July 16, 2014
A mess of enemy light this cold Judean sky,
Illuminating goats and the shit of goats.
Why not just darkness when there’s nothing to see?
Can I not lay down my spear and self and sleep
And dream of that girl I took last night?
She smelled of shit, some peasant’s whelp,
And bleated like a goat, but by Mars
I’d favour her again with Roman love.
June 24, 2014
Come on, seriously. Sing.
Ok, just hum something…
May 27, 2014
Digging holes to put people
in is a hard line of business,
Hard as the earth when the
frost sets in, & harder when
youve no interest in the lies
People tell to make a grave
less cold. The spade gets to
the truth of it: earth is hard.
May 13, 2014
After all this time I dreamed of you tonight.
We walked and talked through alleys of my mind.
And now that I’m awake again I find
The love I had still burning just as bright.
Oh, if only this old world were kind
And love and one stray dream could set things right.
We were together again at long last –
Intoxicating wine after a fast –
Walking the streets of Galway and Belfast…
Ah, my first love, if only dreams could last.
Alas, more years are gone than are to come,
Our once bright future lies in mist behind.
And oh, the things I would have done
If I had not been blind.
How many years, how many miles between us?
And yet you are as close as a dream, so close
You are inside me, my Alcestis, my Hermione –
Except you won’t come back.
I can only dream you into my life.
You live, but time and distance make
You as good as dead to me.
You haunt me, living ghost,
Rattling your chains across my soul.
May 6, 2014
Nameless, that is what I must be.
But even “I” is a name, and even “be”.
Anything which only is,
I must be as anything which only is.
first thought: “which is like this”
second thought: “which is in this way”
third thought: “which only is”,
might be called the final thought
because it was the chosen one,
but that too is a name.
A poem to be called “Final”
Slip your name,
the heavy breath of others on your birth,
the heaviness of your own thoughts, of “your” and “own”.
There will always be thoughts,
But let them rise like bubbles from the deep
And free themselves in empty air, leaving the surface calm,
the water more fully water.
April 22, 2014
Little wonder my words fail
Being but the comet’s tail
April 15, 2014
Fearing winter like an old man now,
Fall’s chill settling in, the evenings dark,
I worry my mind’s furrows with the plow
Of thought, each pale idea dropping like a spark
Whose fire’s burned out. I brood like ashes
In an arctic hearth, clinging to my days
With cold-cracked hands, feeling no more the flashes
Which in youth promised the world — and then delivered this.
But what’s “this”? Just what I think it, nothing else;
All its brute nature’s but my frown or grin.
And now, so late as now, can’t I replace
All raw reactions with deep breath? Can’t I at last begin
To give no heed to prize or peril
And live like old Diogenes in his barrel?
April 1, 2014
When the moribund rebound,
Return upon the merry-go-round;
When the ash is flame again
And flies again on phoenix wing;
When the slumb’ring heads start up,
Eyes arising like to bulbs;
It’s then we say a spring has sprung,
When some ending’s rebegun.
March 11, 2014
Silent clay now is my father
Silence deeper than deaf ears
Clay laying unbodily asunder
A timeless now unknown in years
His is a being of emptiness
Mine less than the dark is mine
A father but of thoughts
February 28, 2014
Charlotte thought her life would be too long
And now she has been dead two-hundred years.
I linger on her words, like still-wet tears
Remaining though the eyes are dry, are gone
Into a place sans sight and sense,
A not-place that her longing never knew,
For though that longed-for peace she linked thereto,
There’s not a piece of it in nothingness,
No way to ease your head when it grows tense
Only with worms, stringing the skull from crack to crack
Where once electric currents ran amok –
And all to make you long for rest, no less.
Ah! if for peace and rest you have a thought,
A void should be avoided and not sought.
February 25, 2014
in praise of pain I raise my pen
(and quickly put it down again)
February 17, 2014
People in love are horrific.
They mince and they prance and they preen.
If you asked them they’d say it’s terrific.
But it’s (rationally speaking) obscene.
And what’s worse is it happens so often.
(Though it never will happen to me).
You see them, from cradle to coffin.
Congregating so damn cheerily.
Whether natured or nurtured this illness.
Has no cure and they’ll love all their lives.
They’ll love all their colouring pencils.
Then they’ll grow up and love all their wives.
Oh I never will love, I swear it.
I’ll avoid it, creep by like a crab.
For whenever I am disappointed.
I point it and stab stab stab stab.
February 4, 2014
We sociopathic poets! Of all of us,
Who would not kill for “Lycidas”?
Milton himself, although a friend to King,
For its dear sake would have him drown again.
(But I don’t ask that tragedy inspire –
It is enough if it lets me retire
Into the peace misfortune brings
When it befalls my family and friends.)
January 28, 2014
Fall, lofty verse! Great Aeschylus is dead!
(An eagle dropped a tortoise on his head.)
January 21, 2014
Some day the boy, a boy no longer,
Will think of him, long dead, his grandfather.
Today they sit enveloped by my sight
In this fog of future. The old man and I
May share these thoughts of teleologic bent,
But the boy has only popcorn and contentment.
His thought lies in the future. But some day
He might remember this café,
Its stillness and the old man’s voice
Telling him things I have no need to write.
Anticipating this place in future thought,
The old man shares his presence with great art,
Each gesture so deliberate, each look
So wise, like the author of some living book,
A scribe of torah, knowing no new testament,
But hoping, praying, willing some fulfillment.
January 11, 2014
Short Saul sat too high a horse
And so the world is worse
December 11, 2013
While the water bore his body up
his mind bored up the drill-hole, past
to the small circle of sky.
Why would the world conform to any concept?
When in a well it is enough just
not to drown –
why dream of being dry?
May 5, 2009
under me, over me, underground streams —
intestines, veins — murmur, purr as i pour
my love in, inch by inch; freckles, star-
like, beneath my back-bound fingers braille their beams
from shifting constellations, skies in waves
reflecting choppily and swallowed; all
vessels greeted greedily, rise and fall,
lungs life-sucked on entry and only grave
and ragged gills surviving, and snapped gulls
in surf awaiting surfacing fish, and
fishermen, awoken by the sun, man-
ing aching boats — naked, skin-thin hulls
putting out upon moon-chastened seas,
rising and falling; bodies, bodies, bodies