Poem: Eliza and the Sea

eliza

Let me tell you a tale of the worlds

 *

She sat upon the jagged rocks,

The sea surged about her –

They were her allies – her closest

Friends – her sources of strength and power

 *

The spray, the mist, the foam, the

Bladderwrack, the sunken submarines,

And great triumphal arches of gored

Mountain sides

*

She sat upon the rocks.

And surged along with the surge

*

II.

Let me tell you a tale of the worlds

There is the Overworld

And the Underworld

And within these two concentric circles,

All things overlap, interpenetrate, unite,

And fight, so that, from the One, comes

Two, and from the Two, comes

Many

 *

III.

She sat upon the rocks,

The mist, the spray – all hers first –

She sat upon the rocks

*

She knew she would have to

Go out to sea any day now. The

Gulls in all their sky-ambling circularity

Of prophesy; every strident laugh, a

Signal of an unforgettable voyage, already

Forgotten, memorized by the sea, until it

Swallows

*

“Embark! Embark!” the winds call,

And the anchors drop. “Embark! Embark!”

Cry the clouds. They are hungry with thunder,

The sea populated with embryonic waves, that

Paint the jagged curves of Chaos’s sweet

Surface.

*

“I am Captain Eliza O’Malley,” she

Said in consideration of herself. “I am

The Greatest Stowaway of my Age. I was

Forbidden entry into this world by The Lady

Of the Lake. But, I am The Lady of the Sea!

The shipwrecks are all a-search for me,

But they will never find me.”

*

IV.

So, it is possible to be a feast

For all things:

To keep a foot in one world –

A webbed toe in another

 *

Christ will wash your foot in one world,

Satan will manicure your toes with his tongue

In another;

Then they will trade places,

For they are both the same

*

V.

Eliza O’Malley was the Captain

Of her ship. She would sleep all

Night in the beak of storms – in the

Gills of stentorian leviathan, struggling

To sleep in the deeps

*

She had killed all her family,

And left them behind her,

But families are just ghosts out here,

And everybody must kill a ghost,

Before they go out to sea

*

Eliza sang her song:

“If those waves were ladders

That snaked downwards instead of

Upwards, how fast would I have to be

For them to appear statuesque and

Still? A typhoon is a portal – the swilling

Of seawater in Neptune’s jaws, before he

Turns off the faucet of time. I have read of The

Esquimaux – how their seafaring shamans

Would dive to the bottom of the ocean,

To brush the knots in Sedna’s locks.

*

“But who will unleash the locks

In my own hairs? Can’t you see how

Every strand interlinks with a cloud;

Every cloud interlinks with a station;

And every station interlinks with a

World? These are all just different

Frequencies, my dear. They shift and

They slide, and oil the tide, of the swift’s

Wings, in blackness, beside,

*

“So, world-strewn is my hair.

But, if braided, tressed, and spun

Out for miles, these hairs and

Fibrils would seem like nothing.

 I would raise my arms up to the

Sky – the sky would lower its arms

To me – for every lass must marry

The Sky, afore she go to sea!”

*

V.

Eliza wrote this story by a lantern,

A tender flame – we call it ‘a sun’

In our universe – but it is but the reflection

From the window of a moving train in hers

*

A black shadow with blue and crimson eyes

Climbed into the galley of her ship where she

Kept her quarters:

*

“What do you do, Eliza?” he asked her.

“Is this your life: just to roam and be

Roamed?”

*

“Isn’t it everyone’s?” Eliza shouted

Back defiantly, slamming down her

Gin. “How can you escape the wanderlust

Of ages? The nautical lust to want to be

On the other side of the porthole? To

Lash yourself to the pounding heart

Of every tide? To set sail astride the stars,

And dip your feet into the udders of galaxies,

Until you are completely stranded in the isometry

Of time’s restless motions?”

*

“But you are all alone,” the shadow

Said softly. “Where are the people in

Your life? Where are you friends? Where

Are all the smiling eyes that will nestle

Kindly upon the words you’ve written

In these pages?”

 *

“I AM THE SEA!” Spake Eliza.

And she said it with such power,

That no one would dare doubt her.

“You maggoty false-breed! You trifling

Piece of spume! You tornado squeezing

Out of the flatulent arse of time! How

Dare you drift into my quarters, with your

Insinuating words, and half-spun slogans,

And question my worth for the world?!

I am The Lady of the Sea!

And you would all be nothing

Without me.”

 *

The shadow smiled at his case.

And disappeared once again into the dark.

*

VI.

Eliza shuddered at the shadow’s words.

