songs for Georg

            songs for Georg
Dedicated to & in celebration of the work of the Austrian poet, Georg Trakl 1887 – 1914

I

palette

always
the war
bread
and evening

the shouting
hung on wire
cut stone and
logs of darkness

iron worn to a
blade in the mouth
bread that was
to be flesh
stars on the cusp
of vesper told
simple in stable
straw

always
war
bread
and evening

II.

throne

nothing commonplace
in the late sigh of
afternoon
the sun enamelling
everything royally
in its place where
none may sit
the sky
blue enough
to raise up oceans
of hill and lamb
the shut latch of
woods on the ridge
the singer with
flute of glass
and morphine note
moving the words
of his songs across
a paper on his
knee writing on
into the part where
the moon tips out on
the crest of earth
massive over hollows
the words now
filled in at
last

III.

world

world
the word ringing
large as it is,
a tree in sunlight
a cloud in sky
lifting and
riding,
most
you caught the arc
of shadows
the curtains that
kept the table
in dusk
the still life
the crust round
on the tablecloth*
as if
nothing had been
until you said
it. 

*allusion to the imagery in the closing stanza of Trakl’s ‘Winter Evening’ (Ein Winterabend)
 
IV.

edge

on the edge
of things
the rim of the cup
cloud on the ridge
you found rest
there
the wanderer
endlessly returning
to the brightness
they laid before
you to be touched
in the frame of
word
you took an arrow
out over your
shoulder
drew until the
sky bent back
the arrow in flight
was its arrival
wherever you
spoke the flags
struck on the wind
and the wind
broke
you hunted in
the gentlest of
forests

 

V.

theatre

there was
theatre and
theatre
theatre in
the falling the
rising of the
day you walked
towards your legs
scything shadow
on the wet
fields
theatre in the
braid and uniforms
the silk waltzes
the salute bringing
the foot to rest
on the young
man’s face down
in mud eyes
milky with
yesterday’s
dying
the body
shrunk in
khaki
the barbs
of that wire
ravelling up
the dead.

the broken
peace of
evening
theatre
of the
crow
.

VI.

vision

i looked
for you on
the avenue
where the young
women walked
fine and just
abreast the
scope of their
wired skirts
you weren’t there
though they had
known you
eyes of absinthe
eyes of quartz
they said
a gentleman
too bold for his
age
i looked for you
in the salons
where drinking
and turning the
order of things
on its head was
the call to arms
where art was
pounded to bits
and made into
something stronger
more of chance and
just as blind so
kept pure
eyes of whiskey
eyes of emerald
they said
a gentleman
blundering ahead
of the age
i looked for you
along the wind-break
elders poplars
drumming along
the wind flashing
like the river over
shallow stones
ruts of the
far wagon
lurching its
load onward
to the market
of night
in the day
the driver said
you weren’t there
though the swallows
knew you
eyes of rushes
eyes of painted glass
a gentleman of
the field and
sacred hunt

i found the breath
of you only on
the low afternoon
inhaling the mist
of view blued out
toward the hills
the mountains
like ships of
evening docked
to the sun
that itself
was sinking
down the
the plumbline
of its gold
your eye
that knew
every single
major and
minor of colour*
to its very edge
every village
to its black
under star
oh you with
eyes that
took full
measure
stone worker
in word
stone worker
in frost
visions lost
to the moon

*see note on Trakl’s use of colour below

VII.

apothecary

served your
apprenticeship
at the apothecary
of the White Angel*
mixing grinding in the
mortar of your skull
the quartz light on the
wall behind the bottles
the clumsy shadows
of this side of
the street cast
on the other
the snarl of a
cat out the back
the bell at the
front door
ringing curt
that poor thing
again paleness
and gauze
tubercular even
a kiss on the
back of her hand
would draw all
the blood out
of it a man
out there
waiting for her
in a carriage smelling
of stale rose
think of elements
as colours* think of
colours as the elements,
yes, put a dab of them
between the dry
words, stain
the line stain
the whole stanza
or should one
place the colours
first in mind
the fade
and rift
between them
believe whatever
word is pulled
to hearing
in that
space?
in
haste
you wrote a
line that
crushed blue
and white
like copper
sulphate
across the
back of a
prescription.

