september 2017

 

                                 (i)

 

...we have had the groping man, the laughing man

the soothsaying, sacerdotal man

 

the celebrity and the gangster

and now we have the jesting man

 

and his beautiful accomplice, the specious man

who together taunt us with reality’s slippy mosaic

 

not forgetting, of course, the bullying man, the polyglot

who comes smelling of snakes and retribution

 

but soon, they say, will come the legendary man

the man who can easily mock the witless air

 

a poet perhaps, who stands alone in doorways

preaching of death’s so faithful perfection

 

a good friend, it seems, of the smiling, anecdotal man

the wag who sees everyone’s history as his own

 

even those of the pundits and gluttons, the charmers and climbers

all of whom win and lose with their cutting, white throats

 

and lastly we may have the sporting, monumental man

the champion whose veins are full of cream

 

the pulse of the gropers, the soothsayers, the preachers

all men, men, men

 

whose only closure has ever been

to rape themselves in the open streets...

 

 

 

                              (ii)

 

...sometimes as I wait for words to clean these wounds

the world’s vast claw pre-empts my distress

 

and closes around my heart

its melodies, its apocrypha, its cascades

 

my breath is stolen

my tongue pulled from my throat

 

kingdoms, spoons, books clatter to the floor

is this the renowned, immutable liberty

 

that now stands spellbound

a sculpture dreaming of applause

 

as slaughter grins and laces up its boots

who knows

 

who knows what this ancient echo truly means

clearly we cannot be trusted with ourselves

 

our hearts never have and never will see the sun

the cascade of freedoms beyond our reach

 

these wounds cleansed by words

these words cleansed by wounds

 

the question is

which is it to be...

 

 

 

                                   (iii)

 

...and so on and on into the dancing vacuum we go

blind, elated, always friendly

 

a clumsy entertainer

caught in the chaotic failure of language

 

a dancer who once convinced the dead

to turn and kiss the living

 

but is now content with whispering to stones

and so the shadows freeze

 

and our sweat pours out

into the spiralling meteor of human rage

 

our last, dark farewell to the truth

always blinding, always turning, always missing

 

the endless obscurity in each word

a cry, a trap, a colossal, mortifying dream

 

to which we alone must never answer

the elated entertainer whose kisses freeze

 

whose face dances with shadows

and whose smiles are oceanic

 

and so, and so the future explodes

and unabated our sweat and love pour out...