She had flashbacks of late nights and drunken

Mornings; of climbing into bed with sweaty breasts,

Getting lost in the limbs of hairy men, the organic

Machinery of sex, the hidden ocean within, disembarking

On crystal caverns, of groans and moans echoing through

Coves, sea-shanties of sex, that pounce of bedsprings,

Reopening ancient treasure chests, sealed, but never

Forgotten.

*

She could remember all those things,

Because the sea never forgets –

It just goes on, remembering and

Forgetting, with the dementia and

Hypermnesia of every uncertain

Wave –

*

Sea Log: Autumn, Winter, January,

September, 1972, 1665 – the shadows

Did not come again today. But I can still

Feel his judgement. What am I doing so

Wrong? I have never experienced anything

But affirmation before. I go out

Onto the decks, and I am applauded

By every albatross. The clouds come to

Me in fetters to beg pardon for stealing

My sunshine away. But I curse the sun!

The sea is the sun’s grave! And I will

Eat his light into my belly, as sure as

What’s made beest unmade!”

(But the judgement still hung heavy about her)

*

“So, you want me to go back to land, do

Ye? To seek out people? Well, I tell ye,

There be no people out there! All those

Land-lubbers are just ghosts. You can walk

Through all their cities and see nothing but

Ruins.

*

“But, out here, everything is emergent.

There are no ruins. The coral reefs are

Like ancient cathedrals, robed in sand,

Rebuilt every day by the waves’ secret

Masons.”

*

But, then back to 1772,

Jocosely addressing her pirate crew:

*

I tell ye, boys, there be barnacles

Upon my breasts, as sure as there’s

Cockles in my larder! Let the canons

Spell out incipient destruction, and

I’ll tell you how I lay there . . .”

FLASHFORWARD

 *

And, she still lays there like

That, thus-wise, with the bladderwrack

Rising up around her, a constriction of

Seaweed charming her into paralysis

Every night, searing her body in visions

So vivid, they would frighten the giant

Squids of the deep

*

“I tell you – I LOVE THE SEA!”

She shrilled into her writing desk.

“But, when I die, will the sea mourn

Me? Will it attend my funeral? Will

It weep for me? Or has the sea e’er

Been weeping? It is for this that it

Beest so wet?

 *

“I have never known a dry moment

In my life. When you used to

Come towards me, Harry, and towel

Me down, how I used to scream! Don’t

Divest me of the last vestiges of my partner!

It was bad enough living in a house with you,

And not feeling the ground swell and rock

Beneath me, except when we were in bed,

Harry, my dear – I could really feel the

Curtains decked with spray then! Oh, to be

Alive and in your arms! And the arms of the

Sea! I could never tell you apart from the sea,

My Harry. So, when I was away, sailing, for

Months on end, for years, for centuries, it

Was as though I was sailing upon you, my

Harry, my love . . .

 *

“But you land-lubbers are such ghosts!

Such ghosts, such ghosts, such ghosts!”

*

VII.

And so, sometimes we sail between two

Worlds; not knowing if we ever meet –

Maybe just a sudden chill – a flash of colour –

A trace of electric paint in the air.

*

Those are the only signals we

Might have now – no longer the

Lapping and laughing of gulls and

Sea

*

But we still love you, Eliza.

And we will bury you with

All your books and candles,

Until God finally rebuilds

The Sea

 

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Poem: The Last Days of John Keats

john-keats

I used to breathe so much

Easier before I fell in love;

Now my chest is a tourniquet,

Constricting around me, fighting

For every breath – so every inspiration

And expiration, is my Atlantean load to

Bear

 

II.

Ah, Keats, how I have lived and

Died alongside you! Sailing abroad,

In grief, knowing, your love, you would

Ne’er again meet – near choking on the

Blood of your own ruptured lungs – reading

Of it, I, too, could feel your blood, swelling

In my throat – and, all gone! – Never to

Write another poem – a cancelled stanza – no

Swansong – no parting cadenza – fits and starts

Charmed from a calm, lucid, mind; volcanizing

Passions to nerves unkind – Brother John –

I love you! Your veins are the veins that pump

This bloody man into the future – you feared

For your posterity – but your heart is found

Immortal in me. Those last days in Italy; your

Tubercular madness – catastrophic sadness –

Blood phlebotomized from a body, already

Bleeding – but on the milk of

Eternal life, you would soon be

Feeding

 

III.

You begged Severn to kill

You – to give you a bottle of

Laudanum, so your suffering –

Your irreversible suffering –

Would not be prolonged; but

As a friend, and Christian, he

Refused to allow you this deed

To do – so, from suicide – the luxury

Of the impatient – you were denied –

But why keep alive a posthumous man,

Who has already prophesied the end of

His span?

 

IV.

