Cultivation

He buys gold plates imagining

secrets grow behind them, backwards;

that a rosy, unwrinkled pot

breathes fertility into old soil.

 

The house is groaning with gold,

gold that soaks through ancient walls,

saps the strength from stalwart columns

like the refinement of sulphur did to books.

 

A diary

of dreams adorns the vanity.

Before bed, he tabulates karats behind his eyelids

with the rotted, yellowing pages pressed against his face,

blindfolding.

Then come what may in short, uncertain lives

If squarish pegs bemoaned their hapless holes

for only being what they are and were,

existence would like cracking lashes spur

on life – so death dismays awaiting goals.

Dissatisfaction swims as countless shoals

of common minnow, round the reef a blur;

Lament, with clumsy hands befuddles sure

the path that cuts a way to destined roles.

But lightning-charged, the builder’s instinct thrives

and severs life from all its rigid strings;

the flame of discontent the spirit drives,

released of protest’s dead and breathless things.

Then come what may in short, uncertain lives,

so long Invention lives, the woman sings.

Our core is fancy

With poetry, written vehicle of our lies

tight strapped to chairs, torment for sacred truth

will, surely, give you that sought-after prize

of peace of mind so hungered by your youth,

and all that ails the world must needs be soothed.

But we enjoy too much our childish games

of logic, build sophisticated lore,

and of these games, none as well-loved as war.

The field reclines on all the world’s green plains

and seas, decocted for our boredom pains.

Our minds: parts of the same unhealing sore.

Behind the heart’s translucent mask, our core

is fancy, feigning acts of deepest shames.

Create the vaunted mixture

The thrill of falling, shower into sea

lends liquid paint the meteor’s desperate air

and urge, to mix with friends already there:

the reds with blues, like lock finds key,

into a drunken, aimless reverie;

eventually, brews mud absolved of care,

of naked leaden base, unveiled, laid bare

and never more a sight of note to see.

But when the artist guides the flirting hues

and births the sort of mould that gently casts

the rosy brown, and cream, to own their use

with lemon gold, abreast each cannon blasts.

So paints alone, together snugly fuse,

create the vaunted mixture so it lasts.

 

 

Scheduling (You) In

I am giving you the last slice of my time,

of all the minutes I have in the past, present,

the future. Take it

and go. You must savour its taste.

Quickly, before it grows cold

or unwanted. You must enjoy it,

or why did I bake it?

 

You were fighting with a lot of things for this little slice:

a lot of ruminating, a lot of busywork, sometimes

sleep, when it did come to visit. I was fighting

off a lot of competitors, to give this to you.

There was the award I thought I needed,

barely missed when it was gone.

There was the forest I tried to save

by printing paper posters.

There were the cute shelter puppies on the TV,

whom I liked, who were endless, whose stomachs were bottomless

and hungry. There was all the world of forgetful, gaping mouths to feed.

There were things that wanted.

 

Now imagine me fifty years from now all old and done and grey and

clearing crumbs. Imagine the mostly empty dish staring longingly at the sink,

waiting for a bath. Imagine.

Go, go, take this last slice, and dream.

 

Dream of a world where you and I

could sit at a table, and have the whole pie.

 

Nameless

She must not run too far. Or drink too deep.

Or drink to sleep. They

are an electric air-thin invisible haze

that will pour into the windows of her eyes,

running faster, drinking deeper

than she, who owns fewer news outlets, fewer missiles,

no dollars.

Utility

Chimneys don’t want to be lectured

on the importance of fire,

on how it is bright and warm

on their cold, unfeeling bricks,

on how it buries the dead

and worships the non-existent,

on how it led to the development of humanity

who knows how many years ago?

It only matters to them

that it makes smoke.

The Artist

Her occupation is to cram things into mirrors.

Poisonous things,

crawling things,

the thoughts that swagger through locked doors,

some that pull floorboards over their heads,

others that dance,

those that scream and cry with pacifiers falling from open mouths,

then the ones only disguised

as thoughts.

Her occupation is to make arrangements of these

the way bouquets are

the severed sex organs of grasses and trees.

Her occupation is to cram things into a mirror

that lies.

 

memory.

my last birthday, your last song.

they are just dollops of colour

bleeding into an ocean.

even now I forget

the shape of the cake,

and the timber of your voice

only that it was orange

and warm and bright.

but every day i hear it again:

a different day, a different song.