Monday 19 February 2018

The City Bears Fruit: Poems from Granada (#1)

Behind Mountains, Before Sea

There is a city somewhere, framed by mountains, capped with snow the texture of icing, of melted swan feathers or heavy-laden clouds, with skies that burn pink and nights that shine blue, with bells that chime into dusk, hills that sprout cactus, caves built into the earth, and an ancient fortress that defies the tides of time, standing there amidst shores of glittering modernity, the very proof that time flows back and forth – concrete evidence that history lies within us – what came before, runs back twofold – what stood, still stands – what falls, will rise again. 

So, this is what we call progress – from the Mirador we see the stretch of lights inching towards that towering ancient structure – lanes of traffic fluctuate, moving back and forth, this way and that - swirling city life creeping up on the sleeping steady stillness of centuries past - time travel made visible.

And all around, smooth, rolling hills. Behind them, the faint sense of the sea, and beyond, somewhere, the desert, the edge, the skirt hem of the continent – that fluid space between a lace rim and the dusty earth.

After years of inhabitants and influence, the land has been corrupted with the spillage and overflow of magic - without reason, without intention, the earth glimmers with the memory of spells and wishes and curses and songs – of manifestations, prayers, prostrations – the symphony of voices calling out, that one chorus.

And here we are, in this particular aftermath, this particular moment.

And that is why, in this city of sweet jewels, where the mix of spice and gristle and wine hums with playful contradiction, there is no such thing as luck or coincidence, only strategy in this big game. This is the place where paths cross, where fates are handed over on silver platters, hung from branches ripe and dangling, and up to you, if you dismiss it all as folly, without recognition these signs sink back into the material, become empty objects in this museum of reality – but! If you are awake and forever reading, your inklings will blossom into view – the gaps are filled, matches struck.

Softly, softly, even the wildest pockets jangle with ease.

The city sighs:
Wails of conflict, battle cries.
Deep laughter made scratchy with cigarettes.
A thousand strings plucked into the night.
Claps – of hands, hooves, lightning.


The Beginning, The End, The Beginning

I dream of you in hotel rooms
your face
clouded by assumptions.
Is this the process
I'm destined to realise -
the beginning, the dawn,
and the end?
This natural womb-flow
of life and death
and all the sticky sweetness
in between.
Cold wrapped around,
elbowing past layers.
Each day a world in itself
leading on to the next.
Cloth wrapped around your head,
the dust settling
in the crevice of your ear.
Your scarf around my neck.
My breath,
hot and stale in the morning.
The squeeze and tinker
of the percolator -
and what is this taste of
petrol and cloves?
You are me,
she says,
and with tears in their eyes
they greet each other like old friends.
fly away,
to this petri dish of blossoms.


Time Travel

As I travel through time
moments arise -
I fish them out
gut them
line up the bones.

In this dining hall
echoing rooms beckon -
if I'm not careful
they'll lock me behind
while I'm busy arm-wrestling
and spitting in palms.

Midnight promises
riding past like bandits

like cowboys
lit up by moon.


The More I Smell Roses

The more I smell roses
eat grapes
tread forests
the more I know
that this is home

Have faith in love
Have faith in my love

These mantras like metronomes
ticking me

This is my life now
a dreamscape
where I dance in caves
POWER in my ears
the sky flittered with
expansive clouds
baby dove wings

and the mountains
the sun
all one

the earth dusty and loose
and I move
punch – kick – channel
this love
this prayer

Moments tied together in matrimony

I never thought I could believe in marriage
let alone a love that transcends galaxies and time

let alone,
no more



We sit in silence
as sweet
as rice pudding

the sun setting
sultry and thick

That skyline
that midnight blue

into red into peach into smoke

These elements -
that ancient fortress

These elements -
the hills of Albaicin

Silhouettes -
the tops of churches
bells cradling dusk

frozen hands,
beer sipped from clay cups

the bubbles thaw
in an instant