Poems

Here are more recent poems, linked to Haunted Evaporations.  You can also look at my archive of poems, essays and music – poems from Broken Glass and the Sea, and the album A Paradise of Shadows, as well as some longer pieces of prose exploring similar themes here

The Ground of True Speech

Each day, a flow of images;
Coffee, street, work, dream.

What is it to be grounded in images?
Images have no ground, but you do.

Carrying the story of your life;
sometimes like a banner,
unfurled on shining lance
sometimes crushed inside
your jacket pocket
like a crumpled old wrapper.

Don’t plan it, this death of yours.

Don’t give it away, like bread to pigeons.

Think of  the candle on a birthday cake,
how as you blow it out, you make a wish.

It’s ok to remember the high walled garden of childhood,
It’s burnt amber maples and sticky pine cones,
smell of mint and terracotta,

how it became a ghostly prison
for a ghost child whose feral shadow
split away
to stalk the street corners and alleyways beyond,
red eyed, in a frozen glare of fear.

And now that both ghost and shadow are just memories,
Find a question that remembers
but doesn’t give them control:

Can you stand on solid ground
and let those two frauds,
illusion and reality
merge into true speech?

I Will Be Your Amulet

(a speech by Hermes Trismagestus, god of  language, magic, theft, business, alchemy,  – the guide of souls, the tricker- “the most human of the gods”)
The path up is the path down…
the way back is the way onward..
black is white and white is black..
the great secret is no secret..

come closer and i will tell you…

Spend your time on this and that
if you want mankind to be a brotherhood
go out and meet your brothers!

if you want to sit in a room and split
words apart with a knife do this…

Just remember when you cross the border
to give your gold to me
and i will be your amulet.

for in the coming time
there will be no distinctions
the shades of the dead
know not the colour they are

so live now.

know your wise heart
your foolish heart
your cunning heart
your evil heart

know them all
that you may give them
to me

when you cross the border

and I will be your amulet.

Yellowing or Citrinitas

Paper yellows
age brings cares,
the wind that blows,
the tangled hair.

She calls me from
her cave of bones
my heart is ash
I walk alone,

She calls me from
a sea of brine
whose salt corrodes
both flesh and time

She calls me from
a sealed glass case
displays her body
frames her face

oh Artemis!
oh carrion!
oh scent of sweet
geranium!

Oh what’s the path
and why the fear
that clings to lungs
like lichen smear?

I have a lamp,
a sack of cards
a box of shadows
broken shards

A cup that’s full
an empty glass
a siren song
a pod to cast

a ghostly garden,
clutch of earth –
so what’s the measure
of my birth?

A cunning trick
this human frame
as silent as
a window pane;

Our world of tricks,
and fractured spells
we treat the sick
yet drain the well.

Yet something’s moving
in the deep
where yellow hides
in sterile sheets

something’s formed
that’s not a thing
that only speaks
when cracked bells ring –

She tells such stories,
silvers tongues,
She stills the bones
of yellow Suns

She passes through
from dew to frost –
she speaks
the 
yellowed paper’s ghost

She calls me
from 
the yellow leaves,
their chocolate spots
their crimson wreaths:

“Approach my love
with love, with care
as light does petals,
as dew does air –

approach my love
like earth, like flame:
bring to me your
yellowed name.”

 

 

The Bridge

Stillness on a bridge at midnight;
all’s paused, as if waiting
for a twig to crack,
or the moon to shine.

Night’s palace,
an unfamiliar darkness
wires the blood
with thin branches.

And perhaps God’s a woman,
who kissed me twice,
once in a crowded
room through the hidden agency

of some mortal’s lips
and again invisible, alone
on this bridge.