The Ladies Man

He wore a robe and a smile,
a jaunty man with jokes
and a shiny creased face.
Tea? He poured and his
companions became girls.
Yes, please, they said,
slid the china cups closer.
Then he unrolled his jokes
and they giggled and fluttered
and he ran a hand up the length
of his tie to the Windsor –
and his hand lingered.
It was quite too much.
More tea, anyone?

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Mute to the Chatter

He knew he was spoilt

But there came a shadow of envy behind every gust of wind

Green through their metaphors of meaningless pastures

Encapsulating their distaste to his silence

Brick walls of silence

Travelled the road long into his forgotten past

A cost that stood the defectors ignorance

So simple in their eyes

Would god create a rock he could not lift?

Blinded by a masochists dying wish

His son rode it hard that night they shared a crate

Could they have twisted the knife in his back any further

Strictness means nothing to the dying and dead

Her heart to long poison from contempt and hatred

Strictness means nothing to the dead

Cut reels of video tape a worthless thread

To him it was the ultimate handshake of giving in

Little did the detractors know countless times he already had

Burning the remnants ‘of sin

Encapsulating himself in clouds of smoke and gin

Sanctuary of another is how this begins.

 

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Land’s Lament

Scoop the soil in cupped hand

and watch it fall grainy grey;

bend on one knee so that the

corded pants are tight at the knee,

then lean in and down, to

smell the soil’s goodness;

close your eyes to heighten

the joy of its sweetness.

Sow the seed, feel the dust rise

and see it settle in puffs.

This is the way, as the sun

eases up then falls to ground,

as crops wave to the light,

and spoil in the fuggy wet,

turn to dust yellow in the dry:

failure and success:

the way of the land.

Hold fast, they say, yield

with the incessant wind;

wait for the season – at last

when the grain heads swell

to reach up and up, a

a golden benevolent arm

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What Is That Book About? #3

3.

And now I am writing, in a smaller book.

But you can’t read it, and I will not talk about it yet.

And if my voice has made it to you, my small

persistent chirping, a cicada near an airport

—poets, we are happy with the dull clunk-clink

of the coin you choose to drop into the busker’s

open case, playing her feather touch

on gravity-tight strings of a red guitar

on the age scratched pavements of LA.

Although I am unsure if the municipality

allows street performers, I picture you,

on the footpath with the handprints

and shoe indents, the gold edged stars

set with a ground crystal of cement

—the telling is truer than the thing told,

and a man will beg and a woman will go off

in a huff and regret it all her life—

but you know that isn’t entirely true,

it can also play out opposite, or two

positive poles and a current won’t flow,

in the all day and night noise, the roaring

large transmission of industry, more than

poetry will ever achieve, the telling is truer

than what is being told. I am creating cavities

inside persistent noise to appreciate the quiets of poetry.

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What Is That Book About? #2

2.

The little book I read, as we are captained by your mother

in the vehicle as it travels the narrow black strip

of these few years we have together, today beside

the Tasman Sea, sock, and salt smell, of you,

in your headphones, engaged in tablet games,

and short enough still to have your feet up

on the dash, not bored with your parents yet,

is also about placement of the sensation,

the containing and defusing of the feeling

of the fine sandy gold and copper grains,

the black & petrified woods, the clear quartz

under black roads for the life of the highways & passing lanes.

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What Is That Book About?

1.

The lightness and delicacy poets use

to detect the real in Reality—there while

under the weight of the Rolling stones,

those sponges of gravity, is the minuscule

sound of the tiny grains too small

to be affected by the roller

smoothing crystal gravel for the seal.

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swing

I swing upon the hour

until midnight stills the soul

and I am nothing but

lumpen flesh, still breathing.

 

Morning

out my window

flowers bloom; but afternoon

rolls so slow and I’m

blown. If lucky I’m

there til the evening

fills me; like sea air.

 

Turn in,

nothing’s here: tread soft

the wooden stair; some

guilty thing, caught;

on all fours.

 

I thought

I was

someone else.

Real, breathing.