But, you were made of better

Stuff, John; you strode calmly into

That blistering light of pain, so that

Future generations and artists, would

Have your bravery to inspire us – and

You have inspired me, John – like

You, I can already feel the daisies

Growing upon me – and I write out

My heart’s transcript in poetry – striving

To mine from this vessel’s adamantine

Core – that imperishable truth hid in

Mercurial ore – so that future generations,

And the ones of my own, might read the

Hieroglyphs inscribed on my bones; that

Call out “For Love! Everybody to redeem!

A helping hand! A friend in need!”

 

V.

And John, I do want to be as

Great as you; as immortal as

You – but can I at least live a little

Longer than you? – Be a little luckier

In love than you? I know you had your

Fanny Brawne – with jealous rage, so oft,

She left you adorned – but was it not only

When your death warrant was written, that

Your vomited blood repainted this flirt as

Love-sick and smitten? Always writing you

A note to keep under your head, as you snuggled,

Moribund, in your sick patient bed – oh, isn’t it

Easier to commit, when you know, punctual death,

Has imposed a time limit, to the extent

Of our affection, to those that live, who

Would be happy to milk all the love we

E’er can give?

 

VI.

And, in my most morbid moments,

I ask myself – would I be willing to

Forsake my health, if just a few moments

With you were granted; to finally utter the words

With which I’ve so long been enchanted? To tell

You ‘I love you,’ and hear you say the same; though

My body were in death throes, I would feel

No pain – to be loved by you, would I sacrifice

Aught else – my blood, my heartbeat, my breath,

My health? Were it not unkind to have you

Watch me die – so from this feeble sparrow,

An eagle could fly . . .

 

VII.

But, if you will love me,

You must love me on your

Own, whilst there is breath in

My lungs, and flesh on my

Bones

 VIII.

So, I love you, my brother –

My brother, John Keats –

And one day, in heaven, our

Two souls will meet – and we

Will both know, at last, how

Our hearts to utter, without,

Inexorably, having

To Suffer

 

Poem: House of Flesh

orvieto4

I really do wish there was

Someone who could help me;

Some emotional navigator who

Could orient me through these endless

Avenues of Pain. I am completely

Underworlded – I’ve been stuck here

So long I feel that I should at least have

Squatter’s Rights. Or a natty little office

On which my name can be bleedingly inscribed.

I do not feel I can win or lose in this situation;

I am introduced to a cathedral of flames –

Infernal masonry braided with the pulsating

Flesh of the living – the mortified skin of

Sufferer, upon sufferer,

Upon sufferer.

 

II.

Someone once wrote that the regions

Of hell are infinitely larger than any

Enlightened Buddha Land. Is this the

Truth? Is Heaven so claustrophobic?

Isn’t it just one of the effective illusions

Of Hell to make it seem like it will never

End?

When you’re in Hell, you’re constantly

Looking for the end, for the exit, for

The outside, for release – for

Some alarming mystificator

Who claims to know the way to

Peace. But, in Paradise, such self-

Conscious time has met its

Demise – everything is bornless

And Impaled upon an eternal moment

That can never be vanquished or

Deposed.

 

III.

I look to my pen as the

Key to my escaping:

And yet, to keep on

Writing, I must keep on

Suffering: write – suffer –

Write – suffer – until ‘writer’

Becomes synonymous with

‘Sufferer’ – a computational

System – a DNA strand of

Double helices, intertwining

Lover with

Non-lover.

 

IV.

So, in last night’s dreams,

I was attacked by pigs –

The envoys of Vajravarahi –

Sows of greed who lived in

Houses of Rotting Meat –

Oh, what a feat, if they were

To add my offal to that ungainly

Collection – I would mount an

Insurrection – If I were to die,

As usual, my soul would be

Raging against itself: one part

Of me, traumatized, yet relieved

To have been reprieved from the

Constant contortions of life, would

Shout: “Don’t ever make me go back again!

Thank goodness that’s over!”

Thus throwing himself in the arms of

His merciful Cosmic Mother – while,

The Other Part, crazy, excitable, restless,

Selfless, and Fearless, would rebel against

My pain-avoidance instinct, and yell:

“What’s the hold up?! Let’s get this show

On the road! I’m not done with Earth, yet –

Give me a million, a billion, a trillion more

Lives, and I’ll still be thirsting for more!

For more blood and war, and sex, and death,

And the inevitable loss of breath – give it –

Give it to me! Pain and tumultuous

Experience by the gallons! Serve it

To me in flagons! And I’ll drink every

Last one until this whole rotten whore

House is out of business!” – but that

Is the interminable conflict: that in order

To take away all the suffering of the world,

I must take it upon myself – be a one-man

Waking-Hell – a Silent Christ – A mother,

Whom, in childbirth is willing to sacrifice,

Her life, for the parturition of a new Horus –

A new Messiah –

A New Throne

 

V.

