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inadvertent ornithology

August 9, 2018

arbitrary heavens and necessary hells
I see they’re offering me premium bollocks again
this time at a discount rate
slipping between layers of passing night ships
in the shadows, still,
while shambles shamble by

should it be warpaint on my brush
flicking through the breezes of change
across the swamp of time

sometimes we stare our demons down
and sometimes we turn our backs
and let the demons get on and ride us
across the plains into the setting sun
birds of ill omen hovering
birds of good omen heading back to the nest

still betting my best that there’s
a way out of humanity’s collective mess
it can be a long slow passage in despair

to make and then destroy is the way of the world
blah blah blah, as the wise one said
but excuse me, I’ve got a bird to catch

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whoever whatever

June 29, 2018

I no longer plead innocent
now I plead insane

what do we know so far?
precious little, precious little

we only try to eat soap once
but other things take many lessons

recent studies show
that we pay a lot of attention
to recent studies
especially the ones that support our prejudices

we choose what to notice
indeed it’s one of the few choices
we have left

I no longer plead innocent
now I plead insane

and the result of the boldness is to
create new things in the world
that were not there before

when we stride like Johnny Appleseed
towards an unknown abundant future
that we will never see

I no longer plead innocent
now I plead insane

to be enslaved by our tools
is nothing new,
but what are we building?
at least we should know what we’re building

whoever she was
whatever she wanted
that was the thing that I could not do

but I no longer plead innocent
now I plead insane

 

when the horizon hides

June 8, 2018

so this is to be
a time of letting go
and setting adrift
of things falling apart
and abandonments

alternating boldness and limpness
shallow breathing and deep sleep
upheavals and whispers

doubts of confidence
and confidence in doubt
targets moving
and encircling
and snarling

things fall over
things fall down
things break
things stretch and then break
and then fall over

demons become
barbarians at the gate
banging on the doors
and rattling the windows

when the horizon hides
behind the haze
and its magnetic pull
no longer reaches the
innermost heart

so this is to be
a time of waiting
for the horizon to clear
for the tiny hopping birds
to return to the courtyard
and the days to begin with a smile

 

you are seen, you are not gone

May 31, 2018

there you are hiding
in the cracks and the corners,
in foreheads and shoes
and bursts of speech and
similar dresses

woven into the
landscape,
caressed into warm life
by someone’s laughter,
someone else’s sobs

you are seen
you are not gone

accumulating in
scraps of songs,
smouldering in cigarettes and
swimming in half empty glasses of wine
around closing time

whispering through dreams
dancing in the shadow of dancers
and the silhouette of photographs
in bonds of blood and melody
and ferocity of drum

and in the rain,
the emphatic rain,
again the rain
falling to earth
you are seen
you are not gone

reach

May 27, 2018

and when we reach
and rejoice in the reaching
action and object
stretch and grasp
always reaching
and never reaching

and when we reach
and rejoice in the reaching
the action as important
as the object
always reaching
and never reaching

and when we reach for each other
and when we reach each other
and we are extended because
there is more now between us
than there was before the reach

always reaching
and never reaching
when we reach
and rejoice in the reaching

 

bygone talismans

May 25, 2018

I wonder what became of those
bygone talismans of
forestalled good luck,
carried or placed or hung,
that could not overcome
the unlimbed lameness,
the star crossed inevitabilities
from stumbledacross leaps of faith
into mismatched three-legged races

in what boxes of archeological detritus
— I who can throw so little away —
do they now sit, inert and robbed
of their glamorous charm by the
passing of time and the
exposure of their false promises
of good fortune
justaroundthecorner

and what comes of
the abandoned hopes themselves?
sometimes I think they wander
the windy moors
of our collapsed memories
stalking us and waiting for
a weak spot to reappear

few of us are lucky enough
to find ourselves in a story
where we can be a hero
like in the films,
but some of us
are lucky enough
to make the threelegged race work
with or without talismanic assistance

 

to open hearts

May 9, 2018

to open hearts
with lullaby runners
and saintly socks
and sainted songs

with moving parts
and roaming bones
and strolling homes

walk through the jungle
step by step
one jungle at a time
if you’re in luck

to open hearts
with gilded ashes
and april showers
and rising greens

with found objects
and gathered seeds
and sprinkled thoughts

walk through the jungle
step by step
one jungle at a time
if you’re in luck

to open hearts
with hurricane smiles
and blue stars
and children’s games

with softened
and smoothed
and rested

with loosened
and caressed

with time