Ode To Rhodes

Littoral landing strip,
A Dodecanese feature
Where you’re never more
Than a mile or four
From the Mediterranean.
You used to take your life
In your hands
When runways
Were little more than
Extensions of beaches,
Where sand swirled around
The slowing propellors
Like a sarong around
Euros’s daughter’s hips
As they saved Sparta
From a routing.

We avoided the bland
Concrete carcasses
Where anodyne hotels
Made mockeries of myths
And air-conditioned coaches
Turned in circles like
Steel moths regurgitating
Flocks of tourists.
An embarrassment of
Englishmen splashed on the
Melting macadam
Display still to this day
An art-form
Of complaints to
Patient pencil-moustached
Fluent majordomos,
And competitive pool-side
Societal traits.
We left our luggage in the room
Of a traditional taverna
On the hill across from
The old town, the heat
Of the evening reverberating
Like gecko veins,
The soft distant hum
From ferry engines,
You wore navy blue shorts
And I thought that your hair
Would cascade over your shoulders
Forever, as long as our hearts
Beat with iambic blood,
With the scent of sea salt
And blue sun-lotion bottles,
You wore the torc and
A bracelet bought from
A shop in the shade of
A side street in Kos.

We learnt a few Greek phrases,
We praised the waiters
Who danced the syrtaki
And later served
Tumblers of ouzo on ice,
A meze of tzatziki,
Goats cheese and
Flatbreads with rice.
I dreamt that night of
Sailing with you to Kiribati
On a balsa raft, and when
I retraced the possible
Meanings from my sleeping
Subconscious travels
You laughed, the sweetest
Feelings ever reaching my ears
Before or since, we
Embraced and kissed.
You said you loved
My unabashed romanticism,
Unwrapping the towel which hid
The book you stowed all that way
To surprise me.

The following week we flew
To Instanbul, then Baku,
Then through lush valleys and
Chasms beyond to Kabul,
Where nothing since
Nor with memory’s bonds
Could transcend or refocus
Seven days of sandy bliss,
The bones of my mind return
With heavy loads
Across the sun-browned
Mountain-tops, through
Secret coves
And olive groves,
To insights of a timeless love,
Within a timeless Rhodes.

Moving On, Not Moving On

Do you remember
When love was composed
Of moments that mattered.
I remember incomplete
Semblances of light
Piercing through patresses
Which flattered the soul,
Landing on the carpets
And comforting rugs
Of sentences
Sometimes forgotten,
But habitually
Resurfacing without knowing
Their purpose as they’d unfold.

See how in these strands
Of memory alert to
Dust in slow-burning noons,
There is nowhere for me
To hide as soon sunlight glides
Into my room for the living,
My coffee is cold, and memories
Unforgivingly dismember
The ingredients for
Moving on.
How we agreed we fitted
Like pieces cut into life’s puzzle,
Or a key in a gate
To meadows where

Buttercups would bloom
In the yellow hues of useless
Eternity; for we are two keys
For other locksmiths
And like pollen
Our love was scattered
To the four seas, those ranging
Blue plinths of the sacred minds
Of prophetesses who once
Spelunked in the Hebrides and
Who own more love now, more
Respect than my Hesperides
Descending through the bones
Of half-closed curtains.

Yes, we moved on
From the fusing of our arteries,
From the quiet platform
Of fond remembrance.

Spirit Lake

Her lifeless body he hauled on the lake,
The shape is frozen, snowflakes shrouding,
The silence of the ice resounding,
Where Saffron Cod and Trout will shake

Legends of graves from their fins.
At this time of year, progress is slow
For the hunters of cougars in blinding snow
And braces of ptarmigan skins.

The cairn-stones said that Time
Lacks consequence for the dead,
But then there’s much the cairns have said
Which would not reach a hunter’s rhyme.

For with diligence of seasons,
And bare bones of detective seargents’
Marriages, the mountains mirror argents
Where sheer whites bite with lesions

He was thwarted by the thawing sheet.
Secrets return to shores I have seen,
Despite exertions, and ballast being keen,
The past and future splinter and meet.

Unageing, fixed by photographs,
Friends and family remember remarks;
You resurface when a dream disembarks
And deceives, seemingly sending telegraphs,

Sometimes it is hard to tell
Whether you speak of where you are now,
Or if the mind with withered bough
Deceives between its health and hell.

Afterlife, he makes that journey every day,
Lugging the load of himself on his pelt
To where the ice-sheet starts to melt,
And we are on our way.