Poem: Jackdaws In Love

jack

A congregation of jackdaws zigzag above a spire,
Each of their clacks a prayer of unconscious praise
The patterns dissolve and then repeat
Recombining in a thousand different ways

I’ll admit it – I am afraid of tenderness –
Of softness – of anything that can speak
Sweetly to me when I expect only indifference
And repulsion

A loving whisper can wear away a wall
Quicker than a brass band at Jericho,
And a soul-sung smile can disable
Even the most high-tech of security systems,
Leaving you defenceless and worn

But each of my cells is a jackdaw,
Sometimes cohering together in a maze of flight,
At others electing to spend lives of searching on lonely rooftops,
Dropping stolen objects onto the ground below,
To observe the laws of Caws and Effect

If a tree shan’t be my throne,
Then a throne shall be my tree,
And from the scriptural skin of spiral-spun bark,
I will offer shelter to those above and below me –
The Wooden Almshouse of the World

Just by being here, I am unchastened,
My kisses are loosened from their reins,
And seek out streams in which to bathe their secrets,
In the eddies and whirlpools of unknowing

So see me chaste,
And then unchastened,
In the clacking prayer of bird-born syllables,
Strung on every strand of the sky

 

Poem: Grandfather River

turner

Picnic in a bluebell wood,

Every step I tread feels like a pilgrimage

Towards the resolution of a mystery, that,

Geisha-like in a Schrodingerian box, evades

All comprehension 

 *

To the beat of pebbled feet besides river

Or stream, I am always learning so much

About myself – you invert me, and help

Me look at the world and myself differently

 *

In the pursuit of a dog with a stick in its mouth

Emerging from a river, I strive to emerge from a

Tide that flows deeper than I ever thought it could

But I cannot now unstick myself from the sludgy depth

Of life – even the crows play secret games – and magpies

Are behind the government of buses and trains

And I would like to be somewhere far away from here,

Somewhere roadless, pathless, trackless, where you can

Peel back the cracked skin of the centuries, and tend meekly

To your garden, where no one has yet fathomed the full onslaught

Of enclosure

For time is just a wrinkle in an old man’s brow,

In the passionate furrows of Grandfather River,

Rolling around his rocking chair bend

 *

Lurking behind it all, like an unweeded root,

Vermin in the wall, lies the deep weight of

My desire for love, for company, for riddance

Of the fevered solace solitude no longer grants

Me

And you, my dear, dear friend, you introduce me

To a gentleness I often find in water, but seldom

See in human clothes – with you, I can temporarily

Put the lid on my sorrows, and return to a simpler

Past, books and memories assure me once existed

Motherless, fatherless, brotherless, loverless,

Bereft of friends like so many limbs, I wonder

If the earth itself ever feels so lonely at being

So neglected, unrecognized, by those that

Live upon her

I could keep on writing,

But the winds are blowing me off my bench,

And to the tunes sung softly by Grandfather River,

I swim slowly round that rocking chair bend

Sonnet On A Summer’s Eve

summer.jpg

So steady the night on this soft summer’s eve,

As star seeds descend like manna from heaven,

The stillness of the scots pine fertilizes my ease,

And unmasks the demon by which my anxiety is driven,

Beneath all the chaos and dust of the world,

Is a light feather bed by tranquillity plumed,

The chaos is like two lovers wrestling on sheets,

The serenity is the mattress where their bliss is consumed,

And imbued with non-reference – the terminator of fear,

A tender consummation that nurses all wounds,

Cordelia is returned to the resanitized King Lear,

And on loving what’s lost, we no longer presume,

But cherish each beauty, the peace won by a friend,

Vowing to love them forever – faith without end

Poem: The Vial of The Night

black

I drink from the vial of the night,

Strange sips, in the groove of some

Unearthly tango, a maddening shambles

That divests me of sense’s good rhythm

 *

And in ancient Rome, at the death of some

Great dictator, you grabbed my hand with

Great excitement, to pull me into that flowing,

Serpentine procession

 *

But I had not changed my position:

I was still numb, numbless, purling out

In all directions for want of love – an

Ever-encroaching shore that licks the

Land, as statesmen thirst for war

And if I was on that sepulchre,

All my lovers, and those that loved me,

Would take turns kissing me,

And I would be apotheosized by their kisses –

Raised up and poured like a sandy equation

Into the vial of the night

 

Poem: Tender Oblivion

delville_treasures_satan1

I.

