Skewered like St Sebastian
by the savage purity
of line and angle
his arcing off is clean-cut
as tempered steel, her anger
worn too smooth to bite.
Their hearts pinched
to the practised hardness
of a fossil
each orbits a void
they both deny,
of those small kindnesses
that once defined their love.
Yet there is passion
in their symmetry,
a cruel precision
complex as any genome,
of noughts and crosses
implacable as a glacier
in living rock.
A night of turgid dreams leaves me
with Marilyn Monroeís autograph
written in a ghosted memoir.
The signature bristles and preens
as if writhing with ego.
Iím sure itís authentic although
the memoir appeared years after
she died of excessive marriage.
Suicide was an afterthought.
Her famous marriages bent her
backward till her spine warped
and her overexposed breasts popped
like paper bags. She regretted
certain roles, but not the last,
in The Misfitsóher co-stars,
like her, doomed before the film
earned the audience it deserved.
If I dreamt up this signature
in this book with orange cloth binding
it seems real enough in daylight.
Fondling the memoir I detect
the pain of composition raving
still in the unconscious ether
to which she consigned her spirit.
Would an autograph dealer pay
full value for a signature
that however authentic occurs
years after the subjectís death?
Iím keeping this to myself.
Without touching I trace a finger
over the graceful holography,
certain I couldnít have forged
this elegant scrawl in my sleep.
Everyone believed her murdered,
perhaps by government thugs.
But the way her autograph fell
from the dark suggests how gently
she entered itóher name, although
not her own, derived from a species
we love all the more when extinct.
It was a cloudy, humid night that I found her,
dark with no noted star in the street-
only a streetlamp's glare,
blurring its attention on her,
or perhaps a movement caught my glance.
There, a thickly huddled clump
of slow compacted shadow, many limbed
in the light; blotch-bellied and centred firm.
She'd stopped (with all her legs), sure as shadow.
The surprise of being met perhaps equal to mine,
for there she held, giving nothing away,
remarkable in her concentrated poise.
Her wariness didn't last, as with a sudden urge
she mounted forward, advancing with a rower's ease-
the whole current of her body oozing forward...
Careful though, as she steered to one side,
then checked, as if to slip from near presence:
away from the wall, each leg a careful fluent aim,
caressing air in its angled fall...
Artful in her walk, almost a ballerina.
The lamp showed up her tousled body:
a grossly bobbled thorax bunched with reddish hairs
tart as pollen, delicate as flower filaments.
Finding grass, she assumed anonymity-
conscious, it seemed, of a watchful form;
and there, startled back to myself, I left her.
Stray leaves leered over her shadow.
Several extremes of pleasure and pain
(one for the road, two for the show)
Hopefully I can see you again?
(three in the park, four in the dark)
Or maybe, youíve missed the train?
(five odd phone calls, six new curve balls)
Which I think would explainÖ.
(seven old ways, eight great days)
....your change of heart.
valentineís day omelets
and egg one, egg two
knew the story
as the vowels sang out
from our eyes over the cappuccinos,
two hot plates
rubbing against one another
on the tiny table
one hundred per-cent off
the bliss I was in
when you said
that your heart was
a once in a lifetime
super sized special offer
with extra love thrown in
you did have
credit where creditís due
the sex was fantastic
but all spent out
your pillow talk
became a rich irony
of sweet nothings
about no obligations
shame I canít return your offer
as Ďunfit for purposeí
I hit the supermarket
with red puffy eyes
buy one get one free
but there was only one left
or two for eleven quid
I canít seem to refuse."
At first, it was bliss:
he gave me the world for a house,
and made me its dame.
And it was the morning of life;
the sun spilled her gold in the lap of the sea,
and bought me a day.
Iíd spend hours in a trance:
beached like a cat in the sun,
heat stroking my skin
with her fingers of gold.
Or lost in the trees,
light caught by the leaves
Ďtil the whole wood burned like a jewel
at the throat of a queen.
Or deep in the orchard,
where summer hung scented and ripe,
stripping the trees
Ďtil my basket was heavy with fruit.
I ate well:
tomatoes, split figs,
full peaches that blushed
like the down-silvered cheek of a girl.
I slept like a child.
The sea rustled close,
like the bustling skirts of a nurse.
Sometimes, I wake
and feel his eyes trained on my skin.
Heís always around,
trailing a footfall behind
or shading his eyes
on the opposite shore of a lake.
Some nights, I build him a fire
with wood bleached by the sea.
He looks at my feet.
He traces the curves of my ears
as if they were shells.
He unfolds my fingers
and plays with the joints of my limbs.
Anything goes -
sea shanties, ballads, old rhymes
that keen in the night
like a chorus of wolves.
Yet nothing could undo
the sadness I see in his face.
I twine him close in my hair,
and rock him to sleep.
Still, when he wakes,
his cheeks will be silvered with brine.
Heíll watch all I do with a sorrow
as deep as the night.
And I am still dame of his house,
though it isnít what I would call bliss.
Whatís bliss but everyday life,
keeping house in a palace
whose walls I have already seen?
Each new sun blooms
like the sun of the day before
and draws the same charms
from the same unspeakable night.