But, I do not feel I am

Asking for much: to be a

Teacher for those that wish

To be taught – and at least

A cheering presence to those

Who do not. I am quite happy

To bear the suffering of all

Of these. I just wish for one

Little help-meet; one little

Angel of Flesh, with whom

I could lovingly intermesh.

I Crave Touch. Not False-Touch –

But True Touch – a truly loving

Touch that is capable of permeating

These malicious miles of malevolent

Membranes we perfunctorily refer

To as ‘Skin.’ A within! A within! –

Someone who knows how to swim

Through this dark lake of isolated

Suffering that surrounds me; who can

Reach that island – that lonely island

That is always at the centre of myself;

Where I sit, and weep, and rock myself

To sleep, contracting myself into a

Woodlouse creep, until I find repose

In sweet, sweet

Nothing

VI.

Oh, that someone would push

Away the myriad boulders occluding

The entrance to my heart, and make

Of me a romantic Lazarus!

But, I cannot ask anybody to do that.

So I will carry on, wandering in

Solitude, until at last, this

“Too solid body’ is added to –

That House of Flesh.

 

 

Poem: The Dying Days of a Butterfly Heart

vibrant-dying-butterfly-1423773557_b

To love is to suffer,

And to suffer is to love.

The moments that are most

Precious, instructive, beautiful, are

Those in which you’re in an enormous

Amount of pain, and there’s nothing you

Can really do about it,

Except endure it.

Things are turning sour –

A heart that thought it had found its

Portal to liberty, is now only more

Tightly bound up in chains.

I have done everything –

I have raved, railed, prayed,

Forced myself to act depraved –

But it cannot be helped –

When you push a boulder up a hill,

It’s only a matter of time, before it

Must come back down, to crush you

Again. My only comfort is to think:

“It will not always be like this.” And

When I am next happy, and everything

Seems to be flowing true, my main source

Of terror will be to know: “It will not

Always be like this.”

Perhaps, like a mountain, I am

Best viewed from a distance:

When you see me from afar,

I can conjure up visions of majestic

Splendours; of omens, dreams, prophecies

Sublime – but, up close, all of this

Beauteous romanticism dissolves,

And one is faced with the harsh realities,

Of how hard I would be to climb.

So, keep away from me! I think

I would rather be loved as a fantasy,

Than rejected as a reality. At least,

That way, I could still content

Myself on rainy days with the

Potency of romances

That will never be.

I have tried to be abominably

Reckless; yet I am still so

Suffocatingly cautious in

All my actions – passion, indeed,

Is not my master – just a lover,

To whom, I would like to surrender,

Were it not that Reason keeps me

Tied up and bound. I guess the jury is

Out – either I cannot live up to the

Fantasies I inspire, or those fantasies

Simply aren’t as pleasing to their attendants,

Once they begin to exist. So what of it?

Pinioned between fantasy and

Factuality, I find I have little space

In which to move amongst my friendships

With others.

But, I cannot go back up the mountain –

I have committed myself to these Cardiac

Rampages – I have experienced more pain

Through this approach, yet also infinitely

More life – and for this treasury, I will

Suffer the more, like a flaming man, who,

On seizing coins of gold, has them melt

To molten lava in his hands.

In another time, I might have

Been born as a king – Lord knows I have

Enough wefts of hair to do a good King

Charles II. And, yet, I find myself, an

Untouchable pauper – a chimney sweep

Whose job it is,

To clean the anus of the

World.

What is so wrong with me?

Is my skin poisonous?

Is my aura made of flames?

Am I a nuclear, radioactive disaster,

That cannot be approached, without

The suitable safety wear?

Because you certainly make me

Feel that way – like a monster, a

Beast, a ravening grotesque; when I

Am actually the most gentle of creatures.

I know my own hands are equally stained

With guilt – few people have been allowed

Smooth ingress into this most encaged of

Hearts. I am not a family man – far from

It – I am a beast – a wild man of the

Woods – a vampire – a raven alone in

The Lovecraftian hills – a harbinger of

The apocalypse, from whom death and

Misery spills. Oh, pestilent Reuben!

Reuben in chains! Let’s dash our brains,

And let these interminable trials be finished –

These poems are endless, because my

Grief is endless – my pain has been saved up

For twenty-six years, and is ready to be

Hideously cashed-in. Well, here it is!

Here’s the money! Here’s the wealth of

My woes; my precious savings from

Unhappier days – so let’s make it rain!

