Symptomatic

Is this world both one and true
As that within my mind,
From Argonauts, Thelassian crew,
A golden fleece to find.

I felt the sea the same,
That gentle Aegean lapping;
Did Peloponnesian navies tame
The inlets I am mapping.

Or is this landscape’s manifest
From minds divested only;
Symptomatic, I am a guest,
Devoid of fleet and lonely.

Don’t pity me, a juvenile,
These sands and weeds aren’t homely.
Owned by ones I could not find,
Wandering lost and lonely.

Soul Mechanics

A samurai trod a path he’d chosen
To keep the peace from danger,
While love he left in dreams of a shogun
Broke his heart for a stranger.

He walked with his staff for a year and a half,
Seeking soul mechanics,
Though all he found was a constant sound
From the ancient waves’ rheumatics.

There was no art to his mission,
No destination, no learning;
Only forgoing her name’s definition
Might extinguish the flames of his yearning.

Love held his armour in place,
Sad truth when rusted by dearth;
He settled his debt with the great daimyo’s grace,
Though the parts still fell to the earth.

Along a coastal road, resigned,
I thought I saw him, ghosts apart;
Erroneous nomad, the way was designed
By those who would pierce your heart.

Ode To My Addiction

When feeling down in deeper depths,
Self-loathing flooding ten regrets,
The sure bouy’s back and surfacing fast
On waves that whisper ‘never last‘.

There is my rock to which I cling,
Where oldest sirens preen and sing,
Dressed in feathers I caressed
While pecking at my sunburnt flesh.

In succour I bloomed for an hour or so
But little considered my loosening soul
Would fill where prayers refuse to go,
In briny, speluncar fish-bone holes.

And though on sailing I depend
I always return to that place in the end,
The flock is feasting on my heaven
While my senses drain and deaden.

I convince myself, like many others,
That I’m alive and that’s enough;
My brothers below betray such comfort,
Empty-eyed beneath the bluff.

I woke, the awful crows transformed
In to an ambulance outside dorms;
A student there departs once more,
To a different, distant shore.

Maneki-neko No.2

My journey is only beginning,
Slowly with songs we are winning.

He told me I was broken,
And truth was simply a token

He stored beneath my tongue.
Truth received a bung

In case I could be opened
Without him here to co-depend.

Self-kindness looked away,
A village willow with dismay

Silenced Spring with all the same
Fragile leaves of falling blame.

He made a ladder with no rungs,
Butterflies flourished in his lungs.

A cat unpicked my mouth devout,
And now the coins are falling out.

Dig A Hole

My barren mind will oftentimes
Grasp for levelled words,
Its fallow field’s infertile,
Dreams dissolved to dirt.

I’d try to shake myself awake
Like thorns within a curse;
Letters in life’s word-game rattle,
A rib-cage emptied verbs.

Unpaid workers dug a hole,
They formed a pile of earth;
They bound me to a bloodied pole
Not far from my place of birth.

I did not even question how
These trap doors are not doors;
A lever, flattened oak-wood opened,
As out my soul then poured.

Waiting Room

A crack-covered platform,
Weeds penetrate again,
Timetables faded behind
Glass with mildew stains;
Yet still I’m waiting for a train
That was long since cancelled.

The waiting room’s degraded,
Graffiti and lovers’ names spray-
Painted, names now dead or
Vacated as part of a great
Immigration, yet still I’m waiting
For arrivals to shake me.

The church has lost its steeple
And roof, and church-going
People, so I sit on a pew
On my own and look directly
Up to the grey-stained spaces
Where no one is waiting.

Tundra

You said that my chest
Is where the caribou’s
Hooves leave their trail,

The pine cones in my
Bones and breath
I held until you felt

The forest’s cloak of snow
Fall to the frozen ground,
Heralding a Spring in you

As wide and vast
As the experiences
Of sudden tundra

We shared in wonder
By horse and sled,
Under a permanent blue.

Salvage

There will come a time
In future lines of
Epic poetry
Where scientists extract
Ego from its usurping
Residence, its hijacked
Flying palaces,
Like a dark diamond
Stolen from the mines
Of enlightenment,
As a scratched diadem
Snatched from
The scalp leaves
A ring in the skin
Of a sleeping king,
It struggles and
Clings as octupeses
With beak and tongue
Swallow their prey
Somewhere beneath
The unfathomable dreams
In plankton and sea-bream,
Sea-bream more commonly
Known as pomfret.

Deeper still, like
A hoarder of
Fuselages on the
Ocean bed,
Broken in three,
Transponders and
Navigational wingtip
Lights emitting
Dimly and contrary
To the properties
Of flight,
It struggled and
Flailed wildly
As it surfaced
Into Antarctic
Sunbeams up from its
Subhaemadural
Dominion,
Installed in
A museum for captured
Catalogued
Unnecessary parts,
Sanctioned for the
Disasters, there’s no
Comfort for the visitors
Who queue to see the
Surprising, underwhelming
Size of that dark mass,
Displayed in
A repurposed
Unguentarium,
The scientists wore hazmats,
The scientists are poets
Who will one day enscribe
Definitions in gold plaques,
That blotch-bead preserved in
The amber-aspic victories
Of the bodhisattvas.

Ekcha Rubdizô

Layers upon layers
Like sedimentary strata,
Then all of a sudden
We find ourselves
Out of reach of the arms
Of those who crafted with
Sandstone and chalk;
This is just my example.

We set sail with deliberations
Exempt from sense for
The infamous whirlpool,
Regardless of rumours,
Regardless of her
Layers upon layers
Of teeth with limpets bleeding,
Emboldened by newness
Of youth and cordite
Stored in wooden tubes,
The viewer and the viewed,
We preached to the priests
Who refused to immolate
A sheep with swallowed rue.

An inverse plume
Of drowning hues,
There are no songs there,
No shanties; no grebes
Or aquiline sea-portents;
Our waterlogged thoughts
Are dissolved of fantasies
And Poseidonic prayers
That enriched our years
In tireme training
Like flares lighting up
Underwater caverns
And lantern-thoughts
Iridescent as herring
In the cranial Mediterranean
Crevasses of monk-seals,
Dreaming on their rocks
Of squid and of molluscs.

I pulled the plug
And a whirlpool vortex
Of washing-up water
Rejoined a greater creation.
Oleaginous bubbles
Swelled like the fur on the back
Of the duck-hunting dog
Bred for swimming,
Or like the cumulonimbus
Over the fens, heralding
Mid-spring rains soon,
And I knew then from the patterns
Bled through my pen,
And through those clouds shaped like
Three hearts in a cuttlefish exhumed,
The certainty of storms by noon.