Bail

They say, We reject these stones

A ways off builders continue to
Slap wet mortar, hails and
Hallows in shared
Enterprise

As always, Turn windward or away

Sepulchres need whitewashing
Buttresses need buttresses
Trenches fill with water

Accusing, Grab a bucket or
bail

end to end

give each bird a name
lest

forgetful seeps underdoor
before open eyes

recite
each
one

whose name skipped
from sky falls

& other lies
whose invented name

is nothing
whose peckish e major
is nothing
whose latin anatomy
is nothing

you who lay end to end letters
lay top to bottom names

lay & do invent
ory

husk in husk

on a more personal note
i’ve not been able to sleep
lately and so–

do you remember the fountain
i would have lingered there forever
water to be seen but not drunk

putrid with disease and dazzling
i see myself collecting its mist
in valleys below cheekbones

to fill my hallowed out head
bowed in prayer and kneeling
not in weakness but in weakness

presenting to the quarter-angels
subservience to ever-flowing water
as demanded by quarter-prophets

but for a coin a wish a toss
i would have lingered there forever
with you husk in husk

pomegranates

choke down blonde bombshells
lily-of-valley-white

stripped of what civilised veneer
offered turning away from it

finally we are ourselves
mutter boys with arms for swords

whose fingers long knives
sheath almond fog

this world this mutton to be ground
underfoot unnamed animals groan

muzzled at thresh
ripe pomegranates bursting open

seed between molars burst
centuries old tang

most vital

what value wends
mid-throbbing horde

small bird sotto voce
borrowed tongue

you who listen
listen closely

critically not language
not meaning not tableau

but listen listen
listen most vital

most revolutionary
act

March 18

False spring this year, all brass, centre-of-the-road,
gone with what tempo it came. February, the deceitfully
short month.

There were flurries after that, but half-hearted.
No accumulation to speak of, no drifts.

March 18. Middle of the day we saw optimists
in sawed-off trousers shouting the winter over.

They might be right. But then I’ve seen many a false spring,
two to a season. No much more to say than
I’ve seen them.

Magnetism

I keep a piece of stone in my head,
just behind my eyes. It is magnetic
and points me home.

If you ask me “where is home?”
I will say “ask the stone.”
I am not a map.

Sometimes I come to a body of water.
I build a boat. Is this not why
anyone builds boats?

The boat sinks. I build another.
I drink the water and die of thirst.
I build another.

If you say to me “tell me your story.”
I will tell you the story of the stone.
I am not an author.

If you say to me “I am your home.”
I will say nothing, but start
building another.

satisfaction

balloon-shackled
plummets (scuttled) cloudward

its choice we undertone
understandable we mutter

such humdrum business here
our vast concretes

we who navigate by torchlight cigarettes
who guzzle uncountable cakes

its chosen sky Jesus
its sensible harp sweeps

not these thunderheaded alleyways
not these lightningous fingers