Friday 7 September 2018

Poems, Autumn 2018

Morning Meditation, inspired by Chogyam Trungpa

The beauty flowers in each moment.

Crystal vases chime with the wind.

Reasons to be alive
stack up
like totem poles
in a forest clearing.

There are no rules
and yet
there must be an anchor.
Otherwise we float
like paper lanterns
into boundless space.

Swimming through cold water,
wading through thick mud,
fragrant smoke all around
to confuse the senses.

We read
from the old libraries
from the faces of rocks.

In their wrinkles
they tell of a time
pre-history, pre-shoes,
when men's footsteps
were quieter
than horses' hooves.

And women rained from the sky.

That time was like any other time,
in that,
it was passing.

There was a golden light
and it shone through feathers
from heaven.

And there was no tightening
only a free and easy loosening -
an exhalation
that was warm and long
and lasted throughout the night,
traveled down years.

Writing on paper
is the same
as writing on stone.
The fire only dances

Every night
I dream fierce realities.
I lead a double life
just like us all.

Anxiety, with Sheep Outside

Bleating onwards. When will they relax. Oh to be sheep, to be torn backwards. To be laid down and sacrificed on to stone walls. I sacrifice time, bury beneath it all. Everything so far out of reach – I can not touch it, I tell you, I can not touch it. What I can afford, what I can not. I am overheated, the sweat on my brow smells like old ideas. An insect inside me – and if the rain patters – lovelily, softly, lily pad – oh but the gargantuan yawning mouth of a chimpanzee! I was born cold, born somewhere with stone. Always like this – relax, relax, relax your body...always like this...always like this...Bleats like cries. Sunshine packed up in the clouds. Always like this, cross-legged and free. Always floating, and one person has long hair, and you cringe at the sight of a unicorn and – begin here, begin, a good day, a good day, things always change, just rely on the constant change and bury deep, bury deep. The heart of an ox, how it bleeds, and whisper goodbye, whisper goodbye, to that one who sheared you, who shaved the wool from your warm, bleating back. 

Still Life

Sunflowers beam in their earthen jar.

The afternoon melts and charms.

Situations, sticky and imperfect.

To taste strong coffee is a pleasure.

To pursue pleasure is a trap.

Hot milk.

Empty house.

Rustling of the seasons.

Cold air, breathing mist.

Pans on the stove,

melting pools of butter.

The house ticks.

It is not warm.

I grant you this illusion

We can smell the artifice and yet – how it reminds us of our grandmother's baking, that warm smell, madeleines, welsh cakes, bara brith with cold butter, slate tiles on the floor, rising steam from the kettle – earthenware, red cold knuckles, faint smell of cow shit always in the air, to remind us that there is no such thing as sterility – what is this move away from shit and guts? That is life, is it not? That is the whole messy complication – the shit storm, the production. Nails grow after death. Scratch the surface and create melanoma. Cancerous, ugly, crumbling like seaside fudge, sea salt rocks crushed and snorted, fizzing up the brain canals – little fish, sailing up arteries, pirates of diabetes. From the lava, lumpy like bad gravy, come the faces of Guernica, tortured and stylised and surreal, all rising and battered like masks discarded after Halloween.


I want you – to tell me – what ribbons to wear. I want you – to tell me – what flowers are there, do they blossom with fervour, in unison, do they grow?

      I assure you, I'm floating on dust, whirring around like a freak in a trance.

      Incessant tapping and the crows caw like a crying wolf. Going mad with the very fabric of existence – thick denim, cow hide, rough sack.

      Beyond me, a storm over red walls – The Red Castle – those freezing walls, so stately.         
      The sound of trumpets and gypsies and war.

      To be inspired is not to gain. To lose, to lose, to suffer is to gain.

      Waiting for a phone call, a buzz, a glimmer. All muscles standing to attention, and the stomach, yearning, and the heart, confused, being as it is, strange and alone, ears pricked up eternally, anticipating the soft murmur of love in all directions, melting backwards with a Disney princess sigh.

      Unborn child unaware of its fate, clasped to the hook at the end of a clothes hanger.

      I see gold flashes, I part ways with no regrets.

      Yonder, horizon, beckon, startle.

      The rumble and jungle, the juice and the fibre.

      Through thick bracken and tall trees eyes wait for me, to say, you are more than this, you are a torrent, and never should you work to death, never should you feel as though you're working. You will always have enough. Foresight is irrelevant, it's trust you should harness, and in that intricate trust lies a stream of warm rosewater, bubbling and fragrant, just for you. And the truth is that you were born and you exist and you are in this exquisite masterpiece moment and writing brings you here and there are no calamities, no explosions, just the lovely soft knowledge that there is nothing else but white knuckles, a pen, tired eyes, birds, distraction, the rich texture of trees, uncertainty, white buildings, the jangle of plates.

      The – knowledge. The flight away from it.

      The – knowledge. The ascension, the fall.

      The spirit, gliding, with the face of a mask. 

I found out there was only love

An accordion on the streets of a cold city.
Women; true versions of rainy day saints.
Gods hung in churches like dripping coats.

If only we could hold water in our humble palms
it seeps through and drips.


I land on soft ground
and here
the earth eats me up.
I am dazzled by the moon
and its empty breath
upon my heart,
the flapping of wings,
the beat.


I travel on air and nuance
breathe and sink
like a lung
or a night-blooming flower
opening up to a moonlit sky
(that is my sun).
I shine in darkness,
I am happy with glints,
exploring the shadows
barely perceived
when it is bright.

5th October, 1991

I was never witness to my parents love.
It exists for me only
in the jacket of a book,
my father's handwriting
wishing my mother a happy birthday
with shy sincerity
a year before I was born.

I witness their love
through reconstructions
inevitably marred
by the blundering years that followed,
and other marriages -
to people
and fates.

An Ode

As rain falls
soft and light as a harp
and church bells clang
in a strange hallucination of sound
I look up to the ceiling, the sky,
and bow down to my chest, my heart,
letting life course through me
knowing that I feel love -
not ownership
or the promise of its return,
but the kernel,
the sensation of life,
and I let it flow like a stream,
gushing, tinkling,
so that all my pores perspire
with its perfume.