I am sorry, for not being
strong enough, when it counted.
The moments of this world whir in
an unstoppable black fountain
My eyes are blurry and ears, blocked,
my jaw is tightened and grinding –
Looking back has turned me to salt
but the distant light is brightening
All of our acts will be redeemed
if we accept this grace – the world
is void of magic, but still seems
to glow in air. Red flag unfurled:
May we fight side by side on walls
where inhuman hordes throng – and see
a grey wizard rise and fall
down the hills like a rattling stream
May we stand side by side and hold
the hope of some lost child in hand
presiding on a field of bone
when the horns sound, and the last man
arrives, having settled accounts
at sunrise, hallowed light in form
of a prelude, thunder of mounts
hooves on a plain, be eagle-borne
Unbelievable. Words are meant for pages,
not to echo over the fields behind houses
disturbing the moths in their evening light.
Words are meant only for games
and this is not a game. I said stop.
You need to speak now, we’re here.
I’m here, you’re here, we’re here.
What are we playing at? What just happened?
We had an ice-cream together
and it was like the last ice-cream piece
of the ice cream puzzle. But it’s gone.
We were like two intercity kiloton trains
that missed the crash we could have been.
Ignorant that all of us crash, it’s life.
But our verdict is not stayed by vague gestures.
You are like the frame of everything;
I’m like your cracked painting.
And you’re mine. You’re my painting,
my nude by Georges Braque, a person,
but unlike any person they know.
I could never have said this ’til now,
it’s like someone is speaking through me,
my voice is no longer my own,
so I’m going to take this chance to say
I love you, M, I’ve said it before.
But I don’t think we ever got through
to a precise entailment of that statement.
You are the thorn in my side that I need.
You are the constant pain that lets me know I’m alive.
Or am I that to you? I’ve lost track. But that’s it;
If they tried to unweave me from this world,
they’d have to take you too, otherwise
what’s left would not make sense.
You’re like the light by which I am seen.
Without you I am not me.
We evolve together like the beetle and magnolia,
But who is which, changes.
Stop, let me make you a statue to yourself.
Let me be your pedestal. Let us hold us.
Stop, let me punch your enemies in the nose,
and redeem all your relations.
Let me become something that we become together
Let us realise that we become together.
Stop, let’s lie down here in our hole, our glass sphere
And work through everything in glorious variations
of sex, like we were carved by the ancients.
Things are going wrong all the time
And we aren’t owning it. Let us own it.
When we are hurt, we are the uneasy angel,
making uncertain vows to save us.
Now Editor, Stop. Allow us this
Of course things happen in unlikely ways,
Let’s not be melodramatic about it.
Leave the future to those who live there.
We are our fate.
In Magnolia, abusers are forgiven their crimes by frogs falling from the sky. This means that it answers its own question about the coincidence or not of events with a resounding dollop of ‘everything is chaos’. Or it must be a sort of redemption story, having this Christian vibe. But who is redeemed? We are given reasons for some of the abusers’ behaviour, but that doesn’t constitute a redemption. Breaking down in tears is not a redemption, nor is a phone call. Dying is not a redemption, nor is admitting to wrongdoing. Redemption is the hard work that comes after the realisation of wrongdoing, and the apology.