O, how can I take interest in art,

When all is within a frame encaged?

When beauty is kept from me apart,

And the words cannot escape the page?

II.

I have felt art travel through me in a body’s form,

Wrestled with finer hair than any filigree,

Keenly caressed by soft hands – by beauty torn

O, when will life beat again for me?

III.

All the genius of the world becomes as spiritless lead,

When your life-renewing bliss inspirits me not,

I lie pallid – anesthetized – in Apathy’s own bed;

A patient, unmedicated – by love’s nurses forgot

IV.

Infuse me with your blood – hatch phoenixes in my cells –

Lend me your lungs through the donation of a kiss;

Replace torpid silence with the clamour of your bells,

And if I needs must miss you – give me something to miss!

V.

Give me time – give me touch – give me a new pair of wings!

So I can take flight into realms unknown,

Show me the resistless curvature of Infinity’s rings,

And let me learn how happiness can find its home,

VI.

In the nestlings and nuzzlings of enraptured lovers, conjoined,

In The Milk Way Woman – and the star-blackened Man,

From the imperilled pageantry of illusion were we protestlessly purloined,

But how Reality teases – it will – and it can!

VII.

To satisfy your dreams in the shriek of a moment,

Inviting you into the halls of its opulent repast,

And then to be thwarted by endless postponement,

Dull cloying heaviness bereaves – leaves you aghast,

VIII.

Now tyrannized by ghosts – malignant memories –

Until that triumphal hour when your happiness returns,

Directionless, adrift, on sea-monstered seas,

By the profits of pain is your currency earned

IX.

While passion, in the meantime, is stoked in the waiting,

A fire needs contact to be quenched and subdued,

With emotion-filled waters – it yearns for the mating –

It gives up the pursuit on being pursued

X.

What then? What then? Only you can decide

If from this gallery I am ghostlessly removed,

Over-fathom me with your waters –pulse in your tide –

May this pale, languorous statute with frail flesh be renewed

XI.

For, if flesh must be frail – I want you to kill mine –

To make it wear away by being over-touched,

Rend me with your thorns – choke me with your vines –

Don’t give me just enough – but too much, too much!

XII.

I want to be consumed by the onslaught of your closeness,

To be carved apart, dismembered, by a body too soft,

Reduce to ruins my temporal fastness,

In your blood-drawing clutches lift me aloft!

XIII.

In that tender oblivion of interweaving pulsation –

You can be the stars – I will be the night –

Fill me up with a supernova’s bedazzalation!

Show me how softness can murder all might

XIV.

All might, all night, talk and breathe hard till morning,

An asthma attack – or Euphoria’s Curse?

Shock me – terrify me – give me no warning –

No time to notify coroner or hearse

XV.

I am wealthy with new passion – lustful for spending –

The merging of opposites – the serpent and the bow –

Coiling or uncoiling – ended and never-ending –

Loving the unknown in what we wish to be known

XVI.