Feed off the fruit of my rotten harvest –

Binge on the pestilence wrought by these

Years of famine, which, hidden behind the

Happy illusions of commerce, and the bland

Fatuity of customer service, has been slowly

Eating us into woeful seasons of

Starvation, that beleaguer us as

Affably as a cheerful pack of

Locusts.

II.

I shall take William S. Burroughs’

Naked Lunch as my role model; my

Sacred scripture of vented insanity.

After years in Algiers, of churning out

Page after page of satirical, outrageous

Filth, they exclaimed that you were

Completely changed – you emerged from

Out of these tapestries of obscenity, as

An enlightened angel – having purged

Yourself of years of heroin guilt, after

Shooting your unhappy wife, you

Emerged renewed, purified –

Energized.

I hope to write my way

To such a transcendent state;

That, by chasing the tides of these

Insane pages, I will reach the mountain,

I so desperately ran from, to happily

Return again. What will I witness

This time around? What, from this

Re-imbued vantage point, this

Enlightened eyrie, will christen my

Eyes, with the heavy wisdom of

Experience?

III.

So, for now, I still have a

Butterfly Heart – it beats against

The myocardial chasms of these

Skeletal chains, and finds itself inflamed,

By the same humid confines, it needs

To survive.

What did I do to conjure up

Your distaste? To brook your

Repulsion? I know the mistake

I made – to seek, to hope,

To love, to praise –

These are the crimes I

Committed, for which I

Earnestly wish to be acquitted.

Can I find the phoenix in the ashes

Of our relationship? Can I find the pure

White feather of a murdered bird,

That was lucky enough to be buried

In the sky? I don’t know.

IV.

This morning, just such a feather

Happened to fall from the sky,

And land upon the veranda at

The house where I was staying.

But, I invested no hopes in it:

I am sick of omens, of portents,

Of astrology, of tarot card readings,

That never promise me anything,

Except more and more luxurious

Palaces of pain, in which to treasure

My myriad grievances.

V.

Yet, still, foolishly, I had the absurdity,

To wish the craziest of wishes, when on

My left arm, a tropical butterfly landed.

Espying its cinnabar wings, I wished an

Incredibly selfish wish – a wish that scoffed

In the face of reality, like a doctor who offers

A patient a bill of clear health, when, within

The cosmos of their malignant cancer, all

The symptoms of death are aligned.

VI.

So, gone are my romances, my dreams,

My chances – no savioress,

No wife to wed, will I.

So, thank you, optimistic friends,

Who offered me encouragements,

That I might somehow achieve such

A grotesque prophecy.

I will drink to your good health –

Knowing it can only be achieved, by

The ruination of my own. Do you

Not perceive that this is my sacrifice?

My philosophical farce of humanity,

I use to disguise, all the hope I wish to give

To you? When I sing, I sing for

You; when I write, I write for

You; when I make an ass of

Myself, I do so for you; when

I almost kill myself, my precarious

Non-corpse is dedicated to you; when

I dance like a madman, I dance for

You; when I sit down in placidity, it

Is for you – all the erratic phenomena

Of my crazy existence, is for all the

World to sink its teeth into.

So, eat up, my friends! Feast

Upon this body, I put on,

Just for you! Take advantage

Of it while you can, for it

Will not abide here long;

And it may be a mayhem of roving

Generations, before I deign to re-appear

Again.

VII.

So, may I be like you, great guru,

Chogyam Trungpa – may I be blessed

With your fearless authenticity, and be

Willing to labour exclusively for the

Welfare of all sentient beings, with

Absolutely no concern for my own.

May your heart be my heart; your truth,

My truth; your selflessness, my selflessness;

Your attainment, my attainment; your

Drunkenness, my drunkenness – may your

Folly be my folly. And, blessed with the

Crisis of your divine presence, perhaps

I will find, the wind in the sails, I

Need to blow me through these

Hard times?

VIII.

But I will not just invoke

You, but all the gods I know –

Ekajati, Isis, Diana, sweet

Mother Tara, Kurukulla,

Mahakala, Padmasambhava,

Yeshe Tsogyal, Vajrayogini,

Yamantaka, Medicine Buddha,

Ursula – Yidams aplenty! Yidams

Galore! As you won’t help me

Attain what my heart most desires,

Won’t you please give me the stoic

Strength to refine Wisdom out of the

Alchemical Lead – this lapis – this

Stone of Pain? Won’t you bless me

With all the opportunity and charisma

I need to be an inspiration to others?

In the same way that I can study the lives

Of John Keats and William Blake, and be

Benefited thereby; I pray that, in future

Times, people will be able to study my

Life and Works, and, in these wild and

Chaotic pages, they will find some

Encouragement, some wisdom,

Some happiness, some enlightenment;

Something to sustain them, undefeated,

Through the aching years of pain.

