Ars Poetica

what follows here is a random, rather small selection of some of my poems.

 

wordless 15.8.12

i am a poet

without a poem
other people’s words stream through me
displacing mine
in the hollow that is being
no words reverberate
the way once they clamored to be heard
clambering over each other like puppies
to the top of the heap
and i long for them
i have a kneading need
for them to rise
keen above the keening
to burst through the cacophony
in my head
to be distilled into a  pin-drop symphony
long-sought
silence
lately i feel…
lately i feel incredibly dumb
like my tongue’s been nailed to a board
like my brain’s been robbed
of some of the best knowledge
once stored there
words which use to roll
around my mouth at will
now will not come
lie lost as worlds beneath stilled waters
and will not come
even when sought
no matter how i prodding poke
my prying oar
still the glassy surface steely holds
and will not reveal nor
yield
it’s hoard

the things we take for granted

you walk through the door
and there’s a look on your face
that’s strange.
something’s been
rearranged since the last time i saw you,
since the last cavalier
goodbye.

“didn’t you get my message?” you say.
i explain the mundane inanity
of a phone forgotten at work.
“mine’s been stolen,”
you say, your voice flat and calm
as you regale me with a nightmare of doors kicked in,
and men with zipties and guns.

in my mind flash horrific scenes of
“what might have been”.
but like you, i am numb.

i look at you and see the violence reverberate.
“shhhhh…”, i say,
pulling you close.
“shhhhh…”.

as i hold you
i cannot help but feel imaginary bullet wounds,
i feel the holes rent by that knife.
i see one more hole ripped huge in the fragile silk
of this parachute,
our life.

and yet:
i also feel the things we take for granted.

and i am grateful for another chance.

 

 

watching love walk away     nov8.08

we sit
on the sofa.
side by side,
yet worlds apart.
your words sink inside me
like stones.
we’re in  a ship descending
into a sea of regret,
while on the horizon lie
tomorrows that never will be.
my tears will not stop
and so the waves overwhelm.
the ship starts breaking apart .
reality threatens to drown us both,
as clinging to flotsam
we float,
a part of each other
no more.
no longer us,
now just you and me.
we’re both still mouthing
“i love you”
and
“i’m sorry”,
but the distance between us deepens.
despite our best intentions,
despite everything we’ve tried,
on the shore, far off,
in the distance,
we  can see love.
and it is walking away.

A wake  Nov 9, 08

I am holding a vigil
For us
A wake for what was
I am staying up these long nights
Sleepless
My eyes wide
My heart hollow

There’s part of me
hopes that you are sleepless too
But the better part
hopes you are sleeping sound
And resting in peace.

ebb tide   11.22.03

thoughts of you plague me

like a low grade fever

i cannot shake.

i awake to find you

creeping at the edge of consciousness,

whereas for you,

i am a task you’ve taken on,

then grown weary of

and i see you pulling back

like the tide rolling out,

ebbing with ennui.

i need to look into your eyes

and see myself reflected there,

magnificently magnified,

but i can not deny that

that’s not what i see

and it’s just not enough for me.

Bounce  nov 8.08
 
I have the resilience of rubber.
Been bounced so many times,
Yet refusing to break.
I tend to forget that sometimes
When I’m vulnerable.
What seem
Like cracks start to show,
But the truth is,
I’ll rebound.
Throw me up against the wall
And I might fall,
But I’m going to
Bounce.
waste not    nov 11, 08
sometimes i wonder
if i squandered love
believing it would never leave
thinking what i’d got was in infinite supply
seems sometimes even the bottomless well
is not
and the river you take for granted
so easily runs dry

 

 

don’t go 5a.m. 7.30.03 

i was thinking of the ones i love
the ones i’m scared will leave
so i asked it of the ones above
please give us a reprieve

and i said don’t go yet
darling it’s too soon
if you go now all will be gloomy
so don’t go yet
there’s so much to do
if you go now i will miss you truly

and a voice it came from in my head
it answered me this way
i’m not quite sure from where it came
this is what it had to say

the person who was sitting here
was here before
and though they’re gone they linger on
for evermore
if i keep them in my memory
if i feel them in my reverie
i can taste them on the air i breathe
though they’re free to be
they’ll be always here with me

 

 

FALL 

It’s beautiful here –
cold, but clear,
crisp, like the leaves floating,
sun-browned,
to the ground at this time of year.
I watch their detached descent –
such sensuous nonchalance.

One day I shall learn
to let go
the way leaves fall –
it’s autumn and I ought to,
but for now
I wear my coat against the cold
(the woman in my mirror grows older)
and I marvel at the leaves,
how they manage to move on
with such indifference,
no smoldering passion
or wasted grief.

Unlike me,
they’ve mastered the art of parting
and when it’s time to go,

they leave.

The Grim Reaper
6.12.94

The reaper’s been harvesting
far too liberally around here
it’s grim.
Love your loved ones well –
tell them you do,
because when the old have to go,
we know their time has come,
but when a terrified woman
dies in our keep,
it leaves far too many people weeping.

