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on the verge of December

November 30, 2016

on the verge of December
nothing seems so as unlikely
as the wind

what is pushing it,
what is dragging it?
why is it in such a damn hurry,
and so indecisive?

perhaps it is just impatience,
after quiet weeks of
no apparent progress

the wind whips, unseen
except by the trails of
apathetic debris,
and tries to rush me through
my book

standing still and bending
are as relevant
as any other response;
answers are,
after all,
blown stealthily from one place
to another

light

November 29, 2016

across the room
by the stairs
near the table
an eye catches

in the still
under the loud
above the ordinary
a spirit lifted

beneath the deep
beside the truth
beyond the faith
a circle completed

within a minute
without a promise
inside a whisper
the abstract geometry of a patch of light

the gift of flight

November 28, 2016

my apartment is full of
empty cages
with open doors

the beastly beauty
of the birds
is on the wing

there is no capture in love,
there is only release

and so let fly also
my distracted thoughts
of a stranger’s white-knuckled
sunken-eyed
possessive folly

for I seek no dominion
over bird nor beast,
nor harbour ill will

bars and keys are for
music theory,
for when to play
and at what pitch
to fly

Art as prayer

November 26, 2016

I’ve been old
and I’ve been sad
once in a while
art as prayer

I was and I wasn’t
I could and I couldn’t
I did and it was done
art as prayer

the turn of a chin
and the flash of a smile
a skip of a beat
and a twang of a heart

I’ve had my moments
I will have more
I ask for little
art as prayer

another cheek to turn
another bridge to burn
another soft return
art as prayer

you start with your block of stone – some days it’s marble,
some days it’s clay, some days it’s wood – and you tear away
and scrape away, as life gives clues and takes its tax, then
the chipping becomes finer, and slowly the outer self portrait
is sculpted into something that resembles the inside. it’s easy
to lose heart, and to be persuaded towards a smaller nose or
more upper lip, but persistence is rewarded. sometimes it’s
worth closing your ears to hear what’s going on in
the silent world

machete in the spiritual jungle
stars above the spiritual ocean
base camp on the spiritual shore
art as prayer

another pair of patched pants
another change of guitar strings
another smudge on a blank page
art as prayer

bewitched
bothered
bewildered
art as prayer

I just figured out who you are – same character, different
actor – or is it the other way around? That’s why I
expect things from you that are never delivered, that’s
why you surprise me with whims and belligerencies

it will soon be over
and it will be replaced
and it will confuse again
art as prayer

who is the planet
who is the moon
where is the sky
art as prayer

forbidden words
unknown symbols
distant messages
art as prayer

the foolishness of a fool
the forgetfulness of the forgotten
the restlessness of the rest
art as prayer

falling off the path
stumbling home
sticks and stones
art as prayer

everything is preparation, so allow it to be. you’re doing fine,
keep up the good work. we are all cursed, blessed, and
neither cursed nor blessed. would you trade it all for
a boxful of hope?

your happiness
and my happiness
may not be the same
art as prayer

where do we come from?
from our childhood
over the horizon, under the rainbow
art as prayer

Narcissus is no longer a myth. we have fallen in love
with our own cleverness and gaze at ourselves in abject
wonder. no longer intent with what’s going on, we must
capture it to validate its importance, lest we forget what
it looked like, that which we did not see, but only captured

it sounded like a sigh
but of course I could not hear it
it sounded like a sigh
art as prayer

poets in coal mines
eyeglasses for faces even
verifying bona fides
art as prayer

unrequited paradox
universe under strobe
vulcanised aether
art as prayer

another deceptive dimension
brings partial illumination
to haggard perception
art as prayer

Sisyphus is no longer a myth. we have fallen in love
with our endless scurrying under an avalanche of
debts and demands, the gods of CPI and GDP.
claustrophobia incarnate. rebellion commoditised,
trapped in thought experiments. you are your own
grave digger, renting the bloody shovel. your good
name is your signature, used as a stick to beat you
with. they told you what to want, and blessed you
with your cardboard, piss-soaked hamster wheel.
good luck. maybe you’ll lose your sense of smell

golden chaos
silver magic
the bronze age
art as prayer

I do not always get to choose
when my tears are brought on show
today they were and I had to explain
my happy sadness, or
sad happiness
art as prayer

hosannah
hineni
hallelujah
art as prayer

the autumnal death of a poet
the search for the right questions
all of this poem is for you, LC
art as prayer
 

centre

November 24, 2016

the shuddering,
the safe submission,
the surrender of self into
the centre of a circle
of skin and bone
of light and dark,
where the learning of
arts and crafts and
mystical sciences
flourishes,
and legends are born
and myths are made
and temperatures are taken
and journey are undertaken
and fears are overtaken
and the past is forsaken

dance until the music stops,
dance until there is no more dance,
dance until dance is no more,
until there is only shuddering,
and then only not shuddering,
and then only nothing

the muscular arms of paradise

November 23, 2016

the catch in the throat of the strong
in the face of sweetness,
that unlocking of memory
the return to the real moments
when the ache is gone, so briefly

strange for it to happen on a Monday,
but on reflection it is as likely as
rain or an electricity bill or a
fly in an almost empty glass of wine

we think of karma when we feel we are
being rewarded or punished,
not when lolling in ennui or sloth

it doesn’t intuitively feel linked
to inspiration or its lack,
to foresight or its lack,
to passion or its lack

such things are tidal,
even paradise must have tides,
aches and sloth,
its muscular arms must tire,
else one might indeed forget
what paradise is for: an understanding

Friday afternoon beers

November 18, 2016

draughts in the dawdling,
darkening dusk
illuminations of all sorts
bubbling forth
with neon complicity

the re-unfolding of
a sharing of minds
where vacuums are
undone and
honesties acknowledged

where hopes are
expressed and
given a testing
out in the oxygen

because seldom does
such a shining
shine,
because seldom does
such an understanding
live