Poem: Effusion

effusion

I’ve spent my whole life dreaming of you,
But it is only now, dream diamonds poured
Into the cup of flesh that I come face to face
With what I’ve most desired – this being of magic,
This anarchist of perfection, offering me a mirror
Of all I most love within myself.

I want to give myself to you,
To offer every inch and acre of my heart to you
For your delight and delectation –
I am at your disposal,
To observe, listen, engage, worship,
To play earpiece to all you have to say
Even if it undoes me in the expressing

Because all I want is to love you,
Freely, truly, without fear or duplicity,
But to love you openly would be to change you,
To change all that made me love you;
My love would be as a teardrop on stained glass,
A maggot infesting a fresh repast

So, as I watch you, talking animatedly opposite me,
I must pretend that I am not there,
That I am not a being with arms, legs,
With sensations that wish to be expressed through them,
That there is nothing for me to reach towards;
I am merely the eye through which you look at yourself,

Because you cannot touch a painting while the ink is wet,
Read a perfect poem through grasping fingers;
All I can do is read, and read, and read you,
And pray the turning of your pages never ends

For the sake of civility,
I will pretend we are equals,
Even if I only exalt myself through worshipping you,
Through appreciating you are the totality
I have ever been reaching towards

Would a kiss fracture the perfection of that glass?
Would a too sincere caress soil a perfect world
That has no desire to be disturbed?

I am only a peasant,
A poet crying outside castle walls;
I am no warrior,
No aggressive invader,

All I can hope is that as my tears mingle with your stone,
We can find a way to be together and alone,
So I can kiss the stained glass of your beauty,
Without leaving a whisper of ripples in the water

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Poem: The Galleries

beach

I.
Come, link your arm in mine,
To the soft rustle of your dress,
We’ll walk the galleries together,
Footsteps slow, each pivot of your heel
A timeless nexus between breath’s motion

Can you hear the wind in this painting, my love?
The way the willows bend
To the violent kiss of the wind,
Our feet kissing the floor’s tessellations,
The deprivations and regressions of our lonely imaginations

May we, like needlework,
Frame the softness of our silence,
Encase it in a warm crystal, without borders,
All our marvellous moments,
Orbed in a serenity,
Hushing all who observe it

Now my legs are bleeding,
The winds blow too cold,
And the distance of your dress
Makes me nervous

No more do stilettos practice echolocation,
Like bats, trapped by window glass,
Giving up on their escape,
Enwombed in ennui,
She perches nervously on me;
Her talons spell disaster
For all I’ve hoped to be

II.
Now, in the sand dunes,
Skirted by skylarks,
The particles create skirmishes
From the fickleness of fractals

All the weft of stranded sea creatures,
The wet footprints of pebbles,
The mad dance of Pembrokeshire,
And the engrams it engraves

But how am I meant to feel a thing
With all these petticoats about me?
The friction of sand flaying my labia,
My vulva, the corseted hermaphroditic impulse,
To be lonely, to belong, to be free

I can never achieve them all,
Reach a self of holy Trimurti,
Watching other kites fly,
Too much shame to fly my own

Shame, always shame,
Keeps my love subdued,
Puts fear in men and women,
Leading me to conclude:

I am my own asylum,
The bonds of my own containment,
The extinction of my only freedom,
My antlers on the walls,

I should never have come to the beach,
Too full of my sadness’s singing,
Always mouthed by the sea,
Too full of my sadness’s meaning,
An unbearably poignant triptych,
Placing a coffin in my heart,

Never a Lady beside me,
Always a man apart

Poem: The Triumph of Failure

rooftops

Starting as the space between the strings,
A silent duet above the street tops,
Words and melodies trickled from lips,
Hearts-hiccoughing from grace-frayed gifts,

But then I became repulsive to you,
All my songs the stuff of maggots,
And now you only saw carbuncles
Whenever you looked into my eyes

“You can sing from a place of fire,
Ushering lyrics into The House of Beauty,
Lift the fallen out of the mire,
Find sweetness in the tears of cruelty

“But can you sing me a house?
Write a symphony of social security?
You’re a worthless, rhapsodizing louse
Venom in the mouth of domesticity”

And, as troubadour, I must triumph in failure,
Submit to the solitude of starved desire,
Search vainly in despondent valour,
For the pain sure to inspire

Unearthed pain unlocks the treasure,
Fresh blood mingles in the fountain,
Divorce from love gives me leisure
To make hell into a mountain

Purgatory, overflowing, has no gates;
A journey across the desert awaits

 

Poem: Lake of Ice

202050_theprisoner_heart-of-the-swamp

Why can’t my heart fly?
Sticky and stranded among the rocks,
Enwrapped by tentacles and shelled molluscs,
It lurks among the turbid waters,
Waiting to breach for dry land,
But finding safety in the cool thrill of darkness,