And so I wait patiently, with impatient yearning,

Exhausted by desire – enlivened – inflamed –

And in-between two sheets, with fertility burning,

I long to hear your softly whimper my biblical name

 

Poem: Mercy’s Valediction

rain

The rain came pouring down,

And, in the cleansing impact of every

Raindrop, its self-proclaimed vortex creates

A perfect circle – a snapshot of unity straight

From The Geometer’s Compass

 *

Every raindrop peels a little bit of the past away,

Dislodging dirt, leaving pockets in the skin like chinks

In porcelain – a broken, run-down, Japanese aesthetic

That makes perfection seem not like a stranger, but an

Uninvited guest in every scar and suture

 *

And I wonder how we managed in the past,

In time’s before last, when the open cavity of

The skull was our only umbrella, and every raindrop

Ignited a neuron that suffused everything with color,

Color – color:

 *

Each raindrop a rainbow

Each raindrop a spectrum of discovery

Each raindrop a cosmos of endless unfolding

That makes you retreat into the dampness of your

Own unlooked for nakedness

 *

Those naked bodies came together out of the rain,

Their moisture-puckered skins warming through friction,

Little beadlets of love as dampened strands of hairs entwine,

Like braids of seaweed – braids of vine – flirting with the sullen

Strength of a rock – both powers to combine

Yes, pillows become castles, and a landscape

Of softness forgives the water, with Mercy’s

Calloused hands smoothing out the sands

Of competing friction and softness

 *

And all is forgiven

And all will be forgiven

When tenderness and violence kiss in forgiveness

In the pale oblivion of the sky

And even if I do not want to say goodbye,

Goodbyes are the currency of death in a

Forgiving, change-balanced world

 *

So, goodbye,

Goodbye,

Until we meet again,

Perched on the hand

Of impossible circumstance,

By the possibility of imagination’s

Power revived

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

*

 

 

Poem: Sonnet On Despair

munch

Caught in the pall of joy’s costly shadow,

Words reversed and erased, blot for blot,

Famine reigns over a once fertile meadow,

And the poet, delight-lorn, is densely distraught,

He feels hands where hands no longer linger;

Dreams are the places where the future rehearses,

Prophecies choke the larynx of the prophetic singer,

The nightmare of the present stored in history’s verses,

You start a fire – but you cannot start a fire –

Pain’s perfume pulses in smoking ashes

To be desired – and to feel desire –

All the caresses turn into rashes

When hope’s illuminated manuscript, seductively faded,

Leaves the child’s innocent heart, corrupted and jaded

 

Poem: The Waiting Room

waiting.jpg

Sitting in a waiting room, I see the piercing, pungent

Eye of God cut through the reality of the hospital’s

Environs to look penetratingly down upon me

*

“Give me hope, you blistering bastard of light!” I cry, I rail,

“O, if you must fill my heart with a poisonous pain that

Recycles itself in perpetuity, at least give me hope in an

Earth-bound after-life that comes after sadness – hope

That your light is not just an illusion, but a true realization

Of sweet happiness’s rebirth.

*

“Let not this happiness, so newly come, be so newly lost –

I know ‘the course of love seldom runs smooth,’ and

I’m inclined to doubt anything that does – but cannot I at

Least experience some stability in love? I do not expect

Anything to last forever; but after so long of living in pain

And unhappiness, cannot I at last sink fully into and be

Cleansed by my bath of love, before the plug is so hideously

Pulled?”

*

“It is the nature of your love,” accused a floating nurse,

“To become all that you love – and so become a curse –

But in invading that space, you become an object of hate,

And scare away those you would most love.”

*

“Fine! Make of me a monster – a parasite!” I said

In defence. “But it is the nature of love to invade

And be invaded – it is a holocaust – a bloody fucking

War.

*

“I am invaded by the love I feel for what I love;

Wish to invade the loved one with my love; and

Have them, in turn, invade me with their love.”

*

“Sounds like a sexual metaphor to me!”

The Coffee Machine incriminatingly hummed.

*

“This has nothing to do with sex,

As sex has nothing to do with the

Full penetration of love!”

*

“Speak for yourself – I’m just a coffee machine –

The closest I come to love is when the technician

Returns to re-stock my beans!”

*

II.

Though slightly soothed, the portal to heaven

Still open before me, uncertainty yet was found

Pacing around me, foaming like a dog-foaming

Dog.

