december 2019

 

 

                           (i)

 

 

...a coin spins, a tap drips

and ideas seep through the walls

 

the rivers are so tired

birds feed on what’s left of god

 

and the seas too have become careless

they smell of apathy

 

and all these things are now clear

the same longing, the same meaning

 

for behind the truth

has always stood a mountain

 

and behind the mountain

has always stood the truth

 

the world’s obscene ambiguity

spinning coins, reciting noise

 

this pressure of the earth’s shadow

a mountain fed with bits of god

 

that smell behind the truth

the smell of longing

 

of rivers seeping through the walls...

 

 

 

 

                                (ii)

 

...what possible interest could these dishevelled stars have in me

I look upwards down into the night’s spinning throat

 

and see only these masses of quivering atoms

these terrified, sexless lumps of rock

 

that don’t even know or care if I exist

and ’though I too am just another piece of unsculptured gas

 

an unconscious trace of steam

nonetheless you will know me only as you

 

and I will know you only as me

because out here the dance will freeze

 

words will not exist

children will turn into leaves

 

and each leaf into a stomach

that devours light

 

the duet, you see, will have frozen

and the universe will be left, as ever

 

quivering in the middle

a sexless mass attempting to sculpture itself

 

I look down at my starlit shadow on the floor and wave

after a hesitant pause, it waves back

 

but does it, I wonder, really understand...

 

 

 

 

                      (iii)

 

 

...mistrust darkens suspicion

and suspicion darkens mistrust

 

a finger moves and the earth splits

and splits again

 

and as the fragments spin apart

a requiem discharges its rage, its heart

 

the wasted millennia, the fruitless universal dreams

in my arms the debris calls out shalom

 

the fatal victory of civilisation

human rights into human rubble

 

yet is this not the mysticism of the inevitable

the inevitable poem that once, long ago, found me

 

upon the streams the peach petals

float away in secret

 

to other skies and other lands

than those of mortals

 

let then our divided world 

drift away in secret

 

to other dreams and other victories

than those we have lost...                        

  

 

 

                         (iv)

 

...this is surely a one-way journey into deception

this visionary incubus

 

that rides through the mire

of me raping myself

 

this nightly immolation that sees no sense

in words that want only one thing

 

the archaic darkness of sex

my vulva kissed

 

my sonnets swollen beyond recognition

pushing deception even further outwards

 

this journey to some bottomless epicentre

where the isolation is so complete

 

there is no-one but myself to watch

as the words peel from my deceitful face

 

this impure fire

these awkward, malfeasant smiles

 

that mount the dark night-hags

forcing them to spit and shriek

 

the blank verse that preceded creation

the blank verse that truly

 

still drives the universe outwards...

 

 

 

                               (v)

 

...no mother should have to stare with eyes like these

they ask only for respect

 

for just one moment of a love

that doesn’t have to bury another child

 

they have travelled across

a million years of servitude

 

yet blood still runs

down the windows of the rich

 

knives are still poised above their hearts

and yet no-one should have to live

 

for some moment of rage

or wait for the universe’s epic destitution

 

the equality of the grave

such a luxury hunger would never accept

 

the affliction, O mother of my mother

of having to feed a family of eight

 

with a single cabbage for a week

for a lifetime with eyes set like this

 

these words, these knives 

still poised above my heart...