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...