A way-back poem for the first of May, to mark the end of National Poetry Month, and the beginning of the next stage in this strange journey we’re on.
How can one seduce happiness then make it love you enough to stick around?
knots in the wood flaws in the pattern of the oriental carpet a brown withered leaf on an otherwise healthy plant this is how we know that things are real a speck of dust on the TV screen a missing scale on an ornamental Koi a scratch on a smooth surface scuff marks and worn patches on an old guitar this is how we know that things have lived sometimes I understand the revolutionary’s disdain for perfect fingernails, overly coiffed hair, and hands without callouses This is how we know that we have lived: bruises, cuts, and scars on all our parts hearts included
Passing effect: The effect of passing through things – Leaves, hair, branches, hearts – Equal and opposite reactions; We pretend that contact is only temporary, that everything always only passes by, and through – and yet – even Jupiter’s tiny moons affect the giant’s gravitational field.
Gravity: A force so weak, you can defeat it with a fridge magnet, or a piece of tape; – and yet – Even the weakest forces can surprise you, how they keep coming back; The persistence of the everyday: You can jump up, but you’ll always land.
All these fleeting melodramas, the private riots, the secret rebellions, a universe of stories unfolding inside this infinite travelling picture show; one might call it a kind of madness.
…and yet… Sometimes, for one suspended moment, as we stand on the brink that little voice in the back of our mind, daring us to take that one small step out into the air, we remember some future day, the one we’ve waited for, all this time when everything becomes clear and we know at last that flight is, finally, possible.
here, a feather falls faster than a brick feast and famine are interchangeable and pens are all the same colour
what colour they are, is up to you
here, frogs can leap by halves and halves forever and never fall off the log
what colour the frogs are is up to you
sometimes, the dragon’s tale is sharp and cuts the skin sometimes it billows around you like smoke and you wonder where the fire is
what colour the dragon is is up to the dragon
here, elastic bands are stiff and brittle and shatter when you pull them while the dead branch on the ground pulls and stretches like taffy sprouting limbs, roots, whole trees a forest of caramel all the apples pre-dipped
here, skies are green, grass purple a magic marker heaven drawn on thick bristol board what colour the paper is is anyone’s guess
Ghost ships founder off the shores of Elysium we came here to find the answer to something lost in the Aether conceptions stumble, presumptions fall apart, like paper in the rain, belief in the inevitable lost like leaves in the gutter no longer individual but indistinct, irresolute handholds slipping the long fall into uncertainty no longer buoyed by memories of bliss Is it fog or billowing smoke that hides the enemy’s sails? Is it fate, or blind chance that becalms us here on glass still waters? Only the albatross & the moon know, only the wheeling gulls and the absent wind and they’ll never tell.
Another spring poem, from back in 2014. composed while walking homeward on a spring-soaked afternoon past low-rent apartment buildings.
Improvised flower vases and wrapping paper trees roots like mountains seen from the eyes of circling eagles at once emerging and settling, growth and decay, no more contrary than rose petals and thorns, a discordant symmetry: the cosmic wail of distorted electric guitar spelling out the names of stars and forgotten background radiation, pain that verges on ecstasy, a ringing of celestial strings struck with the well-worn pick of disillusioned immortals;
How a stranger’s intangible yearning can translate through the ephemeral code of electronic pulses and magnetic fields, a fixed point enacted in the so-called past becomes immediate present, time and space erased in an instant transformed into a perfect moment of rebirth, a dagger in the mind piercing to the core; it leaves no trace of bloody injury, only a shedding of unnecessary skin, a lowering of barriers to permit this temporary osmosis of the spirit
Noble silhouette against the pale blue sky under the serene white crescent of the four o’clock moon
(meanwhile, across town)
A freedom of starlings congregates below the peeling green windows while reflections of flight in warped bulging glass give weight to the theory of glass as a liquid flowing at the speed of war between the sun’s fickle warmth and the ever-hungry shade
Wrote this one after seeing a hilariously bad B movie that featured, as you might guess, angels with BFGs.
