Caught

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Untitled (Zdzislaw Beksinski, 2000). It reminds me of ‘The Valley of the Dry Bones’.

Caught in mid-air,

mid-step,

midstride,

above the old, Unformed Divide:

You reach out, with punctured hands,

and to draw me into your open side,

You reach out,

and your weeping hands

grasp, snatch,

ensnare my hip:

we dance as One

on the Unformed edge

and I cannot escape your grip.

 

I want to know You.

I want You to talk.

I want You to teach me how to walk,

and I won’t let go ‘til You bless me.

I won’t relent

or tire,

I’ll patch my every open wound

with ink,

and pulp,

and wire.

I won’t let go ‘til You bless me-

 

We fall

from the arcane, Unformed edge,

past every

single

turning

stair,

as angels, mid-flight, observe our fight

and continue trudging through the air.

 

The sword protrudes from your open mouth,

cuts down my Self, my heart, my pride.

Calling me

deeper

into Your side

You ask,

“Don’t these bones speak?

Don’t these bones sing?”

I can’t hear anything.

I can’t hear anything.

I just want to know You.

I just want You to talk.

I want You to teach me how to walk,

and I will not let go

until You bless me.

 

 

 

 

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Reaching for Memory

 

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From Strange Tales #138 (art by Steve Ditko, copyright Marvel)

I reach for Memory,
devouring
the volumes on the shelf,
trying
to scrounge a meal
for my Self

I feel

Sensation   without stimulation

Force          without form

Smell          without source

Noise          without vibration

 

Where are these colours coming from?

Is there a story

waiting

in the changing shade?

Are there connections waiting,

waiting,

wanting to be made?

 

Where are these colours coming from?

Powers? Principalities?

suggested realities?

Powers, Principalities,

and suggested realities,

sit ‘round The Fire

telling stories,

creating Selves,

devouring Memories

from the old bookshelves.

Where are these colours coming from?

Shells

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Raumati Beach, New Zealand (28/10/2018)

I collected shells as memories

of the silent, shrinking shore

and I crushed their lesser brothers

into the sinking floor.

Am I killing time that I could redeem?

I’m wary of the Law

that divides the world

into bodies of blue…

 

These bones begin to thaw.

 

I collected shells as memories

of the Selves that I used to be:

the first was deaf,

the second was mute,

and the third could barely see.

I wanted to bind that trinity,

bind them,

and set them free.

I wanted to redeem the time,

and the Selves that I used to be.

 

I collected shells as memories

of the Golden Silhouette:

its blazing hands

have scared my mind,

but I will not forget

that its long reign is over,

and I am not at war

with all this time that I could redeem…

 

These bones begin to thaw.


This poem can be seen as an optimistic counterpoint to one of my older pieces (Created).

Three Dispatches from Silence

Related image
The Tree of Life (dir. Terence Malick, 2011)

 

I. God

We talk around The Word

by building baroque barricades

on the edges of the Known,

and pouring pails of paint into the pit.

 

II. Ground

The clatter and clank

of burnished bronze feet

create a quaking, comforting rhythm.

 

III. Mind

Every echo

is its own reply:

an aberration

on the surface,

a mutation

of Intention.

 

Street Preacher Blues

Image result for wise blood film
Wise Blood (dir. John Huston, 1979)

 

The arctic ice is melting

But all the camera crews

Are entranced by a hairpiece

With strange and ugly views

The world’s already boilin’

And I’m angry at the news

I’m doubtin’ my salvation

I got street preacher blues

 

The man standing on the corner

Says Christ is comin’ soon

And the sound o’ his arrival

Will be every sinner’s doom

So I stuff my ears with gossip

And bad movie reviews

I can only pray in swear words

I got street preacher blues

 

A girl’s sellin’ Hare Krishna

And the universe within

No blonde-haired western dogma,

And no original sin

She’s charging for the literature

And haggling ensues

I want a student discount

‘cos I got street preacher blues

 

A bright-eyed pair are selling

A new and shiny blend

Of real reincarnation

No beginning

And no end

Their eyes darken ‘round the edges

When I tell them that I refuse

To live on earth forever

With these street preacher blues

 

The charismatics look familiar

They’ve seen me here before

They have their favourite verses

And they’re ready to go to war

Apparently, I’d be walking well

If only I would choose

To accept a new anointing

And wash away street preacher blues

 

I’ve already got Jesus

But I’m told that it’s not enough

Each deity has capital

And their middlemen are tough

They’re territorial by nature

And don’t like opposing views

I think I can hear God laughing

And it melts away my blues

 

November

 

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Untitled (Zadislaw Beksinski, 1978) 

Do you remember

that endless November?

The sun in your window?

The dust in the air?

Do you remember

the march of November,

unhurried, unhindered, unfair?

Time

changes and shifts in your hand,

the Bible waits on the nightstand,

slowly sinking

into the sand.

 

Each morning beginning

with a second,

a challenge,

every hour a quest,

ignored and unseen.

Each day is a battle,

black bruises on blue sky,

and scars on the innocent green.

 

Do you remember

relentless November?

Old calendars burning,

their faces aflame?

“You should be moving,

growing, and improving:

that’s how to  play the game.”

Instead you remember

determined November:

Sitting, resting,

and remaining the same.

 

Time

echoes its way ‘round your head,

leaving ambition for dead,

and spawning submission instead.

 

You remain

indifferent to pleasure and pain:

stoic, stable, insane,

ignoring the plaintive refrain.

You remain

secure inside your own  mind:

by suggestions and shadows defined,

in a strange, familiar bind.

 

Do you remember

the edge of November?

Learning the rhythm,

and learning to cope?

Do you remember

a month called December,

the sudden intrusion of Hope?

 


Like many of my poems, this piece owes a lot to the late, great Leonard Cohen