IX.

But, tomorrow, I will shave –

I have grown sick of looking

At my face – a face I no longer

Love – I do not see a man,

Anymore – only an Archetype,

A prophet, a joke, and an

Apocalypse – and I hate it,

I hate it, I hate it.

Fuck you, Holy Man, with

Your tranquil eyes, and your

Serene expression! You bloody,

Ridiculous lunatic! You serpent!

You entrail! You waste of flesh!

I am sick of you. I am sick of your

Facial hair, your charm, your

Perfect poise of composure –

I fucking hate it all. You’re just

A big phony – when did you ever

Tell the truth in your entire life?

Only within the prison of these

Poems – the Alcatraz; the Bastille of

These pages. That is the honest truth –

Otherwise, you are a liar, a charlatan,

A fraudster, a conman. So, why can’t

You just be yourself? Because that self

Is just a hideous delusion. The only

Parts of myself that seem to be

Undying and eternal, are my Pain,

My Madness, and My love – throughout

My entire life, these are the only things,

That never seemed to go away. And yet,

If it is this triumvirate that I feel most

Inside myself, then why don’t I ever

Show it? How can I?! How can I

Show as much as that?! I would

Have to be locked up! Who can

Sum up the entirety of the ocean,

With a single bat of the eye? If

You want to see the complete Milky

Way, you would have to travel for

A long, long time, before your external

Vantage point would ever good enough.

So, I cannot show you it: I can only write it –

Just a coward with a pen – a

Tragedian with a shell – a janitor

Employed at a lunatic asylum, who

Never intends to clean for the entire of

His life.

X.

So, butterfly heart, remember –

Though you might be bright;

Though you might be beautiful –

You are still only a butterfly,

And it is only a matter of weeks,

Before you must die. So, die

As best you can – and, maybe,

Once you’ve died that most unhappy

Of deaths, you can find comfort

In the chrysalis, that shuttled you to

Your butterfly heart.

 

Poem: The Incorruptible Child

inner child art play

So, why did I kill the tramp?

Because I was sick of being a Wise

Old Man – I fucking hate it – I feel

The world loves me more,

And comes closer to me,

When it sees I am just

A child – when it remembers

I am harmless and fragile.

But I am still strong. I am as strong

As a wave that, after it crashes, always

Regroups again. So, one of my best friends

Regales me with outlandish tales of

Prostitutes and brothels; whilst I nauseate

Him equally by drinking menstrual blood,

As easily as cognac, right in front of his face –

It improves my creative functions, I like to tell him –

And he ran away, screaming and laughing, as

We danced and sang at a three day festival,

Littered with High Tragedy and Drama –

Where my heart took a holiday from its

Perpetual sickness, to be wound and strung

Around a belated Maypole, of crying children,

And domestic abuse – of friendships regained;

New ones claimed, as I strove to keep peace,

Between titanic beasts, who hurled mountain

Ranges, beer cans, and thunder – I made no

Blunder: I was the soother of Hearts;

The tyrant of love – the terroriser of

Unfinished blows – but I kept on my clothes,

Even as I dressed as a prophet, bathed in fast

Food, and knelt before the anti-nutritional

Goddess, who can eject condiments from her

Breasts; English Mustard from the right; French

From her left – in the equator of her sternum,

Her mammalian Mercator map, we danced

And sang again – I burrowed myself in hair

That curled itself in sacred wefts; a brief

Beacon of comfort, in an ocean of touch.

I enjoyed the butterfly farm – my hole in

One – knocking satellites out of the sky,

So that my signal’s kingdom would

Come.

 

II.

But, stranger symptoms still

Persist. When caught in the potholes

Of life’s road, and blessed with the gifts

Of self-loathing and disrepair – in the

Coliseum of my brain, I can hear people

Chanting my name, in frantic throngs; and

I know not whence they come – what is this

Transmitted felicity? Are you trying to praise

Me? – Or are you trying to kill me?

Could it be that I am not as bereft as

I think, and that my name is as much a

Mantra to you, as I have made yours

Mine?

Then let us praise this plain-

Chant of name! Let’s form a choir

Of love for one another, with whips,

And chains, and bones.

 

III.

So, friends beguiled – I

Will remain your child –

You can hold my hand, and

Look on me as an object of

Innocent beauty; while other

Adults fuck and fight and commit

Crimes against the light of their

Immortal natures; that pushes pins

Into the eyes, unsinned, of their unspoilt,

Incorruptible children.

I have been corrupted many times –

Mostly by fears and fashionable ideas –

And yet, I always come back to snow –

I always return to the purest of centres,

That longs to heal and hug every hurting

Soul.

