The Ghosts Of Ishinomaki

Tsunami alarm,
Taxi drivers disarmed,
Higher ground atoning.
I reached a surface
Of realities alone,
Snow falls
Unexpectedly
In the gall
Of bamboo forests
And bodies,
Multiple unnamed bodies
Disposed
Without ceremony,
Candles rammed
In hope,
Aren’t we all passengers
Somewhere?
Husbands
Who had to go,
Puzzles, low light
Over old tables,
A coercive approach,
A lonely widow;
Monk’s robe,
Three to go;
Rain harbour,
A taxi again
To whenever,
Facial masks
Will not last
In heaven.
A meal, a bead,
It doesn’t matter
So much to me.
Harbour wall
Or nothing at all,
Drive me to where
I need to be.
A dozen hungry
Gangrenous ghosts
And I’m the host;
A child’s toy,
Dragon’s mouth
On temple gutters in red,
There is no distinction here;
Yes, sometimes I cannot
Distinguish
Between the living and
The dead.

The Temple

One day all this will end,
Futile as the Sea to consider
Existence when the
Weeds reclaim the roads,
And far offshore offload
Post-coastline,
Fossils of litter
And a piece that once glittered
On the most beautiful chest
And wrest from the wrist
In swells and scallops
Of circadian
Harmonies.
The Sea then, endures,
Whole cities gone,
And even the parables
And phrases
Of sacred texts became
Little more than plankton
In the bellies
Of mammals with gills
And dreams about fish,
And ancient revenge
By growing two legs,
Just as ours were then, upright,
Two feet, unhindered by water
And waves thirty years
In their making and
As steep as Athena’s temples
And her garlanded head.
Irreparable trust,
Covenants rust
On the Sea bed
With traffic lights
Stuck on red,
And where once there were highways,
Rivers instead,
And then, a watershed.

And yet I would sacrifice
And trade
Ten oceanic years,
Arduous, longer
Than man-made metrics
Of time and place
And longer again,
For a day in the shade
Of my one beloved,
My one true friend.

Escargatoire

A promenade of snails
And promises daily entailed,
Within life’s escargatoire
Resides a finer refuge
From the Summer hails.

Every season
Unseasonal,
We walk a mountain trail.
Those fine Autumn rains,
Appalachian;
More than mizzle,
Less than drizzle,
Somewhere blessed and inbetween.

Reminding me of times
When briefly I felt
Communion with my
Thalassic soul,
And saltwaters surrounding
That long-lost littoral shoal
Changed, in time,
Jurassic coast
Metamorphosed whole
From teeth into salves
And then what else
I’ll never know,
Fuel for other people’s dreams
And other people’s songs.

We gave the world away
To dancers and to singers,
But in the giving of our gift
We salsaed with the sinners.

It will not be so long
Before this Autumn’s gone;
Where do we go, love,
With all our homes eroded
In this unfathomable loss;
Where chances all expired
And the precipice is seen,
Who will build a northern spire
Where you and I once dreamed;
Of weather and of mountains
And snails in their desmene,
And who will put a cross atop
Our church beneath the Sea.

Edenless / Endless

A lioncub played with hyenas
And complained
When they laughed
At his pride;
And a cuttlefish caught in nets
When striving to retreat
In longcoat-lines
Is poor man’s salmon disguise;
And a sparrowhawk’s
Airborne shortening,
Quickening breath
In the heat of the heart
Of a wasp nest demise;
These creatures died
With a startled sharpness
Keener than their births
And the girdle
Of this whole earth
In their eyes,
All are victims more to mankind
And man’s disease of language,
And man’s demeaning mind,
To subjugate, and classify;
Nature is nature’s intent alone,
There’s no greater or lesser divide
Than between you and I,
So I won’t be so shocked
When I rest my sore head
On an Edenless bed,
Aspic words preserve the lie.

Across The Glens

Across the glens
And through the trees

In Monarch antlers
Pollen breeze

We’d meet with love
And remedies.

A stagnant pond,
A ferrous stream,

By dreaming frogs who
Spoke in croaks of

Folklore and their journeys,
They woke a whisper of moths

Under mossy lichen-logs
Where we sat, held hands

And fell asleep in folds
Of wisdom and each other’s

Loss as if in blankets or ferns.
No one else could understand,

There’s no one quite like
You and me, for compassion’s

Company, not a single queen
Or king or woman or man,

Across the glens
And burning land.

The Drowning Bride

The Queen of the Skies retired,
Long live our runway king;
Her assignation had three names,
It’s best not to question pretence.

Eulogies for a fuselage,
Front pages in the press,
But forestries are macadam
And all the workers left.

Newsreaders are enthusing,
A partisan casting and bribe,
Like praising skills of a killer,
Some words as sharp as knives.

They’ll read from flooded desks,
Drenched laptops and manilla files,
By sinking sails and tillers,
About my drowning bride.

First Finches

First finches having landed,
Found a suitable place to nest
In rooftiles’ gapped teeth.

Lichen gums, worn enamel,
A tap that can’t be turned off,
I live in a land of crow’s feet

And magpies as relentless as
Camels traversing Saharan
Landscapes. I remember beads,

Kaftans, strange dreams of
Otherworldly animals
Drinking from a sandy stream.

These finches did not know
The motives of crows; now
All I hear is a constant alarm

Like a monotone screech,
A warning, a rallying call to live,
Though their breasts may be

As small as young dwarf
Coconuts before they fall
On undiscovered islands.