The Bypass (Life is a Fire)

Worry fills the air, it has always filled the air
In the dark crouched under a cliff edge, clutching
Close our churchly comforts, curling
Fingers round our hope and hurting.
In bed caressed by muster horns of a great storm
Our worries go riding out over the top of the trenches
Gunned down by thoughtless death-machines, our dreams
Turned nightmares, teach us mercilessness to utopian thinking.

We live on the thin red line which hedges provisionally
The blurry gap of dystopia and the real.
We see burbling spitting demagogues rising from the ashes of war and despair,
And wait for nothingness to dry like mould in the bathroom
Peeling into oblivion and resting on a stone floor, forgotten by the universe,
Not marked by a single smile, but marked by a single frown or dry tearduct.

No.

Our challenge, our tribulations and trials
Are but one – to keep the bleeding faith in life, sharp teeth gritted
To stand high above the wave and teach it like lightning it lacks a purpose we fulfil
To dance in the fire like fire and lift our friends up, and the weak,
(who are strong but if they can flow
like mercury among the other metals)
Say, Drudgers, worriers of the world, rise up, you have nothing to lose but your fear
We have the stars to win.

And if one day, sun rising on a field of martian grass,
Disaster comes, we will deal with this disaster
Shuffling our cards and smiling at the draw:
We keep the fire and pass it on, whirling and cavorting from soul to soul
Lift the handful of dice and play your role,
Forging humanity from the sparks and defying the world to fall.
Get angry, get warm, and never bow.
Never bow at all.

A Chance Betrayal

Her dark eyes and dark hair drew
My body to hers, although we stood in regiment
Forward facing to the band –
And only for the third time, burned
My living with a brand of love
Or let me grasp again, at least
The meaning of that ancient phrase –
From life to life; love at first touch
Though I can no more believe it, fallen
In pragmatics, as I am
Or simple shyness to the flame
Which makes us small and stays our moving
Paralyzed with lack of vision.
Betrayed by confidence, I flee – and not
By my own legs, but led on thoughtless
Stancing back to her – we leave
And I don’t speak of it til later,
In a lonely tent, now taken
With a lonely hue I had not noticed
And quickly smother my grief in sleep.

The forecast is for rain, that this poet
Would rather do poetical work
Than the real work of the leap of faith
That I won’t be laughed away by empty sheets
Of paper – at least on a good day
And try and tell of why I didn’t
Rather than rushing out to throw my life
On the pulsing rack and await reply.
Well, here’s my confession, nonetheless
Pulled in lead across the page
As I am pulled in soft self rage.

Three times say I that I’ve been cracked
Upon the rocks of the female form
The second was more slow than this,
More sparkling, more warm.
But the first is why I leave the way
Willingly whenever such grief appears
I broke myself, that time, in years
As an animal, and now I rue these days
When, chaos forged cog, I see
Another closely matching my speed
Of rotation, and am tempted to engage –
A perfect storm of human attributes
And dancing before the stage.
And instead I spin in place.
Rather than risk collision
The chancing of disaster, even if it goes our way.

(Note – The aspects of attraction aren’t all nameable, but they are all relations of one to another, which is to say ‘subjective’ or experienced. And they are not only to do with the individuality of the person but their surroundings, which is to say they infuse and are infused by their surroundings. And they are not straightforwardly physical attributes like dark hair, or dark eyes, or boxes to tick, but storms or nebulae which can centre on such things, stretched over you and the world, which are to some extent, lesser or greater, sourced from this body, not that one.)