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fragments

November 14, 2018

drum roll
fanfare
a high keening vocal
cue the groove

and that’s the groove
and that’s the groove
keep it there, keep it there,
that’s the groove

dozens of fragments of
unwritten songs are
bouncing off the walls of
my padded cell of a brain

and the coloured girls go
padded cell, padded cell

keep it there, keep it there,
that’s the groove

words detach from melodies
and grab for a passing tune
drifting like slow witted balloons
through my padded cell of a brain

and the coloured girls go
padded cell, padded cell

solo: starts as a marimba,
turns gradually into bagpipes

isolated wisps escape
occasionally – someone sneaks in
a cake with a file in it
or a pen
and the wisp is free to roam
where it will

I guess that was the bridge

keep it there, keep it there,
that’s the groove

dozens of fragments of
unwritten songs are
bouncing off the walls of
my padded cell of a brain

and the coloured girls go
padded cell, padded cell
padded cell, padded cell

repeat and fade,
with bagpipes dueling with panpipes into the dusk

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a handful of semi-secular prayers

November 8, 2018

if you are the part of me
or you prompt the part of me
or you encourage the part of me
that draws me on
towards humility and kindness
you are the arms within my arms

we all have our moments of being mistaken
so run it up the flagpole and see if I smile

some days it feels
like our duty
to weep for the world,
only to hear the cry:
no, pilgrim, begin by saving yourself!
women and children first
unless you’re traveling First Class

place the mask firmly over mouth and nose
and breathe normally

remember:
we are more than the sum of our addictions
we are more than the sum of our obsessions

but:
to learn so much
and still have so little
to teach

if you are the part of me
or you urge the part of me
or you inspire the part of me
that draws me on
towards generosity and grace
you are the hands within my hands

on the passing of the father of my friend
she takes the journey to the border,
into grief, into family, into the fields,
where she harvests

and the voices that I savour
mix with the voices that are not coming back
and the voices of the future
mix with the voices that have come and gone

I know how to sing
the psalms from the psalter
of the minds of men;
perhaps I am ready
for the psalms of women
to wash their waves
through my soul

~ and so I opened my voice
and sang her song
from the inside

if you are the part of me
or you grow the part of me
or you nourish the part of me
that draws me on
towards the just and the peaceful
you are the heart within my heart

one from the list

November 8, 2018

so much is said
with just a silhouette;
hard to avoid the sky
and what is carved from it

take one from the list
of delightful gestures,
arranged in some
magic and painful alphabet
to form chronologies,
and lay it next to
the previous one

how many of the moments
that we cram into a day
will linger into the night
last until the morning
weave in and out of weeks
and lodge in our story

yet it is
the fleeting
hung together
that makes up a life –
strung as it is between towers of
the bold tragic triumphs,
the thunderandlightning
operadramas

… pause … glimpse the silhouette …

the heart picks up its burden
– the suitcase of magic and pain –
and gets back on the bus

and then we found

October 26, 2018

and then we found
and then we found
and on finding
we found
that it was enough
to make a start

maybe because you called me
as you called me once before
insisting along
invisible lines
that the time was yours
and you were claiming it

when the best laid plans unfold into
silver and gold and the lightest of blues
and the lightest of oranges
and the autumn sunset light settling lightly
on autumnal trees and gliding into
the pinkest of oranges,
rippled with the drawing night river

when the wetting of feet
when the leaping into faith
when the jump becomes the joy

of the strands, the threads
of ancient memory and
of always knowing

and then we found
the calling and the answer
the echo of the song
the shadow of the dance
the lingering of the taste
the shimmer of the smile
the pulse of the story
as it spins through its arc

headlights only reach
so far into the fog;
still we can remember that fogs lift
like hearts

the source, the spring,
where nothing is wasted
in the urge to the ocean
bearing flashes of promise and delight

call and answer
echo of shadow of lingering smiles

call
answer
echo
shadow
lingering
laughter

and then we found
and then we found

and on finding
we found
that it was enough
to make a start

on song

October 3, 2018

drunk on song
drowning in song
in the family of song

toiling in the vineyards
trampling, pressing,
fermenting and bottling
that the songs may
flow like wine

created in isolation
by alchemy and
spirit guides and
gaffer tape and
condiments

labouring in hope and vain
casting nets and setting traps
picking through the heaps
for the overlooked and the
bypassed

polished and buffed
and then paraded down the catwalk
for public judgement

and when it grows,
when a song lands in
sympathetic soil
and in time the voices rise
in chorus, in uplift,
thickening the air and the blood
the embrace of the crowd

drunk on song
drowning in song
in the family of song

the thunder

September 28, 2018

I hear across the sky
I think I hear
across the darkening sky
the long slow rolling thunder of distant hearts

I hear across the plains
I think I hear
across the shrouded plains
the long slow rolling thunder of distant hearts

I hear across the mountains
I think I hear
across the veiled mountains
the long slow rolling thunder of distant hearts

I hear across the mirror
I think I hear
across the smoky mirror
the long slow rolling thunder of distant hearts

cinnamon toast

September 18, 2018

the beauty of the strange
and the beauty of the unstrange
are forming an orderly queue at my door
the line stretches all the way to
the innocence of cinnamon toast

I left the ceiling on
I left the windows wide
and when I came home
they were still there, shining bright
like the innocence of cinnamon toast

when you think you need more
often you really need less
all I seem to accumulate now
is instruments and paper and memories
and the innocence of cinnamon toast

the beauty of the strange
and the beauty of the unstrange
are forming an orderly queue at my door
the line stretches all the way to
the innocence of cinnamon toast