I dreamed I saw Gabriel holding a Tommy gun who knew he fought gangsters in his spare time his eyes changing colour in the shifting light he walks through the mist like some dime-store cowboy, like an anime demon hunter black coat flapping in the breeze breaking the rhythm with his thrift store army boots scars cover his body like a maze of tattoos, his story etched in blood and skin and ink dark as sin shedding light, leaking goodness into darkest corners, from countless ancient wounds, he’s an avenger, and a saviour, and a damn good shot, so you’d best be on your game he can see right through your soul if he lays his hands upon you you’ll never be the same, so you’d better run, run and hide ‘cuz luck is something you ain’t got when god is on the other side.
Thought I’d mix things up a bit on Fridays and Sundays with the occasional flash fiction / short story to complement the daily poetry posts. This is a fun one from a while back, following a three-word prompt. I’m betting you can guess what one of the three words was!
Nine ambiguous cats looked out over the night from their perch on the low stone wall. Their yellow eyes stared down at the city lights spread out like a child’s Lite Brite, all the gaudy colours of the casinos and X-rated movie parlours mere innocent winking baubles at this distance. The cats’ tails swished in unison. They were silent for a long time, still shadows in deeper darkness. They waited until the full moon had cleared the horizon, and then they began to sing. While the families slept in their cozy suburban nests; while the shift workers grunted and swore over broken machinery in the sheet metal factory; while the night walkers prowled and preened, the cats sang. It was not the usual nails-on-blackboard skirling wail that wakes you up in the middle of the night. It was beautiful, perfect, nine-part harmony. The cats believed, you see, that they were singing the moon across the sky. And perhaps they were right. One never knows about these kind of things.
Another one from the archives, for Day 2 of National Poetry Month. This one is clearly meant to be spoken out loud. Imagine a curly-haired beat poet on a cramped stage in some underground dive, with free-form bongos in the background.
Parting the waves for the starfish supernova oriental carpet fish tickling my toes Dancing the raves down through asteroid alley girls holding hands drive the boys insane You hold your ideals too close to your heart suffocating them in your tight embrace You feel too much, so you curl up inside dwarf star material waiting to explode You could be birthing galaxies, exhaling nebulae dangling your feet over the lips of black holes You could be skating the event horizon look ma, no hands, no training wheels here But instead you hunch over this dull white page gripping the pen like it might try to run try to make an escape Houdini would be proud of leaving you only with a ghost of an echo of a memory of a dream No way to capture it, bottle it, seal it with wax But what does it matter? You weren’t going to share it with anyone anyway Don’t Bogart those neurons, baby I want my share, want to go down singing to the county fair in the wide blue sky Look out world, here I come the invisible one with the bitten tongue and a page full of squiggly black lines.
Starting off the first day of National Poetry Month with one that didn’t make it into WTWBT, but feels right for the first day of April, when the snow has receded into only the darkest, coldest corners, the birds are singing non-stop, squirrels are running rampant, and green is sprouting everywhere. But at the same time, in the back of your mind, you know there’s still an ice storm or two on the way before the month is over.
[Original title: Fifteen degrees of February]
When the first breath of spring catches you up, teases your heart with false promises, blushing green peeking from fresh damp earth, emerging islands amidst the fast melting snow; when even discarded skins of chocolate bars and dollar store bags seem to herald new beginnings: life from destruction, devouring the old bones, bleeding ice from the river’s edge.
Even the birds are deceived, filling the air with distracted chatter, while free roaming dogs and preschool children run madly through the squelching mud, feeling the shift; and yet, the cynical voice reminds you that it’s far too soon, winter won’t let us go that easily.
To hell, you say, with rationality, and walk faster, as if by sheer defiance you can escape the warning howl of the cold grey clouds, wind pushing you back into the inevitable grip of winter.