january 2020

 

                           (i)

 

...only on this earth does life

dream of predation and fulfilment

 

nightfall fantasies that spin the sun

around the heart’s own axis

 

only on this earth are thoughts

left hanging high in the trees

 

like large, leathery bats

hungry for darkness

 

and only on this earth are there creatures

who will eat each other

 

because their dreams are different

because another’s death removes, even for a second

 

the certainty of their own

but then high in the glacial mountains of this only world

 

the freezing quartz breaks loose

and begins its journey

 

down through men’s souls

a grain of sand

 

that takes for itself the birth of all blood 

the child, the enemy, the friend

 

progeny of the deep earth...

 

 

                                      

  

                               (ii)

 

...there is peace and there is peace

just as there is dust and dust

 

an unseen yet spectacular equality

that scatters the narrative of existence

 

these constant apparitions

that sew together the lips of the multitudes

 

these constant men

dressed in the icons of war

 

who believe that to kill

is to love oneself even more

 

that freedom is the enrichment of the soft air

a madonna in the skies

 

this megatonnage

this venom that scatters existence

 

the monuments sweating

the mystics shedding tears of gold

 

the unseen yet spectacular apparition

of who or what to believe

 

this peace covered in dust

these ghosts enriching the world...

 

 

 

                           (iii)

 

...then, for no reason, pageants appear

jugglers, dancing bears, harlequins

 

all pirouetting in and out

of the mind’s theatre

 

all suggestive of the world’s dalliance

mocking and teasing

 

prompting yet another electrochemical birth

another sudden cascade of madness

 

of words born by caesarean section

seeds for a new language

 

squeezed out like pips

from the brain’s grey jelly

 

the biodegradable soul

where vowel-sounds crawl towards cognition

 

spitting into ears that don’t yet exist

these cells that whisper madness

 

mouths gaping

as though begging for speech

 

for the theatre to stop spinning

and instead to vow and to hold

 

this new, cascading soul...

 

 

 

                         (iv)

  

...of all the given and known things

nothing can explain these feelings of infinite capture

 

they are the flickering pulses of light

from which we came

 

they are the dragon’s silver eyes

into which we go

 

the enormous liberties

the enormous prisons

 

haemorrhaging superlatives

these creators, spectators, dictators

 

captives of the infinite

with nothing to say

 

their stools turning black

their stomachs bursting

 

and then finally this

this weightless feeling of freedom

 

immense pearls of light

immense silver eyes

 

the unforgiving window

a journey, a poem made of echoes...

             

 

 

                          (v)

  

...behind every door lurks a wiseacre

an oracle with mad, vatic breath

 

forming couplets which, they claim

will abbreviate a thousand verses

 

and once spoken, lines that

will burn a million books

 

the ash of all human superfluity, they claim

but on both sides of the door

 

is the same infuriating universe

a lesion, a mandate, a scene

 

all converging on the soul

their darkness swelling

 

their differences falling

and yet these verses and books in flames

 

are a conflagration closing in

on all human thought

 

the ash of gods

the ash of words

 

couplets that stand waiting

naked beneath the stars

 

and yet for some reason

 unable to make a sound...