And what about the young?
In the midst of life
someone’s son, senselessly, is dying.
He should be having fun –
one with the sun still at noon,
his sudden eclipse –
it’s too soon.
And what of the ones left behind,
empty and staring?
Wasn’t it glaringly obvious?

Oh gentle seeker,
why did your quest for wholeness
lead to a slit through which to slip your soul?
Did your crystal ball reveal the inexorable?
Did you steal a glance at the one
who led that devastating dance to the exit sign
and then fled?
You knew how that terrible tango would end,
you screamed for help,
yet no one came to your defense.

Celebrity cut short your stay
in this sycophantic land of the football hero.
A tyrannical touch-down
revoked your visa
and as your lives leaked down to zero,
the crowds cheered and cheered.

Here in this land of the slave and the fee,
where the guilty buy innocence,
I see that freedom is battered
while the light sputters vainly on that statue
called Liberty.

To the ones who care,
incredulous questions remain:
the raging refrain of,
“Why? Why? Why?”

I hope you’ve grown wings.
I hope your soul is flying.
Here it’s all over,
bar the crying…

           

oj.-love- (it’s all because i love you )

push here
shove there
happy birthday darling         pinch here
punch there
happy anniversary  can’t you see it’s all your fault
that i’m in so much pain
maybe that’s why my
fingerprints are all over you again

it’s all because i love you baby
now see what you made me do
it’s all because i love you baby
my way to get through to you

push here
shove there
happy birthday darling

pinch here
punch there
happy anniversary

don’t flinch when i raise my hand to you
don’t be so remote
i’ll make you smile from ear to ear
not with your mouth but your throat

but it’s all because i love you baby
now see what you made me do
it’s all because i love you baby
my way to get through to you

you come here now you do as i say
you’re just like you’re fucking mother
you sitdownshutupdo as i say
oh darling let’s make love

push here
shove there
happy birthday darling

pinch here
punch there
happy anniversary
oh happy anniversary
so why aren’t you happy…..

from the skye   13 dec 2008

i trudge through the dark

in a storm that will not budge

to meet a tall man
fallen from the skye.
i have not at all any expectations
and to my delight i am surprised
when there is but the slightest
mutual spark.
my footsteps are so much lighter as i leave.
the sky is clearing…
i do believe what’s on my face
just might be a smile.
i hope it stays a while….

ode – dec 02.08

i’m done with odes,
these endless odes to what bode not well.
i emote and emote
and almost by rote
words  croak from my throat like
grim frogs
destined never to be prince.
all simply so much bull.
i make myself wince.
and so I’m done with odes.
at least until the next cacophony
i have, it seems, no choice,
aloud, but to unload,
i’m done with odes.

time

strange how time can flex

contracting and expanding

at will

sometimes it’s candy gobbled
with a fat-faced greed
disappearing with
a speed that makes one spin
other times
the day
stretches into infinity
like treacle
elastic and sticky
and the clock stays stuck
for hours at the
same face you perused
merely
but a minute ago
nothing
take everything
leave nothing behind
nothing that looks or smells
or tastes like you
leave no reminder
that once i held you in regard
that once i gave you haven in my heart
yes
take everything
i want nothing to remind
i do not wish to find a single trace
of what a fool i was
i do not want to face the fact
that what i got from you
was nothing
so yes
take everything
leave nothing behind

Stone 8.16.07 

I’ve spent my life avoiding loss,
Shunning desire,
Never building not there
Castles in air,
Always prepared.

Perpetually aware,
I hoard my tears,
Guarding against the grinding loss
Of even one.
I do not allow a single
Leaking smear
Upon my cheek
For fear, unchecked,
A flood may come.

What I do not want
Cannot mistakenly
Leech into the void –
And loss.
A loss
I’ve lived my life
Avoiding.

 

 

phoenix
Pederast, paedophile –
you sick fuck!
You suck!
or at least
that’s what you made me do –
and more.
much worse.
I was only four –
how much more innocent could I be?
And yet, like a vile snake, you defiled me!
No, I take it back.
That image of the snake
is my totem now,
though not like yours;
no violent, hissing thing,
but the one, tail in mouth –
the orobourus,
symbol of strength and rebirth,
now my defense,
my familiar….
You took so much.
Your touch left me besmirched,
and lurching
into what’s supposed to be a life.
Well, enough!
It’s time to shed this grimy skin –
I’ll reveal the one,
untouched, within
and like the phoenix, I shall rise.
The only ashes left,
are yours.
I am a slave,
emancipated,
joyfully dancing on your grave.
I’ve escaped the crack and lash
of your whip
and my sisters are joining me.
The ones, head-shaven,
are growing their medusa-locks
and others you thought inside ripped,
not anymore –
we’ve slipped this yoke
with our phoenix-feathers flying,
death-defying.
You’ll see….
We are setting ourselves free.
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