The Island

Hold me here forever,
It wouldn’t be so long;
Until we are together,
I’ve watched my life go wrong.

I felt so long in the tooth,
Until our love made land;
Our flesh was only loving,
A subcutaneous gland.

Stay with me forever,
This island is all we need;
Life has new endeavours,
Eternity’s in the reeds.

Ode To Beauty

Describing physical beauty
Should never begin with a form,
Society’s circular cruelties
Turn falsehoods into the norm.

So firstly undressing a kindness
For so long stowed in your heart,
Sharing love’s like-mindedness,
Sublimer sleeps the art.

All love is loving in layers,
Our bodies are only the start;
I’d rather see your soul flourished,
Where the lips of souls then part.

Ode To Hurt

We cannot just close off hurt;
This is as absurd as trying to cram
An already full cupboard
With one too many of multiple toys
Destined to remain unplayed,
A little mouldy here, a little frayed
Around the ears. For hurt
Is always stronger for us,
And eventually, as inevitably
As fir cones on a forest floor,
The cupboard doors open
Not with an announcement,
Not with a crash of cymbals and drums,
But a quiet undoing in the night,
So that on awaking, everything,
Everything has departed the mouth
Of that destitute space,
And there is nothing left to say.

This is why we watch each other
From across an indifferent room
Where strangers are in a hiatus,
We may as well be further away.
No, it is better to leave these remains
And sometime purchases from shops
Now closed, where people worked
Who now are dead, and businesses,
And love, oh how we live,
Where living brings an end to death,
But hurt there, dressed and exhaling,
Looks at itself in a mirror, and begins.

Poem For Lovers, No.2

Let’s fill this house with flowers,
Attend some summer balls;
Forget those broken vases
Where we danced across the halls.

Let’s take a zigzag rabbit path
Between two sun-blessed dunes;
Waltz around a sandbanks
To lost romantic tunes

Which drift across the currents
And over love’s lagoon,
Reflections in her waters
Make a second moon.

I’ll pack the hamper in our car
And won’t forget those flutes,
Driving home above the stars
On blue Atlantic routes.

Let’s celebrate your loveliness,
Let’s grow old as weather,
The vases glued togetherness,
And rest beneath the heather.

Overboard

Toothless days,
Stale, bald coot days
On interstate railroads,
Destination Self-Loathing,
Then Self-Defeating,
It’s a quiet, small town
But they call it a city.

Soul-flummoxed,
Trapped in my stomach
Like a headless chicken’s
Featherless, eggless
Corpse in the grain.

Look-at-the-state-of-him
Days, Panic Stations,
Orange veins from picking
Fruit from the same orchards
For generations until
The task changes you,
The Orchard of Illusion,
You may appear the same
To others but your mirror
Is where the unvarnished
Truth remains, long after
I departed that room
For another day in trouble.

I would box up, pack up
These industries of nothing,
And the roots of mountains
Making good myths’ coffins;
It’s easier in this way
For the wordless, the mute,
To keep a promise.
One day would be sufficient.
I would pack up my bones
And throw the suitcase of my
Self overboard, in to endless
Hungry jaws of the ocean
But the antidote is intravenous
And continuosly working.
You took my hand, soothed
My brow, said you loved me
Although I didn’t know how,
And you put a slender finger
To my lips and softly said,
All we require, my dear,
Is love and wine and apples
In this bowl as proof enough
Of future life and tidal lengths.

Two Tattoos

I loved your tattoos,
A dreamcatcher,
A European wolf;
They reminded me of two
Weeks in Paris where
You fell in love with me
And I fell in love with you,
Paving an inked way
To the gardens and inlets
Of a coastal Francophile
Formative truth. I traced
The stepping stones of your
Spine where the bones led
Me down to the gentle
Mouth of your wolf.

A Sioux leader I knew
Had something similar
In his tattoos, with his
Dreams of teaching these
Invasive species
From a different soil
That their time was wasted
In this eternal toil.
He taught them a thing
Or two, and hung their teeth
From the fringe of his comb.

I held a teenage affection
For my two favourite actresses,
Then, mid 1990s, next century,
Jennifer Jason Leigh
And Audrey Tatou and
The marriages in my mind
Lasted like an English summer
For a day or two, but
Then it was you, and if
Anyone was tattooed just
Inside my skull and on my
Beating heart, it would
Always and still does
Beat the syllables of you.

Some imprints are more
Than skin deep, like a
Red Rorschach Test
On our bones and in
The loves stored in our heads.

I would have tats too, I said,
As you rested the threads
Of this bliss on my chest,
On that beach, and I stroked
Your soft and beautiful hair,
Scent of sand and curlew breath,
And you replied, if only
Your pain threshold was higher,
And anyway what would you
Have tattooed on your back,
Our hands entwined,
We relaxed into that time,
For life’s best ink is love,
Love lost, love found;
I will never forget your response
In the sand, and the dunes,
And there across the Sound.