.

Searchlight

It was your birthday
Twenty years or so ago;
We descended into a city
Of ghost re-rendered
Restaurateurs
Mostly only known to us.
Strange how
None of this exists right now,
Except perhaps
Within my pillow-bounded head.
(Can dreams be transferred
From my subconscious mind
Through or even then from yours?
Do you also walk these dead
Pedestrianised streets
Of the deeply-raised interred?
)
It is with a distinct sense of dread
That I am always falling asleep,
From fear of these cities
And people who are
No longer the same,
For they all emerged without me,
A subliminal sequence
Of years long ago.

You hadn’t changed,
Still good-humoured,
Still talkative,
You walked into an establishment
Named the Ho-Ho for
Whatever unknown reason,
And you told a silent joke
To a new waitress and her
Two dumbfounded customers.
And so it was your birthday,
And that Chinese eatery
We searched for
Where your coterie
Of twentysomething
Student
Aficionados
Had slipped, shifted
Away from its mooring
Adjacent to l’office du tourisme
Located by the river
Where eleven vessels
Ride the rip
In the seams of my dreams.
I am denim to a somnambulant
Nocturnal god’s demesne.

Inexplicably, my role
Suddenly evolves to carry your
Curry-coloured shoes,
And then also later a
Stuffed blue bear, a child’s toy,
(Still holding your shoes),
An armful of regalia
And vintage paraphernalia.
I held the door for your peers
But was not invited
To the benches where
The glitterati sipped
On bamboo juice
And green tea hips.

Your German teacher made a tarte,
The Chinese menu à la carte;
I wonder when my heart
Restarts.

I have had this awful
Gnawing sense my whole
Long life that I was born
For arduous tasks,
While with something inside me brewed,
Malformed to fail,
How the audience laughed
And now, half-formed,
I replay it all each night,
A searchlight from my
Buzzard soul above
A pre-dawn gorse,
Hovering over those very fields,
Hedgerows, lanes, old roads still,
For the fugitive source.

Bare Feet, And A Breakwater

For a fleeting moment
My unfathomable toes and feet
Seem almost real to me,
Almost within reach,
As a once-foamy, infamous sea
Slips between and over
Mirages of my own
Mutinous limbs,
Sockless and unshoed.
Saints preserve us,
I am an unremarkable sinner.
I am an extension of the sea,
The sea exhales me and
For a fleeting moment
I almost feel alive.
Treacherous, beloved sea,
Beachcombing my dreams
For all you might retrieve,
You leave me empty handed
Until randomly and yet also
Not quite randomly
A glass appears in my hand,
Liquidless, my left arm aloft
Perseveres
As I make a toast
To my seaweed-surrendered
Familial ghosts.
Involuntarily, I lift a single
Foot, prosaic yogic pose
And in doing so
Crack the tragedies;
Another wave, just
As the old; another me,
Just as the one before;
I count my losses in beads
On a cord around my fortieth wrist,
The reality is this:
My waves do not break
But retreat, and retreat;
With each gravitational pull
The Moon colludes
With the sea, and these losses
Amount to someone else’s
Distant, enriching dream.

I must fulfil something, surely.
A spine of briny breakwaters
Backtrack towards a lower tide.
I cannot physically touch the loss.
One day, with the last great loss
Accounted for, there will be no need
For water, and you will be able to walk
From here, to that line of spruces
Just visible across the gulf
Which on summer days in my youth
Likewise appeared almost real in
Their shimmering form and
Remorseless truth.

Visitations

In this weary adulthood
I cannot imagine
If those events actually happened
And if so, interred,
Misunderstood?

I am not one for turning over stones,
The hot stones of my youth
As impenetrable as the basalt eyes
Of the terrifying basilisk
Of myth, reputed to
Induce death with a single blink.
All these ghosts with their
High-level dependencies,
Their egos and their
Aggravating needs continuing
Long beyond our diaspora,
Long beyond death,
Remorselessly they approach,
Ceaselessly, a man once kindred,
A disappeared friend,
Their arms are tangled and
Darkly entwined like
Night-wire ivy in my dreams,
In the gloaming dream of the
Gloaming dream of the
Gloam of my stones.
They are heated,
Placed with skilled deliberation
On my back, my spine,
And I retreat, a shadow-fact,
Into a station, into a flat,
Into diminishing time.

And then you are there, living.
Will I be forgiven
For what I used to do?

Ode To Loss

I missed my coast-path daily,
Habitual old rabbit-paw friends;
And daily my undressed heart is
Stopped, sunk and restarted.
This is why a government
Installed defibrillators
In disused telephone kiosks
In every town and village.
For Dear Lord knows
I was not born to enrich anything,
Nor with only obals to pay,
Those coal-pennies tied by my wrist;
Nor to be so opportunistic
In blustery thoughts
And deeds as unrobust
As the grounded rusty trawler
Rattling in abandonment
As to dismiss
My heritage. I am from
The northern fringe
Where death is expected
And life’s an acquired taste.
Spare me accusations
Of being awfully maudlin
Or as morose as those unfed mosquitos,
Lethargic beneath the cliff-top lamps;
The near-dread ghosts unappeased
On their deathbeds are
Entitled to lucid oaths
And tiptoed pleas.
What use is a coastline, anyway?
An edge, ellipse, an ending;
Good grief is not for mending.
In those silent dunes to our left
Just over your shoulder
A young boy died,
Tunnelling with plastic spades
The sands gave way to
Somewhere colder inside.
I carry that family’s sadness
Compassionately and completely
Yet without their approval
Or knowledge.
Unwanted gifts,
The authorities in joint-wisdom
Installed a wooden sign which reads
Non giocare su queste sabbie;
Back then I misinterpreted this
As do not live now or then again,
Not more than a day or two,
That’s all there is remaining.
And over there, beyond
Greenish sea-sump pools
With seaweed symphonies and
Cruel ghoulish-claws of June,
Is where that lad’s car
Fell fifteen metres down the scar
Then through lagoons
Only to reach its rest
Wedged between a dream
Or two. He survived;
A farmer’s daughter now his wife,
And if not for him and
Loss of loss
The authorities in their
Infinite wisdom glossed
Would not have installed
A heras fence on this eternal cliff-top,
Although in autumnal winds
The fence would drop,
Often taking flight just like a
Dull metallic gull or
Mournful curlew’s song
From last year’s furloughed crop.