northern wanders early autumn

flowing— plonking, lumpily
through my fingers, dawn-cold sand,
a mauve colour, at the grey beach,
by the play equipment, where I’d slept,
deeply & sedately, underneath
the electron microscope.
a ‘star’ is doubtless countless
many things more than language
-polished lenses can ever clarify,
these floating stellar focusing devices,
so many things whilom bankers, priests,
plumbers and magicians…the crystalline,
multi-coloured sand, inspected
individually, in the light from street lamps
that like a sprinkler system
spray agitated photons
over the cool lean Dawn,
named though wholly arbitrary,
is as varied as we are: raindrops,
leaves, people, dust from cosmic legacy—
the Ngaio trees have had explosive growth.
I think their roots must have secured a pipe
of running water, and have fed
upon our faeces, like flowers and boutiquey
truffles. normally I’d claim the same
omissions as the roots, and rootball system,
of societal dispositions, as a personality exists
on both sides of the words used, and language
will close discussions, anchor for mooring
opinion, and so on, but now I think,
as the mountain ranges pink
with snow, all words are pointers,
misdirects, I look away, towards a door
slammed. the sun, twenty minutes
from entry; and waiting, as her monologue
closes, graveyard radio host, the Moon,
about to exit, will not briefly book-end,
with Sol, My dawn, and I will stand between
two states, two distances, a man
amongst seagulls alerted by the croissants
carefully heated on an orange-violet flame
from a small gas cooker. magnificent
silence of wave roll, heart-quiet, a circle
observantly. suburban windows. tight,
clear, lamp-lit; erogeny ready, I can feel it
pulsing, I will own this, and command
the caffeinated state, for a lean poetic
pornography. early? or late? is she
going home, or into the big toilet
to cry? I decide she is peeing on a stick
to determine a decision on her mate,
and I close the bag, too weighty at first,
but now half the size it was, the didge
airlifted home, books abandoned unread,
Mac, put to sleep in a box with breathing holes,
& sent behind the instrument—the lightness in my step!

poem by the river

The poem’s there, pulled by the flow, tossed by the boat;

in sunlight, spun in the circles of water;


here, on the bank, the bare branches of winter,

bowed to the water. It motors: like film, the repose

of passengers in profile, still, but this 1 girl

turned her head as an afterthought, saw, she thinks,

a glimpse of man stood tall. So. He thinks her lips

formed vowels, an O, for the real flesh of man, tore


off, with her teeth, something… Think: what it is

to be her, there, to see me falling away caught

in the trees like it’s really me that’s moving.


This will have to do – the circular wind

rolling the sky; the solitude I feel, hung still

like a gull reeled, art that blows even before

it stills. Here my thoughts are degenerate,

post-modernist, a white page of black lines,

the rudimentary outlines

of bare trees.


I envision the scene – now, but tonight also

& all my days, nailed like stars that light the walls

of a room I slept in 10 or 12 years ago.


Sunday Morning

Put the hammer down, sir,
and step away from the skill saw.

This is a good neighbourhood
on a Sunday. We like to sleep,

wake slow to the hollow notes
of dawn, the tripping toes light
against the corrugated roofs
of lean-tos; a fresh wind
kicking the can along the tarmac;
a distant rattle of saucers,
tea cups, coffee spoons; a cough
from another room.

All this is good.
Put the fucking hammer down, sir.

The Room

There it is again, so faint

The soft footfall of the nurse’s shoe

In this awful corridor, refreshed

In the palest cream.

There are the glass shelves

On which lie tubes and cold steel.

You see them in the surgeon’s hand.


The trundle beds, too

Pushed into side wards;

So many buses, end on end;

All steel and blue mattress.

Parked. Waiting.

Then there it is.

A small room with glass doors to a balcony.

She never stood there,

Nor felt the sun.

It was, then, too late.

The curtains were drawn.

fragments of

Karen’s dark eyes             half-light

…flicker                5 minutes

was gone


I’m dying               to be

at dawn our milk skins        Tender is

Downwind                I



all that day                 held close

the memory of her skin

she said.


Out!                    Breathe

in                      I fled

my room because


The street                   and the moon

My steps beat                between


One                     two


four                    I, delay at the

foot of her stairs                six & seven…


her stairs                   my hand and


9 Ten                        her door and

…tore her                    pages



Pass the Hat

You can leave your change in it if you want
Perhaps you could carefully empty the coins
Put it on and be dragged to the ceiling
The last act is to form an image, an imprint
by which we all pull down from above
to recall, to include you in the proceedings

Perhaps as time wears on the lights that provide
that illumination are wiped free of the grime
the accumulation we think is time but is simply
particles passing through the space we occupy
the wisdom of fickle beginnings does not evolve
through the entire process and prepare you for
the need of it as we unlodge before we escaped

There is a lot of holes in our neighborhood
where they flyed away that night
there are so so many souls missing
it is not funny to think of their bodies
there are no bodies
only the holes they left
they never took them to be fixed
so their unique pattern
means nothing to the process

Pass the hat but not too fast
you can see it training along
crawling along the line
you know it’s coming
and you may never want to wear it

water, sky

I left my shoes in the car, slid down

to the river, walked along the grass

where the water had risen. The rain

fell but I saw the sun, hazed up-stream,

east toward Cambridge & ducks glide

in the shallow pools between the trees

where my feet cool. I’m high of course

because it’s Saturday morning;


& if my son wasn’t on my shoulders & my joints

didn’t hurt, I might trace the source or

anyway just walk long ways, wade

in the water, the wide sky. One day


I quit. Dig a niche, stare

at the clouds that blow east like a dream

that rolls on &


think about this day after rain when the water’s high

& the sky lightly veiled.

days like this

days like this

on days like this
cats sit tucked
between the curtains
and the glass
looking up to the
top of and the
bottom of the rain
people turn to
baking in warmed
kitchens and
in the frame the
dancers round the
village square in
a breughel rustic
come to life
drunk on ale
on the days like
this the rain
unpacks its orchestra
in our hearing
and you remember
every spilt drop
on days like