*

“Will she? Won’t she?” I asked myself

And The Universe, watching a window-shade

Tremble flutteringly at the slow, pale anxiety

Of my flutter

*

Then I thought of those I had erstwhile loved,

And wished they would find the love elsewhere

Which to me they could not return

*

Then a pregnant nurse came in and talked of the

Spiritual investment that had become her charge;

And I thought that, if the child bore even a trace of

The happy purity that beatified her face, then I could

Stroke the black purr of my pain, knowing the world

Would soon be a better place.

*

This is what The Eye of God can show you

When you have nothing better to do

But wait

*

 

Poem: Apologia

rose.jpg

I.

Pain is bred into these walls,

So I walk out alone into the woods,

Where nightmare upon nightmare serry and prance,

All the dourness of death in a deathless dance,

Nightmares with dreams swiftly interchange,

What once seemed pure is quickly deranged,

And once deranged is purified again,

Wings of heaven and hell in the palace of a brain

II.

Come, let us love, and fear no more,

Cast all misunderstandings outside the door,

Pain may be bred into these walls,

But the tormentor becomes life-giver when duty calls,

For as unkind words cruel tongues quickly make,

Thirsty passions just as easily can they slake,

Instruments of pain to pleasure are made,

Stabbed and saved by the self-same blade

III.

Turn not your eyes from me, but pierce mine again,

The intensified eyes of a lioness with a lioness’s mane,

Let your lips find mine – speak only with sensation,

On this hectic journey without a destination,

Words can mislead – but touch speaks the truth,

Turn the next page – do not close the book,

Though my heart now be suspended as on a meathook,

Pleasure gives way to pain – pain to pleasure returns,

And the fire is contained in the same ice it burns

IV.

I cannot pretend that I know you at all,

But I want to know all of you – to walk among your walls,

And, perhaps I have been clumsy in seeking admission,

Made thoughtless mistakes with frightened imprecision;

It was all just to help you – to show you I care –

I want to touch you again – run my fingers through your hair –

Whatever wounds I’ve opened, may I seal them with a kiss,

Fear’s thorns and vulnerability are the gateway to bliss,

I wish only to love – to give you my tenderness –

To inject my soul into each and every caress,

V.

So, please forgive my mistakes – my foolish transgressions,

We can easily work beyond this unhappy dereliction,

The spell of three days should not be unmade in a night,

Even the kindest of lips must give way to fight,

And fight into light, like abyss into sun,

The tiny rippling explosions where the river doth run,

VI.

I’ll treat you like a queen – a flaming princess –

But it’ll take the hearts of two to clean up this mess,

Let me know what to do – how your mercy to move,

What acts of devotion my kindness can prove,

So what is ruptured can be restored with greater strength,

Measure for measure – and length for length –

Heart for heart – and beat for beat –

Bitterness into sweetness – and sweetness – more sweet!

From heaven to hell – and hell to heaven once more –

Though now able to locate the exits and doors!

*

And, as I pray not to lose what I would better know,

I hope for a gentle touch and not a hope-destroying blow

 

Poem: Conversations With Rumi

rumi

Sweet Rumi, and Prophet Gibran, lend me your hearts!

Let me not be corrupted by hate, nor the enmity of wounded

Pride; the mouldering coal of anger that inflames my myocardia,

And obstructs the outlets of my infectious affection

*

Let me not be a hypocrite – I have promised to give,

So let me give – give, even when I feel only the indifference

And inattention of those I give to – when I offer of myself to

The point of exhaustion only to be met with distant stares

*

It makes this wounded child want to repair into a Grinch,

A burglarizing old Saturn, and declareth thus: “I have

Given, and been denied loving gratitude, so wherefore

Shouldst I give?”