I saw my anxious friend –

I held his chest in the palm of my

Hand, and brought his racing heart

Beat, down to a mellower speed;

To another, I offered the lifeboat of

My arms, and gave her the buoyancy

Of my stoic good cheer, so that she wouldn’t

Sink into

Despair.

 

IV.

And now, after taking off my

Liquor-soaked clothes, and

Spending the night snuggled

Between a goddess, and a holier

God than I – I really felt like I

Had shaved my blues away.

Am I, again, that sweet child?

That bride of life I used to be?

I wear the world on the crown

Of my smile,

And am grateful,

Grateful,

Grateful,

That there are

People,

Who want to

Touch

Me

 

Poem: Melancholy Sleeping

Hyperion.jpg

Sometimes Melancholy sleeps;

Sometimes that lead-hearted beast

Betakes himself to his torporous chambers

To sleep his misery away – but

The Melancholy is not to be slept

Off – only revised, replenished, and re-chastened,

To hasten upon our world again –

This is the world of Hyperion,

Where the venomous solarity of the sun

Keeps us jocund, waxing and waning

Along with the shallow and profound,

As the beast lumbers in the realms of

Sleep, occasionally uprising, snoring, starting,

Convulsing, and despising, all the greenery

Of the curses consciousness can give

Intermittently, we find ourselves

Startled, and disturbed, by his sweet

Disabling stertor –

But, the party goes on,

And we cheer, and cry, and dance,

And die, until the beast reprises

His unhappiness again –

Now that this Beast is risen,

And happiness is dethroned – killed? –

Not yet – only postponed,

I go to Abergavenny Castle, to

Weep on those walls, my walls,

Those stones, my stones; that are

The crystalline bones of Satan’s merry-making,

With heart-quaking, I think back to

The Christmas Day Massacre, when the

Illusion of Friendship, disguised a treachery,

Too painful to be retold

So, sometimes Melancholy sleeps –

But He sleeps not now

I take my boat out on dark waters deep

And lash myself to that awful prow

Oh, Yeshe Tsogyal – so alike me in name!

Take me from this inconsequential train, and

Explain to me why the one that I love;

That perfect one, always wounding me with

That stately lack of artifice that is her perfection –

How can she appear to me in dreams,

And taunt me flagrantly so?

We were lying on the bathroom floor –

With my head on her stomach,

And her lowered gaze, alighted on me,

She made her love known for me

And I returned – Two “I

Love you”s exchanged with casual

Sincerity in the darksome treacle of

A dream, that only troubles me

When I awake –

For dreams are polyglots: they

Speak in many languages – often at

Once – speaking in symbols, fanciful

Portraits of the future, with an

Occasional trace of fear, or wish-fulfilment

Thrown in – let it not be

The latter – but a prophesy be!

An augury of a nebulous heart

Finally requited.

So, yes, sometimes Melancholy sleeps, also

Awaking to plot and thieve –

But Love is an Insomniac –

She doesn’t know the meaning of sleep

I think of fantasies – I think of dreams –

And my unhugged flesh starts to creep;

And my unloved flesh starts to weep

Against these walls, my walls; on these stones,

My stones; upon these bones, my bones, on

This love – our love?

On this love

Our

Love?

 

 

Poem: Love Coming Easy

the-heart-desires-the-pygmalion-series-1870

Does love ever come easy?

Would we still want it if it did?

You present yourself to me

Like a golden swan tangled in barbed wire

Or a piece of sumptuous fruit

Seasoned with razors

I think of the road I must travel

To get to your heart; and it seems

So perilous and complex –

Miles and miles of winding, aortal corridors

Ever in ambush from bureaucrats, bandits,

Jealous rivals, and the ugly misapprehension

Of societal conventions –

An Egyptian Road of the Dead

When I get to the centre

Will my heart be weighed against a feather?

Because, I assure you, my heart is already filled

With feathers, that ruffle, puff, preen, and fly

At the slightest agitation –

There is no straight course:

No ‘As The Crow Flies’

Just a ‘DO NOT ABANDON HOPE

YE WHO ENTER HERE’ –

As Dante longed for Beatrice,

So I long for you,

And my feet are already stricken

With the thorns, from the miles

I have erstwhile tread.

But hope can be hard to hold

Onto; like a rarefied butterfly, cupped

In my hands, the slightest distemper

Could send it off in search of fairer weather –

But I will not be dissuaded –

Dismayed, delayed, waylaid, yet

Never to be deterred, like the ravening wolves

That chase after the sun

Does love ever come easy?

