up this high

up this high

up this high
my horse chipping
ice under hoof
looking down
over pine
in shadow
toward the valley
of dry winter
pasture in sun
my guide grown
in the moods of
this mountain
light assuring
me the horse
knows well how
to step & where
behind i see
ridge taking ridge
in distance
mountains of
unknown bareness
wood beast & man
up this high
known before only
in dream the wind
coming down
twisting back dust
on the sky gone
again the sky
deep with high
winds cloud
giving out
into blue
into nothing
you could paint
a buddha across

a cold up here
in the chest
from the snow
& this air
strained from
the valley & the
bits of life swinging
like washing on
a rough hung
line seen from
this far up
a cold of
the ridge up
there sharp with
light & snow
a mountain in
the white fire
of clearness

up this high
there is only
the now
the horn of
the saddle
a path
you’ve taken
are taken on
by someone
in hand
i trust
this wind
this hand
this riding
toward the
ridge a height
that holds
you in fall

up this high
you watch
in your own
good time
cloud off the
peak lasting
the breadth of
a dream that
wakes into
blue is born
out of blue
a spell
in its
your height.

Mt Satseto
Lijiang, july 2001


the art of lying to yourself & getting away with it

fiction about fiction about fiction about fiction about fiction about

fiction about fiction.

arse ache.


how long does this go on.

Bullet – 1-5

or 13. The, litany

(if you will) of pithy

observation, self-

parody but,

gentle. you’re cool really because you’re

candid about yr imperfections

& yr, dare-i say-it-forgive-me-please, derangement.

you’ve got to be mad, haven’t you, & sad but we love you,



irony of ironies! double irony.

triple. & so on.


humour is good cover for the foolishness you feel,

which you’re not fully conscious of –

the foolishness, i mean.


but the crowd laugh with you

so it’s all good.

how to end

I walked across

the water; saw

fish, the depth


from the bridge, clear

as the morning slant

of light.


I miss




how it

is, how it

could have



This is the way

to fall or fall


away. I’m

disengaged & what’s

worse: the



motion of



or the




A Place To Lie

In these last rows are the people the farmer knew. There is the man he sought to raise a gun. He would pull the double-barrel from its bag and raise and aim in one motion. Before the noise fled across the field the beast was down, folding from the front and eyes up at the darkening sky.

There is the man with the kindly eyes and grey hair he brushed back with open fingers. He sat in an open office and if he sensed trouble he looked down over his glasses. He didn’t drink but he carted jars out in a crate to the men. Here, he said. Help yourself, and they unwound the white caps and flipped off the plastic caps and filled filthy glasses with warm beer and all you could smell was ink and beer in unequal measure.

Over there, beneath a stand-out headstone, is the quiet man who stood aside when the drinking began. That was not his way. He kept to himself and sometimes in his blue-collar work he wore a tie. It was a matter of dignity. His companion is hereabouts. He wore a tie also and the story goes that on the one day he did not, he had to sit in a courtroom in which one was demanded and was asked to leave. All those years, then that.

Now they are joined in a bond of knowing in the far north-east of a cemetery. How odd, now, to see their middle names. How odd: to know the foibles, the lives, the wives, the vices, the houses and the streets but not the name in the middle. They did not plan this place to lie. It is fate and the sexton’s hand that farm neighbours are nearly side by side. Close enough, this side of the pines, to feel the nor-west.

Would you still?

Send me a pocket of oranges picked when the sun was full ripe
and chilled in an ocean of darkness
see if the lillies are budding and was it right to bouquet them?
Did the light play upon the water as the hearse lay my body down
No fruit nor blooms can touch me as I float in my cask
yet the smells would excite my olfactory and I can hear you still
Yes, still and silent.
The pungent lillies not known delight, but appropriate.Still you watch… stay with me, stay the bells that toll farewell…….and believe in love’s flower that blossomed between us for season…. for time….forever….
its seed will rebirth
nutured will bud again.to raise us.


risen, the moon

blows, at



even you

move on or

I do


from    you

turn my

face,    from the light.




should  I           –

never have      come,

gone –


evenings          in


shadows          swallowed


whole              my bare

walls                in

turn                 swallow













That was it
He gathered his pipe and retired to his cottage
Thought of the money/health wasted on ill repute
And thought how he wasted the other half
He turned his kerosene lamp to ail the dusk
Looked blankly lost at first
But started with an old pad scribbling by hand
The cat had his tongue at that moment
A mouth full of stitches
In to the night, he poured
This marked the code or scripts had begun.


I wanted to

disappear, live

elsewhere; be






am I really here,

in the empty hours

strolling the streets

after noon when no

life stirs behind

the shutters?


on the lawn

under the leaves

pierced by star



on the platform

at dusk. the rails

sense the trains

a mile away. the wind

blows scraps; stamps

of boots down the stairs.

this is atmosphere. my

emptiness. the march of

my conquerors – dear,

I’m in a fix – somewhat

fucked but that’s

nothing – not war

or anything but

nerves; white people problems.

which is…existential angst. that’s

what it is. but it’s still

real: it’s no cruise

up the Congo, but it’s not good.




I’m in the car, driving.

the lights on amber.

I’m on my way to school,

or somewhere, fast.


I might be high on the balcony,

in my vest at dusk

watching the passengers

step onto the pavement.




I won’t shy from saying you’re beautiful; or say it

with a grin, conscious of being sentimental.

that way is like meta verse because

it’s scared of being, falls

into cynicism, flat; a voice

in your head that says: you’re nothing,

this is nothing, really. so,


don’t try.

be ironic. self-deprecating.

life is just to die.


well, fuck that.