I am treading to you over a lake of ice,
Mindful of every shudder, each stentorian crack,
Taking my time,
Not wanting to thaw with frenzy,
To turn what I love into an evasive enemy,
But chased by persistent fears,
Running razor fingers through the grooves of frost,
I want to hold onto you as a ship’s mast,
The last refuge of a madcap drowning fast

But patience, restraint, are my self-loaded chains,
The bitter laughs spluttering from the lips of my ribs,
The pain of counting out the divisive seconds,
The heart splintered by the season’s dials

Always afraid of making the wrong move,
As though love were a game of chess,
A test of endurance and strategy,
Plotting, conniving, abstracting,
Finding excuses to see you again,
To get closer,
To silently sample each efflorescence of your wonder

To kiss goodnight down timeless streets,
The place where endings and beginnings meet

Poem: Sharing Wildness

shaman.jpg

Who’s the one sitting on all the rockets,
Sacral and root chakra store the furnace,
Smouldering inside from spine to skull,
I feel the intensity of desire,
Of Karma’s strange pull

I hoped if I got to know you,
I could nip it in the bud,
Stop the running bath water becoming a flood,

But my ploy failed,
Prevention only furthered the fuse,
Crackling towards personal demolition

It’s always like this,
Having to make myself anew,
Each time Venus’s arrow goes through,

But waiting in the trees,
The camouflaged hunter,
Tries to conceal his internal disorder,

To dazzle and misdirect
With the fake state of his warriorhood,

Because truth takes time to put into words,
Like the firing of bullets,
Your aim must be good,

And the timing perfect,
Or the proficiency of your kill,
Results in the destruction of your imperfect will

Let’s leave the hunting metaphor,
I refuse to play predator,
Putting myself in your sights,
Preparing the onslaught,
Hoping as I catch you, I will also be caught

A mutual capture of assured finesse,
Not made to tame, but to share wildness

Poem: Swallows of St. Illtud’s

 

swallows

Swallows fly in and out of St. Illtud’s,
Singing mass in melodic whispers,
They do not sit still for the communion of the saints,
But dance dizzyingly with them in the air,

Perhaps they are etching Ogham on the sky,
Writing invisible vapour trails of all that’s gone by,
William Blake winks out at you from the fire place,
Fumigating with the black smoke of truth

The silting of sand trailing over vital hands,
Scratched hard by the certainty of proof

Poem: Sea, The Builder

sea arch

Counting out the change of marsh pennywort,
The Sea is the finest architect,
Thinking not of porticos, corbels,
Synthesized by this architect’s moist fingers,
The real estate of Blue Mother Sea,
Puts seaweed in the drowned lungs of singers

Her body is crystal,
Melted and given motion,
The rhythmic undulations of sparkling sapphire,
Symbol of the subconscious’s cryptic emotions

In the bellies of grey limestone caverns,
The latticework of maritime honeycombs,
Wrought with striations of ochre and quartz,
Red torsos webbing between earthed gasps
Of landmass

The fishermen will be given a separate church,
So their scent offends not the men of God,
While God himself huffs all the perfume of the world,
Caring not if it is shit or vanilla

Scurvygrass will be the fruit of your arthritis,
When the sea counts back the bricks of your digits

Poem: Thalassic Discothèque

st. margarets

Staring out from thrifted cliff,
White-rumped redshank perched on limestone
Carboniferous, views of Lydstep just beyond,
The thoughts of death, body sea thrash,
The fear and joy of feeling the ground
Beneath me breathe

I have walked away from old patterns of frustration,
Uncluttered now the deeds of dissatisfaction,
Skylarks erupting in interminable car alarm calls,
Black tar lichen autographs the walls,

Over on St. Margaret’s,
Razorbills and guillemots rejoice,
Ululating into clanking air tangoes,
The great vault of stone is a discothèque now,
Evicted, humans have been put back in their place,

But I am no intruder,
Animal enough to be granted a season pass,
I feel the serpentine pulse of coast unpeopled,
Of Pembrokeshire magic insisting on the completion
Of a malingering shaman’s soul

And turning my body into octopus arms,
Into the sea I now will roll

 

Poem: The Other

David-Barnes-DBA6-8HQ-Welsh-Hill-Farm

The light always falls on Llanwenarth,
Yet indirectly, rays knifing through clouds,
Exploding from stitchwort, and the soft glow
Of yew-secreted corridors of violets

Light needn’t come in a bang, but a whimper,
A half-glimpsed twitch, an erotic moan,
The verge-dusk exposure of beauty cradled
In uncertain twilight, incubation by snow,

Yet stones can only birth themselves
From the bones of others,
Hearkening to the cries
Echoing against their cavities,
Like lover nestled in caverns of lover,
Joy-pain of Self confronting the Other