 

8 August 2015

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Feathered Chains

Your ankles dangle in the water
held fast by the passage of time
kicking hard against the ripples
the future carving saintly lines

Forgotten pride pulls your skin
flakes off as age wears you down
to drift there among them corpses
the sacred deeds and the sorry drowned

Weighed down by a thousand links
feathered chains stretch you thin
marking time with beauty failing
your eyes sink deep into borrowed skin

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such words

          such words

some words
are prayers
in themselves
no need of a
long breath to
know their song
vesper

evening

star

such words
are worked in
gold in grief
in shadow of
the fallen day
in sky found
of morning
ocean

mountain

star

some words
we take into
dreaming enfold
with love’s heavy
cloth embroidered
in the silver of
a first kiss the
salt of a last
vesper

evening

star

such words
are rain in a
fit of wind
driven across
the glass
the loosening
into dusk
the measured
lay of dawn
ocean

mountain

star

november 2014
cockle bay, meadowlands

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tianjin

         tianjin

from the deck
you saw the wild blue.
knew the full wind
of an open sea
the city astern
lying fast
in the haze.
saw the blue
unable to rid that haze
open the heart-to-shit street
of days to the blown
clearness above.

saw a swallow
hit the gusts
off the waves
a flight you know
of a low sun in your lover’s eyes
her touch across the back of
the night
a sky that takes
in all your breadth
a dusk that takes in
all your stars.

i was close
to someone grew through
journeys with her
i broke with her
for all the
skies we slept under
the wound of her kiss
in my mouth
salt at the edge of
any joy i’ve known since.
yet
knowing a second birth
in your hands lydia of the kingdom
i am in your debt
as debted to that sky
that stands us out
on the open deck.
let someone take our
picture at the railing
the roiling waves
our backdrop
the swallow your glancing touch
within.

beijing
circa 1994/1995

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The Little Donkey

Some here cry when the donkey comes,

clopping on the seal, rangy hills at his back.

Each year he does this; by day he is Seamus,

at bugle’s call, he is Simpson’s steed,

to remember the man, the deeds.

He is led by boys in khaki, over-size

trousers buckling at the ankle, and

he has a red cross about his neck:

red for salvation, for the blood spilled.

When last they stood here, a boy fell

in the heat and the donkey’s eyes lit and his

head went up, and people rushed to

the boy’s aid: they opened his shirt,

gave him water, rubbed his pale cheek;

succour in the field in a heat shimmer.

And that was it – the boy who led the

donkey had fallen at his post, and

no one – no one – wanted to look

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disinter

I

I’m sick with

emptiness;

excess;

an ambivalence

I can’t express,

ever; one day

some fine/blade

may sever

that vein/for me

to tell, until then

listen well if you

will.

 

II

Some…nameless one

remains: an inner eye;

living corpse, half-

hid in the

undergrowth; enemy

within, who knows

what I think, I thought

was stilled in his bed.

Do you turn

now to face that grave

fear? My bones

know there is no

end; some knot of

consciousness, a worm,

remains; a paradisal

vision; or, equivocal

figures quivering

the abstruse air of

evening.

 

III

The first Woman cursed us with shame.

Even today, children know this

ubiquity that spies them

with their flies down,

fingering fruit.  In 2 days

my little one turns 1,

untainted still, and beautiful.

I can’t begin to unpick

the abstract love, which is

immanent.

 

Lucifer too is the victim

of an older tradition;

a Promethean who lost,

ignominiously shoved

head first in the ditch;

dead to me now.

 

Evil! how is all this

possible?

Mysterious, the hatred,

the wanton infliction

or accident of pain.

 

Nietzsche lost his mind to grief;

wept, his arms around that

cloven beast whipped on a street

in Turin.

I understand this.

 

And even this is

nothing in the so-called

scheme of things ,

and the hatred,

the laboring, back-

breaking; for acclaim

or money  is vain.

 

Francis

knew this; threw his

last crust to the wind

and birds;

 

I prefer

to drag my heels,

head bowed by the weight

of a cross I can’t bear,

to lay aside.

 

It’s madness. But,

Brothers and Sisters,

are you with me?

 

4 August 2015

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