*Georg Trakl served his apprentice as a pharmacist in the Apothecary of the White Angel (‘Apotheke zum Weissen Engel’) in Salzburg, his birthplace, from 1905 – 1908

  • refers to, according to certain critics,  his singular use of colour in his work as a ‘signifier’; others dispute any broad consistency in its use

IIX.

sister*

when were young
you were the
only place
i could talk
we would
walk in
common things
that shadow
of a fallen
trunk
skirting round
the sound
of a stream
a garden that
never ended
of thoughts

you came
again around
me in that
city* stuffed
with its own
emptiness
you filled it
avenue on
avenue
ran drunken
through it
your stockings
fallen to the
ankle the
skin of

our
weak
lineage
bare

*Georg’s younger sister, Grete, the youngest of her siblings. The relationship between Georg and Grete, as alluded to in Georg’s work, is interpreted as incestuous by some biographers. She committed suicide 3 years after her brother died of a cocaine overdose, which was apparently also suicide. 

*Vienna

IX.

fall

fall
the
blood
the nail
into wood
the silver
onto
water

fall
low gold
to leaf
her sleeve
to touch
the whispers
of us
on the path

fall
the hand
to hand
the heart
to breast
the hope
to cruel
desire

X. 

            forgotten

were we forgotten
in that stillness the
moon weighed upon
through the town
those streets by
day we played
brilliantly through?

were we forgotten
left to the plots
of garden trailing
autumn through
the lanes like
brown paper
tied to string
the cat would
chase and
tear? the town
swept up in
season

were we forgotten
in what we saw?
what we felt?
the depth of it
floating off on
first light

were we forgot?

from 6ome 6ixes In Hi6tory

6

I Think, Maybe.
Or it’s an App.

I thought, between stars,
the gaps
of my knowing, we could

argue that
there is more black
than light

or to know 
requires a flow
from, by,

the Knower, between two
states,
of which she is neither:

not ‘off’, nor ‘on’
but the faculty of ‘Venture’
you may cross

out Yahweh, and write
instead: Minerva,
the app will run; on Krishna

or Jesus,
you won’t lose believers;
we’re all here:

the lived, those to live, and the living
our heads hanging
over the hammock

looking up at the cat
turning her tail
this way and that

the illusion of Now
in the stars and systems
of stars above her

nightfur, bone
and the those
hybrid eyes

widened to a circle
all present, all time
in the State between

the stare
and
the stared at

here in these words
you looking, the
milli, is it

or nano, less
even, of a second
before

reckoning
for them
your meaning.

Diminish As An Act Of Re-Creation

Can’t find the words to link the verse
so I get up off the compewta
from the high-back brown three seater

and return to the painting
on the floor, not wet anymore
I missed the opportunity

to blend depth and a boundary
but that’s fine
I can’t decide where next

it’s an abstract, best
painted quickly
and it’s close

to finished
and I’ve started thinking
too much about a meaning

so I go outside
and lay in the hammock
watching the flag

on the neighbour’s pole
an expensive heavy cotton
in seaworthy excellent blue

the demanding red of blood
and the confident knowing of White
it is after work, Thursday,

and the heat this summer
is old school, long into the evenings
everybody has felt that

large silence in people
when we have no responsibility
following only our own habits,

sleeping and waking, eating
and drinking— a huge
silence

behind the eyes,
and the immeasurable distance
between objects manifest

and the formless
energetics of Perceivers
where we cannot see

I had positioned
the days like laying dominoes
ready to fall

then I changed my mind
and reached ahead
to tip over a few blocks

to halt the momentum
and went willingly back
into paid employment,

diminishing myself, turning
down the silence
within.

 

 

 

on the land

on the land

Waitangi Day, how do we mark the loss, the dishonour,
the disillusionment and the fierce shreds of hope
hanging on the day?

you never give up
on the land
the best of us
come go
shot
bayoneted
blown to bloody
pieces running
to creep down under
fern along the earth
that reared us
as if common
criminals
yet you never
give up on the land
that will bury
you one
day
that your
children will
walk upon
above
you
knowing you’re
there holding
them in smoke
in song in the
telling of our
story
holding them
where the heart
touches down
on the earth
through soles
of the feet
must never
can never
give up
on the
land.

ruapekapeka
october 2013

Meet Again

The years crawl

from the shore-

line clash like

waves and cliffs.

 

Decades now

tumble down

like a house

of bricks.

 

I’m hard still,

a crab shell

with a score

of cracks

 

on my back

open

to the spray

and saline drips,

 

and the kicks

of jandled feet,

sun-bleached,

and it sticks,

 

the nauseous

dissonance

of lines;

my thoughts,

 

tortuous

courses,

jagged lines;

my thoughts,

 

vacant lots.

The weedy words

from nothing

born

 

but the curls

of fat worms

that spawn

what I call

 

feeling.

Reader,

I’m reeling;

scarred, sore.

 

Some days

I’m crazed

with love

and sure

 

I live

for good

on cyclic

seas, soar

 

my ears

to sleep and fear

not to drown

in vast years.

 

I emerge

on the surge

of white waves

and waves

 

of pale

honey girl

hair,

real clear

 

in blue

tangible

air,

you there –

 

cool

but frangible,

love I too

am there.

