Playing Final Fantasy on a Friday Evening

Phoenix down for my life, search
Ether for my poems, steal
A princess but with summons
And random battles of dark
anxiety which can be
Big Bad dark on such a day
Press a, press a, contemplate;

The black mage on the sofa speaks
little, but softly speaks
of great problems, loneliness
of creation, how meeting
your creator is not wise
how harshly the mist machines
just disappoint and grow dark

But there is such light here, in
Aeris, in life’s crisp power
which always courses, pulses
deep in the planet, guiding
all, and that is not to call
attention to its steward:
Nobuo Uematsu

The bombing mission plays on
each morning bears new twists, raids
elaborate stories and
weirdly wide range of monsters
as here, so it is in there;
little explanation, but
just wait, worth levels upwards.

Parent/Guardian

When the parent cries – don’t
leave us – to the child – calls
to life’s dull ear, a pure
burst or depth of feeling
pours, tears and distances
And when the parent speaks

from hope in a moment
when all hope just popped off
the map like a rusty
paperclip – leaving us
with a torn old damp map
and the coming storm dusk

When the child lies wounded
and they have stepped in – now
aware or not, they give
help as if it were breath
at the end of all things –
when they build love again

from broken pieces – when
the glass was so shattered
it seemed impossible
– they build a cracked mirror
which is just good enough
and we see ourselves smile

And when the parent says
I can’t carry it for
you – but I can carry
you – up death’s dusty slopes
at the end of all time
I can stand here and know

You who brought us here – you
who spend each moment with
the careful thrift of love
You who listen, who stand
who let us go; your world
sings in soft new bindings.

Poems About Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath

Ted guessed
By the blue-black sheen of the bookmark

Knew,
when, on the 49th page
Three days before the writing stopped
The entries began to more and more
Resemble claws and talons
Scruffily dipped in ink
And smeared across the paper
Making a real mess
That he had to burn it
What else could he do?
Then went to lie down
Face down
In his face upwards body

***

Ted caught a Sylvia
Oh what a fish
He kept it close, and they lived
Happily as man and fish live.
After a while, he let the fish alone, she bit
Besides, you know what they say about fish.

When someone put Sylvia in the oven he cried
Why should fish have to die like this?
Rather than swim glinting in the thunderous foam
Scattering scales, each part of the water’s poem.

From time to time, and when life
was nearly through
Ted tried a little smoked Sylvia.
His taste buds were suited to her
As a fly is suited to a fish –

Now they swim together,
Amongst the many pages, they swim.
And we thread new lines to catch them.

***

Who killed Sylvia?
Aurelia killed her. Make no mistake.
She knew just what she was doing.
She lit the fuse
And bundled her into a white heat
pressure, pressure of a skull forge
Of an american all-girl third degree
burn to the brain.

After that her skin flaked slowly
Small stanzas of skin
The scar-tissue exposed would sting
and then burn and numb again.

And when the fire achieved her core
She climbed into the oven
To finally feel at home.

Lock & Key

In the jangled clouds and beams of april
We walked the inhuman boulevards of Paris
We stood on the île and, pestered slyly
We reluctantly left a lock, engraved
With our names. We shouldn’t have.

When arguments began to stick and curdle
When our insults began their moth-flutters in the air
We tried our best to break up, it was no use
We would fight in the night, rot in our sourness and split
Only to wake again in bed, covered in rust.

Something was obviously wrong, the rust stung
Left sores where it touched, got in our crevices
So we first disliked each other more and more
Til pain, pain was the everyday way of things
And the friction so great we ground each other to stubs.

Snapping off one day I managed to run, return to the city
Again I saw the Seine and heard its whispers
I approximated the key’s trajectory, looked:
The water boiled and surged in whirlpool boils
Nothing. I saw nothing but the dirt-flow

But then, sudden, surfacing from a deep sound
It came: whale mass of iron, clumps of lock-keys
Heralding an orange trellis of rustwater currents
The lock-demon, the million locks key-keeper swam
A trembling mass of promise from the murk.

I gazed, terrified, amazed at this dark mound
Of keys. Its breath shook the waters, it rose
And groaned like the under-guts of Paris
Numbered on seismographs as an underground train
I realised then we had made a terrible mistake.

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 merciless 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.

Life’s Attempt

Do not debase yourself – you are gold, and you know
You need only find the friends that will hold you as standard.
And learn to expect a little less from life,
And see how we die, how we weren’t designed for this living;
Designed at all, apart from a certain sketching,
Loathe to confer strong lines, conveying our motion.
This earthly fact need not ashcut our hair with hot sorrow,
Though of course it may do for a moment, a dry-haunting phase:
Learning the blood and the tears that rest in salvation
Not dropped from above, in a white hot holy inferno
Of passionate revenge. No, these great tears are ours
Believer, as we bear up the world on our backs, and build
Our commune here on earth, our only connection
Where we tie our authority, where we can decide on our lives.
Not alone; these golden souls around us glimmer
As we pile together in a vast open treasure of days:
Supporting each other as cold water clings to cold water
Thundering slow as a star, and frantic reshaping
It glints – over the falls and out into darkness;
This thunder is purity, this thunder is gold in its forging.

And our blood belongs too, and it brings with it ancient foundations
Of life in the dawning of sacred human electrics.
We do not need more, I promise, and offer my words
As a jumpstart to show you how it can be: have you heard?
We only need thriving, we only need close interaction,
(and hoping for endlessness here will bring unbidden pain)
With the group of bright people called wonders who show us the way
To shore up our breathing, our justifiable madness
At having to live in a world that we have made,
Which teaches us we lack the spinning centre: We.
The people who beat the heart of humanities pace?
This is the horror, the shock and the shame of those
Who project with intensity, blinding sovereign light
On the walls and blind us, this is why it takes time.
To learn we can float, calm on our backs in the sea
Of a disc, on the back of four elephants, looming calm
On the back of a turtle, ponderous floating through space.

It is no easy thing, and there is no certain winning,
But if we can cope well, there’s a fell chance that so then can you.
Glowing human structures support this crowing communion,
Some shaking with white hot threads of dancing desire;
And yes there is violence, but here in the gaps inbetween,
Which like air are so hard to avoid, and yet so hard to see
Lie yet softer gradients of all of the earthier pleasures,
A glass of water, a book, a handshake, a look in the eyes.
A cuddle at dawn, a song, a joke, or a poem,
A long conversation, a cry, or some faith in your friends.
Ask not for justification, for there is no need.
In the grand scheme of things we are great enough. This you can believe.

Four Moments of a Realisation: 4 – Suspension

Later on, it was a soft longing
though still supporting and towing
and it struck me that each moment
casts its net over all others
colouring and changing, rebooting them for favour.

Your laughter from through the walls
stroked my being out until – inevitably
His presence made it ache, retract
with a stab of stomach pain.
Or was it my own quirks of mind
performing amateur acupuncture
on the surface of a brain?

Then, a text of familial love
– four signatures, the only I will ever need
became unknowingly an epitaph
gave me moment’s pause, for warmth and thought.

And a slightly rotten feeling dawned
(gradually, over the whole)
reaching out and grasping me,
beyond the good and bad.
Why is he so horribly real?
I said,
and that, echo-friend, was that.

Everything changed, and nothing did.
I moved on, became a friend, began to read again.
Played less videogames.
And he disappeared, being as he was
A thing of my imagination.