V.14

How your voice comes to me through doors
that shut too soon and leave me spent
ammunition on the pavement.
I hear each consonant as fire

crackles on a summer beach
beyond the waves a jellyfish
moans and those are vowels of your throat
singing, of your hair which hangs like

for like, eye for an eye, my eye
which is hooked like the subtle fish
wife in barbaric times. i want
to talk to you about Rosa

Luxembourg, about just how right
we are about the large, inapt
empty spaces between the clouds
where no thought interrupts the flat

tones and gradients of the air
in its wider form. free of life.
Barbarism it seems is willed
by the people, and so we cut

onions to pretend we aren’t despair’s
pawns and playthings in an open
gambit. i want to hear your crisp cough
as we laugh too much while drinking

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.

On Hope

If sometimes it seems that I have no hope
and sometimes it seems that I cannot rest
with the state things are, and stinging riposte
the many gifts of life – forgive me.
For something grave must force your hand
to pick up the pen and rage at the light
and its dying.
And often for me, it’s rage or despair
the savage bites of the worm in the bud
which have their source of inner trouble
struggling to find a name.
These constellations of rage ignore
The manifold ways we have much more –
The gleaming of this human planet.

The Cathect

We, all of us, have it.
This fear in the night, trembling
at the horizon of our life – waiting
to unfold from the world, unknown
up until the crystalline moment
when we die with surprise.

We, all of us, battle
to sleep with the knowledge:
our hearts, our stomachs, broken
by this sadness, our terror – alternating
which rise and fall with the tides of living:
a bird flashing in the quiet sun, then gone.

We, all of us, have the solution: embrace it.
When the darkness is whole and the feeling strong.
This pain is certain; learn to love it.
Smile in the blackness
at this strange elevation – it won’t be long.
Join in the chorus and chant of life
for it cannot destroy us, this fact that we die.