And still, the sorrow grows wild and strange
in his eyes,
like he already knows:
knows how my days will unfold,
in grace, in quiet, with more of the same dim joy,
with nothing to alter their sun-kissed course
Ďtil I stray to the edge of the wood
and discover the tree.
For thereís always a tree:
knocked crooked, awry,
split trunk like the limb of a hag,
bent low with such an unsayable weight of beauty
Iíll know without any doubt
that it is forbidden.
Itís like he already knows
that there he will find me,
there on the edge of the cage he has made me
no whispering snake at my ear,
with only the blaze of my hair
and the gleam of my mouth,
the heat of my suddenly naked limbs,
warmed Ďtil they burn
by the red, cupped weight of my palms.
I love the way your inhibitions
with modest ease,
slowing only at your
A simple sort of gathering like
the pursing of your
before the grand descent.
Then, pooling up in that little
beneath the arches of
they evaporate there in
a n t I c I p a t o r y
As you again bestow
You say itís the new lemon tree
spreading this sweet breath
but for me itís something else, a locust tree,
its blossoms travelling maybe
with that ready scent of memories,
the season gathering its own solace,
air in its mirror of marvels.
Now itís early morning
and Iím lacing up my boots for the hike,
the garden green stares at me,
at my hands and head bent forward
before anything: the sun that will grow
on the back of the neck with
a scrutinizing vastness,
the afternoon storm
that will enter the mountainsí gaps
like the violets and blacks
of a lionís irises;
these and the other thousand things
fearful and surprising
and all the rest that canít be foreseen
and is the heart of the sky.
But now itís the treesí stillness
and this sweet smell
of closeness and newness
that prepare me.
I pull at my laces, I love the tightness
of the boots on my ankles
and the lingering of this leafy
early earth that waits
settled and dumbfounded
with its buzz of a gaze
that expands like veins
He came as soon as he could
His uneasy manner in the hall gestured
That it might be best to make haste for the patient
The air in the front room was cold and filled with piano gases
The polish of half a century
Its musty unvarnished innards leaking a gas into the house
He sat himself onto the stool
His ear listening politely to the story so far
His eye sweeping the patient for vital signs
A bag of tools rattled when he reached to let them down
The polished veneer panel creaked and squeaked
As he prised it from its dowelled clamps
Allison London and Nordell Crane Dublin
He scanned the ornamental gold and silver fonts
He played a ten finger cord and listened as the flock flew away
The Air vibrating to his short tin-can overture
He faded into a more intimate laying-on of hands
His bedside manner had filled the cold room with purpose
The warming radiator clicking and ticking like a broken metronome
A sudden deep horn blew five times and twice again then once
The right pedal creaking downwards to sustain the jagged note
Throwing uneven pyramids of sound up into the mid-morning air
The repeating Morse was beginning to sound like a proper staircase now
A fitted carpet of melody was hammered softly into all the corners
Followed not long after by a sweet rhyme of running footsteps slowly up and then down
He put back the breastplate
Turning the dark hidden hooks around and down and into their patient clamps
He dipped into the replenished well of the old upright
And pulled on its heartstrings
The finest love song softly first and then
Macushla Macushla your sweet voice is calling
Calling me softly again and again........ http://youtu.be/JuAPz_sVJlo
I'm feeling slippedge
Stop focusing on things you can't control.
Midnight here has been mauled and murdered.
Itís three a.m. and I can hear the two of them fucking
in the room next door to mine.
He talks more during than she does:
Oh, baby. Oh, Momma. Oh, baby. Oh, Momma.
He canít decide whether to care for her
or be cared for by her.
God, but I wish heíd choose one.
Itís Friday. Another moonless night, another try.
her dress is green and brown, her legs exposed.
I am staring.
I cross the room
and in the mirror I watch her touch her face.
She applies her lip gloss carefully;
look at my sparkly smile.
Itís the final dark sleep hour when I feel her.
She leads me to the room in silence.
She has wedged herself between the bed and the wall.
Scalded by the moonlight,
laughing and crying,
with her hands in her hair.
Here in Sydney,,,, Itís raining. The air is green and smells of
She and I are sitting on the back steps. We listen.
What are you both doing?
Her smile is a wind chime.
She does not look back, but silently asks for closeness.
We anchor like two strong stones,
an arm around each shoulder.
Her skin is fever; and she like a candle
in the gray storm light.
Itís a gamble really, this love,
itís a bet placed, a fuse lit.
Itís a car wreck at night.
And I am the passerby who cannot look away;
my eyes too drawn to the colored lights and the siren song.
And now, the hope.
One night, you will land in Sydney.....and I will be waiting for you...
All the city lights will be tiny moons around the Harbour.
You wonít be able to see the Harbour Bridge, or the Opera House, but you will see how even from far away, the massive plane makes ripples in the water.
You will see the dim cabin & the people around you, the man with his goodnight book, the two children with their wide adventure eyes.
As you descend together, you will hit the button. The stewardess will come, and you will want to tell her something about the loneliness of vast bodies, the beauty of a lover's eyes, how much you love to land in this city at night.
