Failure of me
to see in
with you enough
I get caught
on the sharp of words,
get caught out
by loaded definitions -
just you try defining me!
It's so, so
The phone hates me,
my lover loves me,
she drives me
to the beach
to believe me
Feel the sand,
let the wind
land on me -
it's night, the headlights
Crash the water
I'll catch the water
between my hands,
Sunday, March 27, 2005
I think you are when
your hand is in me, I am
your pocket, don't drop these
words I am delicate,
these words my package now,
drop them because you need
your ears clean now
with all the water, and like
an ocean wave I tilt,
hit the floor pane of glass, why
didn't you tell me you were
slowing, turning into a picture
cherished from childhood, the eyes
match, but see from different
shelters, & all of those easy
you could lie.
We have drunk the soma; we have become immortals, we have gone to the light; we have found the gods. - The Rig Veda
In this room we get darkened & allow the drugs to move us. Here we touch into another region. There, we will meet, but everything will have shifted. Even our names. I am waiting for the shift, the beat is my entrance. I am waiting.
I am waiting. I am waiting for the drugs to move me. I am waiting for them to obscure and purify. I find a friend: we wait together. Waiting can be long. We talk about waiting. We talk about nothing. This, this is nothing.
This, this is nothing. We have swallowed angels. Waiting for them to glide to our brain. Play the harp. The melody. Don't let me down now. My friend has joined the dance. The dance: our disappearing. We are re-shaped in air. Folding the darkness.
Folding the darkness. Drugs running now, all ways as entrances. Find the music's central firing. Faces leap in the glow. I take the rhythm. This is not holy. (This is fury of futures.) Mistake myself for no one. No one dreaming on. I have entered now. Am moving towards. All moving towards. Flow is here. We are the outer reaches. Extension of the flow.
Extension of the flow. Spectre-dance of futures, dream with us. We dream you, you dream us. Beneath us is a beat. Our foundation. We are founders. Here, with the city hidden, we are founders. Everything will happen.
Everything will happen. Bring the rhythm closer, so we can see one another. We see one another now. Bring the rhythm closer.
Bring the rhythm closer. The fragile one has entered the building. Love has entered. Here we protect each other. I see friends everywhere inside the dance. They see back at me. We release. We arrive finally. Bullshit burnt away.
Bullshit burnt away. We travel. This is us perhaps, maybe this is what we are. See the scene around us.
See the scene around us.
Friday, March 25, 2005
She (exotic, an original) was probably out & about
rock-climbing or playing flute in her band;
I was home with cheese toast reading Wittgenstein.
I couldn't remember what her job was
or which college she was at -
I'd put too many braincells to the flame
like a Nazi bonfiring History.
Whether vital stats were that important remained unclear
like the night I smoked that green opportunity
last week, & just didn't matter.
Because in another corner
of the city schoolboys chatted, waited outside the
sliding doors for their executive powerdressing
girlfriends, & skaters chewed chewy.
Still, I was fucked if I
could remember her phonenumber.
I chose you to be my lover by pulling
a name out of a hat - but the folded square
of paper was blank.
Another twist: I was the one
who called the end to our so-called
relationship. I put the words in your
mouth like dropping a cassette in its slot
and you just sat back silent and
listened to yourself playing back.
I am a cut-and-paste artiste:
I assembled the words from
our past conversations.
I cremated every gift you gave me -
now they're all disguised in my ashtray,
rising on the water level
in the rain.
So we'll pole-vault over all the oncoming traffic? But it chases
us away and still the eyes walk the wire, the faces drop off in
the midst of conversation, revealing a gap. And nothing's happened
yet, though these eyes are full of water waiting for the peak
of a drought to become the bursted heads of hoses. Still these lovers
tearing the apples, juicy teeth, choking on seeds and cores.
And all we need is for someone to throw the lifesaving hoop
and watch its red and white stripes spinning, roulette wheel on
waves, spinning to fast pink and if we could place our bets
please when the silver ball lands in its groove and we have
found this love. Then we might be pouring ourselves into bed,
everything has been circled in red ink and we've mislaid the
obvious questions, spent the appearances, we're losing our touch, or
is it just the time of the night, the wine and the slowing, the slowness
of my taking a nonplussed arm out from beneath your head?
The radio sniffling some song out, and
its candy glare seduces us, drawing
conversation to the fringes, as cigarette
ash rains from the wound-down windows,
the car idling like a lover's sleeping face.