*

Abide not that Reuben! Take that Reuben –

Slap him in the face – and sayeth unto him:

*

“Give, Reuben – give until you have donated the very bones

From your back; give of your skin – give until you are so itchy

And inflamed, your tender layers excoriated by blazing sands,

You can barely stand for the pain of how much you give

*

“By all means cherish those that receive your love,

And return it too, for they heal you and remind you

What it is to be whole – to be the middle ground

Betwixt Heaven and Earth

*

“But cherish even more those who neither take your love,

Nor return it, or if they do, give back only in outward displays

Of silent mockery, or glut the ears of your heart with poisoning

Words; those who take your love as but a trifling snack, and, after

Eating it all to surfeit, with no trace of gratitude, have the temerity

To ask “What’s for dessert?” – those to whom you give your most

Precious things only to have them to converted into missiles of

Unkindness to slay and destroy, like the golden statue of a

Glorious saint or king melted down to make metal for bullets or

Swords –

*

“If those that love you are your healers, then those emperors

And empresses of ingratitude are your teachers: they show you

How to steel your love and keep it pure – to persevere in a love

That cannot be deterred – to make your love the king of all beasts;

To dine on your obstacles as invigorating meats

*

“Evolution thrives on adaptation – so make your love such a one

As this – a love that refuses to give up – that always find a way

To survive – if at first your love does not succeed, endure, and

Search out the forms it needs to take on in order to be the

Emancipating skeleton key, the hidden jigsaw puzzle piece

That connects every heart.”

*

“But the blackness of my anger is so hard,” you say,

“I am depleted, duped, dead – how much longer must

I go on refining the steel of my love against the adamantine

Point of other’s disdain, apathy, and hatred?

*

“Because I have met those that would love me;

That would crucify me with their kindness –

That can clearly see all I strive to do for the world,

And see that it is good.

*

“Why would I consent to being a pillar of odium

When I do not have to cast myself so bloody upon

Embattled plains? Why would I submit myself to

Aching disinterest, of knocking flint against flint to

Try and rouse love in an unwelcome heart when I could

Receive love elsewhere ready-made?”

*

“Why would you, indeed?” said Rumi. “Take the easy way

And all will later be hardness; take the hard way, and, as you

Now know, much else will become easier thereby – better yet,

Unite them both, and be indifferent, accepting, and loving of

Either.

*

“No one said you had to make a choice, because how can we

Ever just make one choice about anything? In selecting one thing,

We also create the anti-matter of all we failed to select, and, by

Opting not choose one thing, we are still kept in the pall of

Non-choice’s shadow. One may choose The Path of Happiness

And still find sadness pursuing them like a silent cat – one may

Choose to renounce the world, only to find that the world still

Pursues them in their renunciation, and nothing has been

Renounced at all. One will always find many things one did

Not choose, so why place such great esteem in choices after

All?

*

“Instead of worrying about what to choose, be mindful of what

You do with what chooses you – be kind to those things you do

Not choose – you’ll have to learn to live with everything eventually

Anyway, so why not make things easier and harder for yourself –

Isn’t that what you’ll do anyway?”

*

“So, this is what I get,” thought I,More of the hollow philosophy

I went into the desert to get away from: survive – live – die – or

Do not die; choice against choicelessness – self-control verses

Recklessness – egotism verses selflessness – virtue and sin in

Psycho-sexual union breeding more babies of ambiguity to

Keep the world going on and on and on.”

*

“I hear you, brother,” said Rumi, tugging me by the hand,

And pulling me further into those golden desert sands, “I

Hear your cries, your confusion, your incertitudes, and

Desolating and uplifting attitudes. I hear your thoughts

And all the sly silky nothings that slink between those

Thoughts. I hear them all as clearly as I hear a jukebox

That spurs on a barbaric barroom brawl.

*

“You want what we all want: you want to love and

Be loved – to feel that confusion is something you

Can overcome – that there is a direction, a purpose,

A motion in life you can eternally trust in – and

Even though you rebel against all linear things,

You still wish the course of life wouldn’t always

Be so frustratingly pinball quantum.

*

“Think of your friends, Rube. Those who are your friends

May later becomes your enemies, and, by becoming your

Enemies, may prove better friends in giving you things to

Strive against.

