Topaz

Underneath two ribs
Of a lunar-like mountain
You exist.

Underneath incipient
Residual intent they buried
With ritual laments,

With your future there
Scattered, Time’s amulets
Mattered, these grimly

Iridescent moments
Stuck in weathered endgame
Frames of dunes and rocks,

Like emerald in oil,
Like a child when locked
Within the habitual dragon’s eye,

Though you cannot burst through
To our labours of today,
However much we may wish

And no matter how much
We think about this,
There, you exist.

I travel to that mountain,
Dull-brown slopes
Smooth and exposed

By denial, or worse,
Colluding through
The exclusion of truth,

The Athabaskan sun.
In my mind sometimes,
Touching barren surfaces,

The inner host’s recipient,
Tomb of an empty womb
Imprinted in my thumb.

Amethyst gates to a park
Stay resolute and fast,
By hematite chains, padlocks

And the timings of hearts,
Some are beating here still,
And some we can’t restart.

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.

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.

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.

Time Is A Spiral

Time is a spiral,
Double-dead helix,
God’s corkscrew,
Glass ceiling,
Ponzi scheme love.

I do not believe
These seasons are even.
In speeds now descending,
Some skelters
For mending
And sometimes a swamp.

So I am still wary
When a universe pops!
For gods love the bubbles,
And therein my trouble
As life gently floats off.

Spiral

In the Autumn of my thoughts,
I poured my exploring self
Into one of my known past lives
Where somehow I became caught
Inside the awful seven lies.
Not the life where you
Track me back to a
Red-throated gecko’s crest
In my headwear,
And not the life
Where poems were tied
By one red ribbon
To my samurai chest;
No, deeper again,
To where our wagons petrified;
This is the clearing
And this is the song,
A place we are nearing
Where we do not belong;
Here are the stones
And here are the flowers,
Though petals have withered
And the stones block each hour.
They visit here in their hundreds,
Luxury coaches, air conditioning,
One hundred students
With pre-conditioning
And pink pleated curtains.

My meditative ability
Underneath here,
As much as an oyster and eyeless,
Shucked for humanity’s
Gut and its gears.

Time is a spiral
We surf southwards on,
God’s corkscrew pulls out
To produce the Big Bang.

I can tell you, all physicists,
What’s on that other side;
No more nor less
Than my lost love’s
Champagne-scented sky.

Umbilicus

Constant reminders
In my body’s retirement
Of your indelible
Indiscretions
Dissolved into me,
My skin the sea
Filled with your molluscs
And a coprolitic fossil
Of your movements,
Your impossible
Puzzles and befuddled
Cryptic sentences
Like lugworm trails
Where the blight receded,
You see his sand-cast there
But not his burrowed body,
For flesh and form
Took leave long ago,
And all that remains
Are contusions.

Emerged from your gulf,
Urgent as a siren
Until the giant waves
Rewound, every mole
A continuum from times
Of settlements in iris,
Unfunny jokes,
Inverted laughter,
I made no demands for
The complexities of your
Shell-emptied nautilus,
Salvaged from a sea-bed,
Thrust up through a hole
With samphire-weed and poison.

Seagulls squawk and spiral
On a Fibonacci horizon,
I do not own a hair on my heart,
I do not own a thorn-seed;
I was born on Steppes of Despair,
And that is where I am mourning.

The Withering Tree

The leaves upon the withering tree,
What’s good for him is not for me;
Mid-March grey, by May green,

Where he went cannot be seen;
Do dreams prolong without him?
Those stowed within his mind, it seems,
Harboured for my doubting.

Changed my clothes, change of scene,
Their remedies, a routing;
Bury me under a withering tree,
Atop the Oxen Mountain.