Queuing up in the drive-thru we feel itchy,
as if we're watching lottery balls land
while chewing our tickets; like a mobile
chirping at the back of the theatre, we're
crying out to be muted, forgotten, satisfied.
We bin the cups & wraps, waste more cigarettes,
then drive... through a streak of green lights
that flick to late amber, past sullen drivers
tapping fingers on steering wheels,
windscreens snatching warped ghosts.
And the zebra crossings stripe under us,
as the radio station goes off the air, and
we are handed over to the silence, as a
speed camera gets another dumb picture,
its diamond flash dribbles off the car.
A previous version of this poem was published in Mascara #1, April 2007.
My unloved arm snoozes under your head
Dreaming of pins and needles
Then awake with a start
Squinting like a newborn
It sits up and surveys itself
And in your pearl-frame mirror
I kiss you on my arm
Tasting through its field of static
As you sleep
An earlier version of this poem was published in Farrago, Volume 75, Edition 5, June 5 1996.
I am unwashed clothes,
stubble, heap of pizza boxes,
I am clinical depression,
I am Aropax, paroxetine,
30mg per day, to be taken
in the morning preferably
I am binge drinking,
overeating, middle finger
wedged in throat, toilet
bowl, 1pm wakeup,
evasion & chicanery.
I am duckling ugly,
book of changes,
Jude the Obscure,
rebel without cause,
"know it's over / still I cling"
I am wasting my life, killing
(This was found scribbled on a piece of paper with other notes about job interviews that never happened on June 11, 2003)
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Getting down to the real method,
feeling the engine like purring amphetamine,
vibration coursing through the driver's seat,
senses dissolving the world inside/outside of
a red Porsche, where the dream hides me.
At a traffic light,
in the rear-view the deserted drugface reflected,
ate the green light & left the secure world -
turned flaming butterfly, hysterical,
an allergy, all scorching red & wheels.
Left the road & climbed across
the spine of a hill, horizon beckoning like a hand -
& one thunderstorm, one siren
all the signs I need to believe
world's end lies up ahead.
In the back my two brethren, fading hitchhikers,
bathing in sweat, being stripped of the foliage of memory -
& again shaking off the urge to slow,
I tell them, "Either we're dancers or we're salad;
if we die, we die hot... we'll be lightning stinging the dawn."
Stepping towards the horizon,
we are made of delicate stone -
(cracking, trailing rubble,
see how it fuses with the sand...)
see how the cliffs above us
are somehow mammoth,
like this life we invent.
These shadows stray behind us,
flicker with our step;
(did I ever tell you about the holes
that run through my body -
the wind speaks through them)
and later when sand grows dark
with the day collapsing,
the tide no longer paints its contrasts
upon this beach, this vast intersection.
We meet here, where we are furthest
from home, while the gulls
return to earth for the first time
in who knows how long;
(how long since we saw the earth?
that is, an earth free to roam
without these tight, chafing clothes
which cut off circulation...)
so many meetings to be witnessed,
as each moment brushes memory.
These meetings somehow brief,
there is a blindness in walking where
there are no buildings, no roads,
like crossing this deserted beach -
this too, in its own way, is a building,
forging up towards the limits
of the day and of night -
(see how the cloudless vault
still keeps the outside out,
and we forget that we live here.)
We walk the public garden,
A cold, dim Saturday;
a cornerstone of winter.
Wind deranges the plants;
rain is preparing.
We choose a bench coated with moisture;
an unspoken decision leaves us seated apart.
You've brought me here
to release a secret.
You draw your coat tighter around you;
I rub the iceflesh of my hands.
You take a breath of silence, then
begin your endsong: ruptured, unrehearsed.
Your hands unbutton history;
your face is a paraphrase.
Like a wounded child's ball you fling
the name that was caught in your eyes.
Once, next to me, la belle dame sans merci;
now a nameless impostor in the garden.
One evening I played chess against a man who later became my enemy. Or perhaps it would be better to say that he later came to see me as his enemy, since I do not like to keep enemies.
Whoever he was, we played chess: a tense and closely fought game that we did not get to finish that evening.
For several weeks I left the pieces on the board as they were, anticipating that we might meet again to conclude the game.
As it happened there was a falling out between us, and I began to believe that the game would never be finished. Nevertheless the pieces stayed in their positions and looked at each other.