*

“How often have those you loved only proven to be stepping

Stones towards those you would love mightier later? How many

Dashed hopes have unleashed greater joys from the corpses of

Those they lost?

*

“The problem is the question of Finality – of Certainty.

The desire to have things so, and to have them always be

So: to have an eternal day, and be done with night – to

Have an eternal summer and be done with the savage

Ineluctability of winter – to have just enough love and

No more than you can manage – to have just enough

Solitude, but not enough that all your hopes are ravaged –

This golden mean – this constant ratio – this middle income

Of truth and light – of sustainable joy somehow always able

To vivify itself with an insurance policy against discontentment’s

Canker

*

“But we live in a seasonal world – an excessive world –

A world that will always take things too far, and, in the

Process, take you too far along with it:

*

“So why not smile and shout when you are happy,

And wail and cry when you are sad – and then reverse

Them, and dance and sing when your are unhappy

And cry with mightiness when your joy stabs you mindlessly

In the heart?

*

“Either way you experience –

Either way you keep on going –

Because there is no true stillness in this world;

But, like the ball in the pinball machine, you will

Always find yourself rocketing between one point

Of light, and a pair of pincers always ready to strike

You back.

*

“Like Homer’s Odysseus, you must choose between Scylla

And Charybdis, knowing that, in this union of sea monsters,

There is no real choice at all; between this rock and a hard

Place, you will feel the hardness of hardness, the softness of

Softness; the softness of hardness, and the hardness of softness;

And you will find joy and sorrow in them both; wisdom and ignorance

In them in equal measure.

*

“So what does it matter? It doesn’t matter which way you sail –

The point is that you sail. The point is that you have the courage

To be freely buffeted by the winds, lapped by the tonguing foamy

Surges of Neptune’s inconstant lover’s broil. Stay at home, and the

Sea will only seek you out – go to sea and seek out, and you will be

Sought by land just the same, if that be not the crux of all your

Seeking.

*

“Feeling stable, you long for change – feeling only surging

Tides of change, you long for the certitude of land to give

You a supply of paradise’s incorruptible currency.

*

“Again, the point is neither in choosing change or changelessness,

Finding both in neither, and neither in the above – the point is in

The motion – in the desiring, the end of desiring, and then the returning

Of desiring all over again.

*

“That is the point:

Motion – stillness – love.”

*

“I carry no assumptions about anything,” said I,

In return, throwing a bolt of lightning against the

Sand to make it into a glass to mirror us both.

*

“I know that one cannot choose happiness anymore

Than one can opt to completely outdo the conniving

Machinations of suffering. I choose neither an easy

Love nor or a hard love, for there is no love to choose,

Love being all there is.

*

“But I am human. I ask questions. I look to the future

And I speculate – I hold up and comparatively weigh

All the possible journeys I make. No one will ever truly

Know if they are the in process of experiencing the best

Of all possible worlds; but still – still there is the desire

That with every action and new direction one takes, that,

In the motion of that direction, we take it and make it in

The best possible way – that we leave no stone of potential

Wisdom, knowledge, joy, difficulty, or obstruction unturned,

Unfulfilled – that we do not lay to waste all those gifts that

Are made to us – that we make sure our cup runs over –

That we do not cease to drink wine until the vineyard has

Completely run dry.

*

“Who would do otherwise? In drinking milk from the tits

Of the world, who wouldn’t suck at and lust against every

Sacred udder they can find – who would be content to see

The dizziest of dizzy heights without being quest-proud in

Their vertigiousness to see them?

*

“But I don’t know really know what I’m saying anymore.”

*

“Then say nothing,” said Rumi to me, sweetly, “say nothing

And be sweet; say nothing and sing instead; say nothing and

Be ceaselessly still and silent and unceasingly without silence

And stillness in your dizzying quest for life and quest to seek

Repose therefrom.”

*

Then we took one another by the hand

And carried on walking through the sands.

*