 

19-20 October 2015

Precious

Tread not on the bones of my belief
Flesh of my love needs no pulling
Temple of truth, impending night
Senses alight and brimming

Sit me inside tormented life
Could I survive keep swimming ?
Cut me the cruel protagonist knife
Would selfish heart rise, killing ?

No bitter pill keeps me inside
Yet monstrous pride needs quelling
Find me a shelf to perch on
Learn to reside, impelling

Daylight

Pink dawn, rose through the palm and plum tree
Silenced the Tui
audience bowed to suns entrance call
Her curtain fixed us
Peace reigned and cast reflections in my glass, till it was full
I will sip it
savoring its taste
and beauty

moment

moment
            to Frank Le Baige

a young guy
in a windbreaker
looking out at
the setting sun
on that shore
in the wind
that buffeted
him hands in
pocket brought
you to mind
and that
strain of
sombre strings
from the car
radio, the
classical station
Gustav Mahler
something that
only held
together in
this moment
a tear on
the cheek
that you could
even say shone
in that sun
gold bound
in shadow.

18 april 2013
bucklands beach

Dissolutions (in the morning)

1. 

I

You lie on the sun-lit bed

and long as the sun

rubs the vacant slit

between your curtains.

 

II

I envisage the snail’s shadow

slow along the walls

and furniture – a star

across the firmament.

 

III

The tail strokes your skin

pale, and the cat curls

about your feet.

 

IV

I lie in the sun-lit bed,

and dream of it.

 

        

2.

 

I

I fall to the tread

of your little feet,

the dishes trembling

like tinkerbells.

 

II

I long as the sun

penetrates again

your delicates

and colours your skin.

 

III

Our eyes might collide

on the corner

of the corridor

 

IV

and kitchenette. I rise

to think of it.

 

17 October 2015

Stain Giften

Sunday, and no work
Monday, a little baggy,
knickers and a t-shirt,
nearly full back pack,
tickets and her passport,
taxi to the airport
booked.

I am not her boyfriend.
He is what her friends call
Insurance.

She is what his friends
remember
of their friends’
mothers.

Before ‘milf’

was a word, unless slurred
for something else.

I am what their world
calls ‘unimportant.’

I am not ‘the sorted’
type, stunted in her flat,

mercury for munny
flowing out the cracks,

to make reflective poetry
we must be freely shaped

and I haven’t had to roll
silverly, ball like
and spreading
into her apartment

behind his back.
Herco, the pilot,
with his family of Anzac
connections,
his back is bent
to the wind,
his shoulder is set
to the wheel
of things
expected

with a Hostess
who couldn’t win
for herself
enough trust

in Flight.
I don’t, that often
off the earth, it can’t
be helpful. Tight
veins, Dracula
-space-travel-

analogy-
of-Astronauts
who must take dirt
in their coffins
when leaving Transylvania

for Virgin, or Musk.
It seems, through the
smoke and bubbles
of the stained bong
she’s going to accept, this
terminology,

his proposal, my writing
it in down her flat, sitting
out trouble
this dodging of work,
no income, only
the ‘poet-y’ outcome;

the inner city shivers
on the exhalation.
I get nosebleeds
in the heat—

Here is a mess
from earlier: 6 AM
sun warm, girl
in her party dress
blood on her back legs
it’s not what you think

a Bolivian nosebleed
friends doing lines
along her long thighs
two pleasures at once
in their nostrils her
musk scent.

The Plain

Alone on the plain.

It unrolls everywhere,

In search of form,

The relief of trees,

A hugging bush,

A spilled shadow

Across its dryness.

The hills are a bent thumb

At the edge of sight.

They surge and fall;

Rock and grass cut with water.

It splashes white on sharp edge

And winged life hugs its lines

Then dives into shadow.

The light here plays.

It jiggles and two-steps under cloud,

Turns purple on the hill;

Saves its magenta for nightfall.

Then, as darkness drips

The land, at last, opens its gilded hand

 

Red Moon Tonight

Living in a dream
Some of them a nightmare some a scream
Why do most things end in pain
Is that love we run from
3 steps in the evening and the darkness is a blaze
There’s going to be a thunder in the hills
A red moon in the sky
A million dollars is not how this ends
Prophets in the sky
The northern lights will come down to the streets
Beg to hear no lies
We can dance in the sun
You’re no longer going to be alone
I know I will find you the sun alive
We can wash up on the shore
To realize we are free
An ocean of dreams leaving our minds at ease
We can run across the globe to hide
Follow me there
It’s as easy as the end of the street
It’s been so long believe in me
Don’t forget I saw you standing there
I will turn grey walls to fields of green.