The chess pieces were motionless for several weeks, until one evening when I came home and saw that a painting had jumped from the wall. The painting had not damaged itself; its glass frame had remained intact when it fell to the floor. This was perhaps some kind of miracle.
Evidently the painting had fallen on to the chess board before finding its way to the floor. Chess pieces were strewn across the room; some on the floor, some on the table, and some remained on the board, overturned and out of place.
Finally the game had been finished. I wondered whether other games had ever been put to death by a falling painting; or whether, in fact, I had been the first player to lose in this manner.
I didn't start,
I just supposed
that I was writing;
When to leave and
what to leave behind?
a gift to
drive light into.
But how and
why the words?
The role I choose
to play in this
poem is a
How to put the
poem to sleep?
Once all the secrets
are dry, words
Faith and fear
Now I believe
as much as
Where is my sense
Behold my head
I cannot hear,
that's for sure.
Can you hear me
filling with water?
I am sheer receptacle,
a holder from
out of which
drinks are poured.
I mouth words,
as I speak,
How to swallow
I have chosen
to wash it
I split your cigarette, my arm unruly in
transit but there were faster things, faster
than us - while this was slow, like a mountain.
You showed me your drawings of this city,
buildings in brokenspace. We sat under the lights'
distributions, our dream eyes submerged in
the cavern once again, with the storms.
I don't doubt you'll know me, infinitely:
with our feelings in coma, out of coma and
in again, we wake without sleeping.
You showed me to ennervate brave feeling
brave image. Here flow sounds that send us
each and all around fire; these friends we
call out to across continents of quagmire.
We in our element, and a glimpse -
I and You in motion, glad in dark.
pour yourself into
with the flow.
those who awaken
in the future,
from the past,
One fallen piece
these pulsing colours
nor the exits,
those who left.
a cold key
unlock the game
pour yourself into
with the flow.
Bukowski was a good sort,
if you saw him in a bad light
you'd say he was
but then again he
got plenty of life under his belt,
quit worrying about
took that wretched dog, cynicism,
for a walk.
When I saw his photograph
in second-hand biography,
next to the bottles
I saw rings
like piled medallions
around his pupils:
you bet, he wrote about the everyday
hiding places of fear.
And with each inspired
I imagined him
more lonely with
a battered guitar
twanging out the tunes,
his words careering into life
out of his gut.
His typing hands
like a guideless kite,
after whetting his
appetite with wine
then conversing again
with the old saddened voices -
I could feel his battling
pulse, smell sweat
netted in his shirt.
cursed and cursed
and lurched and
he was telling me,
"Son, you gotta walk out,
take a stand, go look for
your home, your heart."
"Where are you?" I asked him,
and he just groaned.
Now when people
say to me, "That
he was such a gem,
glowing through, glowing
through all that haze,"
I agree til I'm blue in the
face; then we push him aside,
talk about steadier writers,
like 'old' Dylan Thomas.
1. How to unscrew desire from a scene.
let things fall
refuse of convenience food.
2. How to read the writing of the body.
(a) Eyes make magpies caw:
the glint of metal,
upon the ground.
of merciless eyes,
scanning & sizing,
3. How to milk opportunities from a scene.
(a) Eyes can push
to the waiting limo.
(b) Eyes slide
like abacus beads,
When his mother calls. He strains to sound the voice of love and care, to locate it amongst his repertoire of songs. Wants to recall the questions he should be asking her. Perhaps she's returned from a holiday, expects his curiosity? He can't remember the last occasion when they spoke. If he could reconcile the resemblances. Between himself, her voice in his ear...
When his father died, an opportunity for both of them to forget (the cloud-wrapped summit of forgivess). All the fractures of the past, time's discolouration of the page. He remembers his father's funeral, the black flock of mourners filing out through the cemetery gates, how powerless the sun was that day. How words, never planted, will perish with the body...
His mother, she knows her way around him. Like a kitchen, compartments. She knows what she will need to take out. He can imagine the clock in her kitchen ticking above her now. Her eyes of concentration. Holding the telephone tight to her ear, the bones of her hand. When her voice divides him with sadness. In return, he gives her silence.
I have a fidgeting
in my ear,
it lets me
of the sea -
upon the rocks,
I've got the glimpse
into my ear,
as it rushes
upon my tongue.