When she is standing beside you, youíll apologize for calling her. You will tell her it was an accident. But you wonít be able to ignore how her cleavage is a little off centered, as if one day she was born sideways, her arm, a white arc, raised quietly over her head.
Window writes cloud stems
black bloom chants stretching
thunders varicose on dreams.
Skies youngest flesh awakens
the hourglass child,
dawn sands her stamen kiss.
I swear the rain brought her lips
pressed them on the robins breast
itís neck broke kissing my window.
The long cold hours embossed her
raindrops blemished her bed
death freckles comforted her.
The teeth of smashed windows
chewed up the moon
storm closed its insomniac eye.
Robins leave a bruised song
swept across the clearing
hung ghosts are bed-sheets.
She never leaves me.
Squatting on rocks
edging the river
we pass paper and pen
along the loose curved row
each adding a line
sinuous as the river.
ďIf you find this poem,
add a line and send it back.Ē
I roll it up and stick it
in the bottle,
toss it into the current.
An eddy brings it back.
I try again, again,
until the current catches it.
We wait, fishermen,
waiting for a nibble.
under the boa tree
waiting for the answer
to float back.
In the desperation of hours,
shadow reclaim what is theirs,
the ominous clouds hunker down over the city
making ashen faces on the buildings,
in slumped shoulder hills,
vertical sunspots of orange
in the lake where blue sailboats rock
in restless waters.
There is a impulsive shifting of moments,
in the lateness of the day.
If we shut ourselves in,
we will miss it. After so much effort
It will be painful to see
the anguish of the air, the prospect
of recovery, the quintessence of things.
What we discover in the end
is not possible in the beginning.
It is not found in nature,
transcending it, assembling more
than we can see: changing color, light,
variations of hues like arpeggios
on a piano in the gossamer light,
Almost lyrical, almost without boundaries
in the moments between moments.
Weíre not so unique, there are words like this
spilling into letters in other countries, you know.
They write sorry and goodbye and donít stop.
There are things happening everywhere
and everyoneís sorrow is as true as mine, their hearts
as red and full of pumping blood. My words spill
out of my head so full of the things youíve said
and the ways there are to die or make it die.
These are the things I work with, like clay
or like stone, these are the bits of electricity
that knock my body against the fireplace on an opposite wall.
They spell out a hot blue bruise on my hand, a manís voice,
pages and pages of broken bones and wet pavement.
I build with words and your words threw me like words
move through me and out and crash against the worst thing
in the world that could have happened and nothing changes.
You and I cry sometimes, when times get rough and ready, and these unsteady lines remind me why flying things with wings have danger signs.
And we laugh sometimes too, me and you, itís true, because brewing tears takes work, gotta laugh it off, you jerk,(gender neutral) irking me with quirk after quirk, I wrote this one for you.
In lieu of together-time, Iíll use feathers, mimes, treasures, lines, and sign language (once I learn it) to tell you stories, the glories of writing are like fighting, for me,(because Iím lame), and so I will write-fight for you till I lose my pen behind my ear again, then Iíll stab my notebook (donít look) until its pages are battered and Iíve gone mad-hattered crazy.
For you. This is me topping off your ink-drink (say when), refills are free, bills, well, we could avoid them for awhile if that would make you smile (say when), problems piling up? Donít sigh...
My idea is that itís all about redefining why problems canít be assets.
I sit and set myself up for failure, and failing at that I might just work up the nerve to say (when, now?) I love you.
Since dawn we've all been passengers together,
cool intimates of sound and sight and scent
by chance enrolment on this expedition
across a huge and ill-mapped continent.
We've found at every halt the dialect strange,
the population different in physique,
while unremitting in its disposition
to misinterpret our attempts to speak.
But the engine has stood still all afternoon.
Picture me scribbling this communication
from the metropolis of Midlife-Crisis
in a refreshment room close to the station
before the long climb into the hills,
with their increasingly uncouth facilities,
inclement weather and indifferent service,
exacerbates our urban sensibilities.
No one is in a hurry to continue,
but soon the mutinous and the resigned
will take up their reserved accommodation
and see the lighted platform slide behind,
until their pale reflections in the windows
are all that's left to move the imagination
from rosary-clicks and mantras of great wheels
ticking off time towards its destination.
"LIFE IS GRIMM, BUT NOT LIKE FAIRYTALES."
You know it's a fairytale when the princess arouses
from a hundred years' coma as fresh as a daisy,
moist lips, taut breasts, and cherry nipples.
In real life each time you wake,
your tits are more like chewing gum,
your peachiness more pruney.
I shall take no more naps.
You know it's a fairytale when the princess succumbs to whines from a brute, and at her caress
he turns beautiful and pledges love.
In real life each time you offer your heart
he turns ugly and growls
'This is all your fault - you made me like this."
I shall embrace no more beasts.
You know it's a fairytale when the phoenix arises,
the firebird returns, the ice splinter melts,
and the dancer with red shoes - cuts off her feet?
In my world there will be no such compliance,
no pragmatic submission, no good conduct remission,
I shall paint my toes scarlet and dance like a harlot, and when I'm too old to spin straw to gold,
I shall start a sanctuary for dragons.