V.120

I brush gently the leaves, and dust
pushing it from the dry black bricks
of my brain, and of the real street –
Its holes, gratings, posts, back alleys

stand in the bright cold above this –
the leaves replenish their yellows
and I breathe, letting life happen
despite it happening loudly –

Under the pavement, centipedes
slip around corners and thin pipes
cupped with silt. And wires web the town.
If you listen here, carefully,

place your ear against the drainpipe
that sinks beneath the street, you hear
like a half-forgotten dream sound
the far off ocean is breathing

and phantom children laughing – us,
but from a lighter, freer time –
the beach reaches both horizons
the one on the sky’s edge, and then

the other – where the wave’s instep
glows green or blue – glass in the sun –
I brush new sand from the black bricks
and then place my hands on the dunes

V.117

A canvas: on uncertain blue
place a pink tear and a black plane
moving across the sky. Fragments
of torn cotton ringed with magma

beyond the train that collects thoughts
as it passes – dreams of metal
and paint, and nights of sweat on seats
of blue nylon. Dark reflections

in the glass as country lights slide –
each a knot in the night canvas
that rocks sleepiness into us.
Brakes squeal, and I am back again.

On the York train once someone put
a shopping trolley full of rocks
on the tracks. Metal squealed and tore
and I was mildly shocked. Around,

people glanced at the sidings, sat
still in their seats til the rattling
stopped, and the rain began. I sit
on this bus and look at the dusk

and use mindfulness to silence –
or some material memories
– dull you in my mind. I paint you
out but like sun you ramify

Path

Occasionally walk down a path such that you wouldn’t mind to die at the end of it. Having seen the beech seed pods’ dark red and the leaves’ brown, damp on the verges, having felt the cold breeze chill your hand on the umbrella, having said ‘cold I welcome you for a moment’ til it echoes in your fingers and having heard the pop of the rain on plastic like rice crispies in a bowl on a quiet morning. And the greens oh the greens of the trees in towering walls and your lone figure at the base. And the end comes with a sigh of a ‘we have to die sometime. And now is a moment for that, having walked down that path.’ Across the way, the hill of trees sits in the misty rain, magentas and grey greens. Colours shore us.

But there remains this; that an act of self abnegation is a kind of assertion of authority over the world. For the following reasons. Either you believe you should stop, in which case you believe you are powerful and too powerful to change yourself, a contradiction. Or you believe your assessment of things is the most true, which is arrogant, considering the world. Or your abnegation is in itself a challenge to the world, since you believe you can still win by not wanting anything. Or something else. If you would just submit to things, you would have a better time, but that’s what I was saying, wasn’t it? No, I was saying something else. I forget.

Outside it has rained on and off all night. The sodden tea bag is cold in the bottom of the cup. I pop a small fruit gum in my mouth and chew it.