I just saw old Ginsberg
walking on suburban footpath,
humdrummed in trucker's cap & red
check shirt, the profuse beard flying
like grey ringlets of spliff smoke,
& he was walking in slow
motion, walking & puffing &
puffing & walking, stooped like a
snail carrying his house of karmic
poetry on his back—
Oh downtrodden Ginsberg,
can you no longer stop
to meditate, old old age leaving you
so few energies
to splice wild jumpcuts
of Blakean visionary breath?—
You are dead and gone Ginsberg,
all your prophecies fulfilled, that
rotting nothing Ginsberg in the
You the Father Death for all
of us, with endless reserves of
metta, dreaming cosmic dreams
of compassion in your death-state,
& this apparition of you dealt like an
ace of hearts, walking sodden
suburban footpath through rainrivers
midday Saturday east of the city—
Or maybe this old old Ginsberg,
beard-dangler & smokechoker,
sense-charmer & semen-spreader,
maybe this man is my own
Although you yourself proved
it possible— via most thoughtful
thought— to reel in the spirit of
Walt Whitman in that fruity
somewhere in California—
And so I bring you here.
An earlier version of this poem was published in Verandah #20, 2005
(silver, amber, white)
all caught in dream,
windows show nothing,
the tunnel void,
by sheets of news,
she reads the time
She, a passenger -
In 10 minutes
she will find him
waiting in a laneway
with no smile for her -
just a hand
for the fat cash,
the deal & the getaway
vacuumed into the night
burnout & fadeout
A sadness is nearing
completion when the light
descends nightward, and
this body stills, these
set free in a dream,
my gaze goes touching
into you, studies your map:
far and near
I see you,
all the weapons you chose,
deep-aimed words greeted
by blood silence;
maintaining your eyes
upon tiny fluctuations
of the distance,
clasping at the centre
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
The Oracle stands quiescent in the display window, the plastic contours of his face bleached with light. He is always the best-dressed dummy in the plaza. Though he is mute, the Oracle speaks to my shapeless life. He is the reason why I shop here.
Today he tells me that I am lost without you. He says there are as many roads back to you as there are roads away from you. How do I interpret this? His arms remain spread, palms open in offering. I wait, for some glint of explanation.
Beside him is a graphic of a light bulb, yellow on black. There are little dashes around the top of the bulb, representing its glow. This is the Oracle's emblem of authenticity - a hieroglyph that embodies his essence. He is the man of ideas. In his ideal world, all things would be switched on, powered by truth; all of us would remain luminous, covered in nets of light.
Once the shopping crowds die down, and the sleepwalking window-gazers have shifted elsewhere, he continues his message for today. He repeats that I am lost without you. I am lost without you, you to whom I transmit my love. It's you, you are too much you. I am too much me. A double-bind. This is what I am offered.
"Can I help you, sir?" That's my signal to leave. I evade the advances of the shop assistant; the escalator hauls me away. I walk out into the release of blue sky, its fragments of cloud. The car park has no spaces. Behind me looms the sun-clad, glassy plaza. As I head for home, I begin to recite the Oracle's message aloud. I leave gaps of silence, which will later be filled by your questions.
Just as the Oracle does not need to speak in order to counsel me, you do not need to speak to question me: to ask me where I've loitered, how I've wittled away my time. The 6pm news is full of your silence; I have tapes and tapes of it. I love you as I love all silent creatures.
Monday, March 21, 2005
so many prisoners
so many prisoners,
no hand to
except the ghost hand
tapping your shoulder
to say error
except the ghosthand
tapping your shoulder
to say turn around
face the error
excuse me sir
you are not
this area of
is reserved for
don’t be long
here you could
the big if
(after E.E. Cummings)
where else did i go sometimes back then
when i was flying lighter (like
an origami bird ?
and you do know that a bird not born
but imagined from paper (greenblue
turquoise can fly if you only give it air
to fly in ?
what else was there back when i
swallowed all the noises i could get
my hands on, and voices, and rolled
around (in all the colours ?
whats that mummydaddy (thats a blue,
banana, badger, bignose, bank
teller man, balloon, budgerigar, a
i was always bathing in the sounds
and (their words ,
there was so much else to do but i dont
think the litter of halfcrossed leftover lists i
think crystal days (with the sea set up for
days of swimming !
when it was a skill of simplicity to submerge
without trace into secret rooms (in the
greendeep garden of home !
flight of origami bird through cool chambers
of bushes (amber with autumn brushed by
the hand that carries the bird tween thumb
forefinger lightly rising and dipping ,
when so loud was every mystery and
clear (because id shout and sing them to
anyone or myself and shiny answers rising
would appear ).