No – one must dig deep to get the gold

I take myself out into the Arctic Wilds

And resume digging in the vanquishing cold

 

 

 

Poem: The Prophesy

turner

I see you as my wife;

Why, then, are you stood at the kitchen window

Looking so forlornly?

Or is it a reverie my prophecy has interrupted –

Some jealous memories of when we were kings;

Bardic principalities, roaming the mountains,

To seek the inspiration that so inflamed us?

In that lonely mountain, where e’en Eagles dare,

The jagged peaks saluted us,

And the nectar of birdsong, fills

The unhoneyed moments, where sorrow might

Better intervene –

But you are not in the mountains, now;

Now – you look out into a garden

Where sparrows number by their thousands,

To discuss the vagaries of politics,

And the lieutenancy of a worm’s command;

And when they take off

It is like an earthquake in the dead letter department

Where my prophecies are sure to appear

But, perhaps this is not our home;

Perhaps you are just a guest, a dreaming visitant,

Seeking out company, to mourn the hours

While I, your desolate husband,

Am tossed upon a Turneresque sea;

A salad of limbs, caught in the mist,

Of some ecstatic reverie –

But I never could spell ‘Ecstasy’

Though I know you used to take it

By the dozen – perhaps you could

Tell me bedtime stories

Of battleships and sea monsters;

Of maniacal men in roofless bars;

Of your first impressions of me

As I descended from space

Hoping against hope

Your heart to purchase

Oh, how the years will agonize us!

How the years will toil us, spoil us,

Moil us and foil us; bear us,

And tear us; undress us, and wear us –

How those savage years will

Uplift us, and drift us, desecrate us,

And consecrate us!

And upon that consecration

We will turn our backs on one another:

Not out of spite –

But so that our spines might interlink

And become the Caduceus

Mercury must always hold in his hand –

Ah, Samarkand! Ah Siberia!

Oh, Juliet and Tiberius!

Is it a museum

Or a mausoleum?

Is it heartbreak;

Or Heart-unbound?

On a tyrannous sea,

Captain Ahab will be the registrar,

Before whom our fated souls are married

And against the cliffs –

Time’s inked-pages stiff –

Harpoons will be wended into

Those self-same spines

Inspiring us on a trajectory

Whose fatalistic parabola

Will not be ours to choose –

Ah, to win and lose!

To negate, consecrate, or

Accept too late –

Seeing across time, thus

Is it a wonder you look so forlornly

Out our prophesied kitchen window?

But I’ve an appointment with Joshua Reynolds –

And I’ve asked him to paint

Your unglazed future,

So my heart-pinned auguries

Have some place

To rest –

Best get them off my chest

Than with a chest, a universe be filled;

So on these pages,

I took out a quill,

And let my heart’s blood be spilled

 

 

 

Poem: Song to a Muse

piggirl

You are a bower of bliss

A little fortress of possibility

Slithering into my awareness

With those unforgettable brows

And that visage of excitable calm

How could I not take you as my daughter

And leave you in the road to die?

Oh, don’t ask why!

Isn’t it enough just to know

That I am here to be your guide;

Your psychopomp through valleys far and wide?

And to teach you to address

Those chains of experience

That will thus constrain and arouse you?

Why you should be on THIS raft of the living

Is your purpose alone

To guess

But your power is great

And it is just my delight

To bring it into fruition

 

Poem: Treasury of Mist

LaBelleDame-Cowper-L

I am not a land mammal

But a lascivious sky dancer

With a face like a madcap saint

I have no time for nation or state

Only the wild empire of nature

An organic fortress of prismatic lushness

A tapestry of tightropes

Pulsing with the electroplasm

Of perilous, ecstatic voltage

I am a one man parade

Staid and depraved

A solitary orgy

Knocking down the dens of iniquity

We refer to as ‘respected institutions’

A post-modernist titan

Crawling up from a tartarean realm

I’ve re-imagined as a night club

For everyone to enjoy

Thunderbolts flew in my dream

And men with pointed hats of brass

Served me in a cafe of purest gloaming

I chased away loathsome demonesses

With Guru Rinpoche’s mantra

So they could be changed into goddesses

And instructional lovers

To rule the erotic coastlines of my thoughts

This is the treasury of mist

Towards which we moved

And the broken weather clock on the table

Signifying only ‘CHANGE.’

II.

But what of this new temptress?

This new cousin written straight from

Nature’s mossy pages?

Feline eyes and tiger brows

Thunder back to the past

Where I might have known her more

You and I could have

 A purely literary romance

Gushing poetry into eachother’s laps

Kissing on a bed of Keats

With Milton to torture our souls

III.

But this drunkard has become the tavern’s chorister

He has some rabblerousing to do

So I’ll throw up my brains in an old tin-loft

And present the mosaic of my imagination to you