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.

Aftermath

You’ve been shopping again,
Cruising aisles and clothing
Racks left in a season-ending’s
Messiness; sales are on four
Polished parquet floors
Inside my night-time mind
Where these more
Pleasant dreams
Sometimes reside,
And also you in spirit-form,
Sometimes hiding
Within me yet without me.
A paradox with summer storms,
We slipped into my department
Store with expectations to avoid
The rains and post-pandemic
Hordes, oceans of traffic lights
And umbrellas, holding hands
As we gladly made our way
Through this homage to
Commerce, this palace’s
Obscenely gigantic doors,
Deep green frames, lintels
Propped by angular art deco
Demigods with impossibly
Muscular jaws. I won’t be
Jealous of a statue in obsidian,
I sought myself, to reassure.
I’d visited here in different
Dreams several years before,
Alone and feeling lost,
Uncomfortable
In my only thoughts,
Though I have atoned
For those stones
As you know,
And now like everyone else
I can buy coffee, and tour
Menswear and menageries,
Counters and clocks.
All the fish have been caught.

Not knowing what you bought,
Jewellery perhaps, a camisole,
I could see beside your green
Heels three or four bags,
In purple and pink fabrics,
Even the inexplicable methods
For carrying purchases about
This city where you reach
So deeply in to me reflects
Your personality as perfectly
As the death of inadequacy
In Elysian markets.
Your ways delight and inspire
A primal circuitry, native,
As old as the hills of men,
Indigenous, sacred.
I just have bags under my eyes
From the tiredness, trenches
In my dreams are drenched
By July’s torrents. I longed
For the fresh air pursuing
A storm’s routes, its brute
Force, the airborne cousin
To the scent of grass after
Its mowing, from where we
Gave birth to a word: Aftermath.

I remembered in that dream
The store bags had lines from my
Haiku printed in white fonts
And I looked to you, as beautiful
As the day our friendship and
These sentiments too were born,
And I knew then the meaning
Of dreams where we met
On a simple bench in a store,
Avoiding the crowds, sharing
Moments of quiet reflection
And your laughter like lucid
Streams over those stones
I threw back in to the water,
A pure invigorating air
Only found in the Highlands;
Hands held, biding our time
Until the end of the storm,
For its end is on the horizon,
Then we may leave this building
And travel home once more.

Stations

You have your world now clearly
And in more dreams are mine,

Yet I think about you dearly
Through all this time to time.

I’ve dreamt about your station
And signals twice last night,

It’s under builders’ scaffolding
Paused for snow and ice.

Our hands in gloves touched briefly
Then reverted towards the night,

For days go on without you,
Though I search with all my might.

Ode To Taipei

Let’s land you in Taipei,
I’ll gladly meet you there;
The monsoon strips will throng
With blossom, pink and bare.

Let’s bring you to Taipei
By Bangkok, Three Gorges rested;
Hold my hands, it won’t be long,
Harbour floodgates daily tested.

Let’s see the Taiwanese fireworks,
I know exquisite spots;
You’ll contemplate the high-rise perks
Of living with your polyglot.

Ode To A Jug Of Milk

These dreams pour
In to me with fluidity,
Like milk from a jug,
Like clotted cream, from
A place in time both
New and old to certain
Degrees, where I am not
As one would be, when
Awake in passive daily
Routines. This drink
Plays tricks on me,
A mind as arid as
Deserts devoid of oases
And mysteries sealed in
Camel humps and dunes
That burn beneath my feet.
Too eager to be deceived,
I gave away my fortune
For its cornucopia
In return received;
I opened the throat of
My soul to swallow
Molten gold, and in
Flowed milk from the
Dreams of a goat.

Crows assemble
On timelines scratched
Across the planets
In my palm. A caw,
And the awful liquid pours
Through my stomach,
Through duodenum walls;
These organs worked hard
Behind the scenes for
Decades. Assortment of
Bellows and pumps,
Light industries,
Where will the substance
Pour instead when at
Cellular levels
And levels of lux
I am composting the dead
Autumn borders of
A farmer’s garden;
He who sows, I haven’t met.

I survive the nightly
Poisoning, an attempted
Abduction with chlorophyll
And monkshood. I wake
To a dawn chorus.
Such structures men
Conceive in seahorse
Dreams, in prison cages
Far removed from the sound
Of thrushes warbling,
And the downpouring
Of cups of tea.

Once Or Twice

A deeper life,
An appropriate life,
Days mixed like blends
In Chinese Five Spice.

A meaningful life,
Enriching life,
All sounds entincing
If once, or twice.