Poem: The Immortal

immortality-of-time-milene-hertug.jpg

The Immortal sat on a tree stump,
His long, sloping forehead, a pinnacle of rock,
Robes of faded vermillion, a petrified languor,
Carved into the lineaments of his face,
An ancient parchment whereon was writ
A depth of sorrow unknowable to man

When you live forever,
Your eyes become portals sick-glutted on suffering,
Fortitude the only friend keeping you up-propped,
Crossing interminable wildernesses, clambering
Over the serried dead in their wormy trenches,
Bones powdered into rocks,
Rocks compounded into worlds,
Where new wars may be fought,
And the ugly process repeated

Unable to die, you cannot separate from it,
It lives in you, and you in it,
Passing before your eyes – a dream of dust –
An illusion cast – a spell unbroken –
Like Sisyphus, every time you think you’ve broken through,
The vapours of illusion swell up from the lagoon,
Leaving a simulacra in its place

The oak stump upon which The Immortal sat
Was the last relic of an ancient wood,
Over which he’d presided for ages uncountable,
Having tired of the tortures and endless wars
Of the stars systems through which he travelled,
He withdrew to the relative quietude of planet Earth,
Then little peopled, where he could hold converse
With volcanoes, and meditate in mid-air above
Lava fields, reigning in tranquillity aloft
The times and tides of Creation,
Where the serenity of all-pervading ocean,
Could be suddenly thwart into torment by storms,
And abruptions of equal duration, jungles sprouting
Up in the passing of a year’s breath,
Then eaten up by swamps anon

My imagination does me more credit than my pen
Can express – or so I tell you as The Immortal passed
Gently through the birth throes of pre-history,
Swimming beside giant trilobites – by ambitious
Lifeforms with spiralling flagella, and other spawn
Worked by infinity’s ingenuity, radially proliferating
In a concourse of unlikely ways, to secure their time
Upon this uncertain world – creatures some of us
Still spy in dreams and visions, long since re-housed
In the Earth’s magma core, never to be seen again

After the last Ice Age,
When the world began to take a shape
We might recognize,
The Immortal settled in the wood aforementioned.
He kept watch over the birds,
Returning fallen chicks to their nests,
He knew the names of every new bud,
And kept in discourse with the elementals
Who performed their office in these woods.
Leaf-growth, sap-rise, wing-shuffle, and silenced
Preen were the notes of his flute;
Bird call and bush-rustle were scratchings
Within his throat. He was the sacred storehouse
From which all birds gathered their songs;
The unseen muse from which robins
Derive their twelve-month rhapsody

For thousands of years, these woods went unhaunted
By unwanted men – an enchantment spread from tree
To tree to keep the peace of the place in humble perpetuity,
Preserved in the amberous damask of unfading twilight,
Enwombed in a glow, fireside lambent,
They remained in a state of ceaseless merriment,
Boycotting all seasons but Spring.
Lute, harp, and merry bells jangling
To keep the goodness in – an unpunctured yoke
Of log-snug warmth, where no tree was felled
But by the consent of the wind,
Or The Immortal’s wise sense of order

But this Golden Age could not remain forever.
As violently inconstant as the molten mountains
That gave them form, the Earth grew ripe,
Grew dizzy for change. Man spread like small-pox
Over its once fair face, carving up the land
To prostitute it to their wants.

All around the wood,
Landscapes were tarnished to suit their ways,
Land-fills, quarries, the thoughtless proliferation of waste,
Garbage everywhere man was,
And even where he was not,
Lakes gave up their dead,
Vomiting amphibious refugees,
Newts and frogs, fish fiercely hungry for legs
To escape the toxins eating into their scales,
Mountains mined, the whole world suffocated
Beneath the carapace of cement – skies criss-crossed
With fumes – rivers red with copper and rust –
Every creature and thing now marketable and priced,
Life only worth the telling of its death-hardened function,
The pleasure it can give to the luxury-fat rich

The Immortal knew the wood’s days were numbered,
The encroachment of machine and saw not forestalled,
The spells could not stave off the men
Who lacked mind enough to know magic existed at all

The Immortal did all he could,
Pleading with interdimensional councils who might intervene:

“Take me!” he implored. “Let me sacrifice my immortality,
And infuse it in the soil of this wood,
So these trees will be axe-impervious as diamond flesh,
And the birdsong as though music from an eternal book
Inked Akashic upon the sky. Let there be at least one place
Upon the Earth where man’s murderous fingers cannot pry.”

But The Council would not give their consent –
Too much Karma and interdimensional red tape.

“An immortal born must immortal be,
Quitless of time or the tides of the sea.”

And so he saw it done:
Every tree cut down –
Every bird unhoused –
Every spirit cast out to be reborn
As a curse upon those diseased enough
To quit them

Which is why you see him here now,
On the un-uprooted stump of the last remaining oak,

And as grief runs proportionate to the lives its afflicts,
I don’t know if I’ll ever have the comfort,
Or the sadness,
To watch The Immortal move on