Repeated as dreams
Repeat these beating
Hearts, our living surf,
But diving deeply

Only serves for purposes
Of strange, unusual shapes
And species, brings up
Forms untouched by rain

Or sleet or snow on my
Tongue, then leaves me
With a pressurised head,
And a moment of hurt.

Healf-Sawol

And then we loved, and words poured
Away from us, a waterfall in spate
Filled with verbs and nouns, letters
Lost in torrents below, as certainly
Tossed for oblivion’s guts like
Old English Thorn and Wynn, missing
Companions we touched in the mist
By our fingertips before they slipped
And disappeared from names, epithets
And tongues. Witnessing their fall,
I felt for a moment absurd and a fraud
In this wordless world, grammarless,
No Greek or Latin constructs, none,
Definitive gerundives undone
(Which filled the mind with just enough
Distraction to thwart the edge of skies);
No descriptors, no positives for assaying
A modicum of metallurgic lore,
Nor negatives, for they undermine more times
Than not; you reassured me from above with
Lips as soft as horsehair brush for bows
Of musical instruments – there are words
In concertos only your soul can decipher;
And I ceased talking for a moment,
And I was quiet in the light of your smile;
For a moment is eternal, when we measure
Not with syllables, but instead with love.

Strawberry Moon

A cocktail dress,
A horse’s head;
Against my nape
Your touch and
Delicate feminine
Breath is a hair’s
Breadth away from
Enunciating
Bare thoughts
Like waves
In a Zen-master’s
Garden of sand.
Your sequined shoulder
Where I remained
Scintillated like stars,
Light years of movement,
Energies and efforts
Traversed the blue space
To be diffracted and
Prismed as they infiltrated
With gravity and grace,
Held by the wide eyes
Of midnight skies
In summer, for a moment
With irresistible finesse.

Venus is observed,
Bright oscillation,
We moved through stables
As two silhouettes
While horses slept
And dreamt of reverting
To equine wildernesses
Replete with carrots
And mallow-heads,
Their upper lips
Flehmened from the sense.

An orangery for dreams,
We danced beneath
Denuding beams;
Nothing in this life
Is as it seems.
I bit my tongue
And the future
Unravelled slowly,
With profound
Musicianship
Like eternal bows
Slowly over strings
On the bridges
Where lunar-illuminated
Violas and violins
Reverberate with love.
A cumberbund,
Penumbral eclipse,
Strawberry-scented
Lips kissed, knowing
The morning steals
Potential arts
Just as the night
Endeavours to
Blanche nature and would
Deny her daily craft,
Her plethora unweilding.

All will revert to
The awful normality
Where we began;
A cocktail dress,
An empty bed.
Some thoughts are better
Left unsaid.

Lifting Weights

Even beneath uncontestable rain
My weightlifting neighbour
Presses his bench; he strains
Biceps and triceps against
A violence of indisputable greys
A month before July. Contorted face,
I pray he does not look the same
When extorting sighs from lovers,
Sincerely he appears to agonise;
Self-afflictions behind a fence,
An audience of cypresses blink
Under dark green umbrellas.
I cannot justify nor rationalise
The constraints of the body,
And I furthermore pray
For his ligaments to remain
In place, for our ambulances
Are overwhelmed and our hospitals
Like Ministers for Roads
Offloading excess silicates
Have cancelled triple bypasses.
The barbells rattle and wheeze;
Barbaric routines, might I pray
One more time that he should find
WD40 in a kitchen cupboard, please.

Across the flooded lane, which ego
Dictates may as well be as wide
As the Irish Sea, wider than speech,
Wider than a bouyant comet’s tail,
Even beneath uncontestable rain
I fail in the never-ending bout
With myself, I’m the butterfly
Shadow-boxer punching metastatic
Targets which look like me,
Where no winner flouts his
New-found wealth, silver belts,
No podium nor medals nor
Pouting for swarming paparazzi,
Nor even simply the satisfaction
A man may find when pressurised,
Moving kilograms up and down
Under a turbulent kingdom’s sky.

A weight can take so many shapes,
And when a weight is lifted
We mean to achieve a sense of relief,
So why when I strive
To lift aloft my dumbbell-mind
All I find are aches and grief.

The Falls Of Athabasca

Re-reading your lines,
I’m teasing out new meanings
Which were not mine to find,

Like a novice tasseographist,
The leaves I thought were soaked
In languages like mine,

Or a youthful panner
Trekking northwards from
The Falls of Athabasca,

The lucid water, freezing cold,
Brings precious stones to surface,
Misunderstood, inevitably, for gold.

The planets in their place
Do hold, and I am grateful
For evening breezes are sublime,

But I would trade that race
To heavens of a simpler taste,
To read again our love in rhyme.