cow parsley already blown
i’m standing there saying
i choose the fucking moksha
the trees are like and ?
they talk amongst themselves
they sing their song of summer
and I’m like
do I need to break my face ?
everything’s like yeah yeah and
next it will be autumn
i belong to myself
in that belonging i soar
eagle – sky – nothing
if you put your ear to stone
you will hear me laughing
i belong to you
i love you and i don’t
i love you and i don’t
i love you and i don’t
any longer have the space for it
which is why it keeps spilling out like this
all over the place
in the south where the days hang back to back and come at a person too many and too thick
and the women slump dead at their station
down there between Colón and Rayón
where the flies hold dominion
the witch goes after her business
her fat dog strung into silence by the neck
patient as bones
she smells of the sea and the fish she peddles
but the cat won’t go near her as singing
she takes a needle to my ribs
she’s making a sutra to the new
singing of a day when the world spun the other way
and she worked the capital
black hair swinging blue past her arse
i was good at it she says and snaps the thread
(there won’t be a going back)
and if you want you can look to where she looks over her shoulder
and into the past and the face of a trick
he bucks and squeals like a stuck pig
wild for her boyish ass
wild for her boyish dick
wild for oh oh oh Perlita
oh she cackles and her teeth spark gold
i was good at it
the faces of her grandmother and her great grandmother and something other not human nor even animal flit across her like shades on a mountain
she might be ten thousand as well as fifty
and her hands move strong as thought
do you have a friend who died ?
i look into my past and see no one
you will she says and laughs
a thing we can be sure of
and if you look up in the night when every fan screams maximum
you will see her high across the face of an egg yolk moon
moving along the invisible line the spider makes
spilling from her tattered baskets the pearls of turtle eggs
the tumbling shard a shark’s fin
the illegal she takes door to door
buying passage for the ones who’ve dropped the thread
who’ve lost the place
who’ve found themselves on their knees holding nothing but the sickness of their need to leave all this behind
to take in both trembling hands the thing she offers
and what I say when her back is turned and i’m holding out the red pouch – bones and hay and skin – she’s dropped inside my palm
what do i do with this ?
but she’s already gone singing about a mountain she’s known since she was a girl
the one which walks from place to place looking always sideways for a home
and the sea goes with her
and the song goes with her
and the gate clangs shut as
outside the women are coming to
shaking sensible slumbering children
brushing flies from sticky mouths
crying out their wares again: tamales tamales
comes the rumble as time re-starts
and in my hand the lightest gleam of gossamer
it pulls back faint and frightening
i don’t know where i am going or at what cost
she alone has both sides of the bargain
but i am going
it’s Lola with her hoop
she’s dancing on the edge of time
twirling on a straw
wearing that same old dirty bikini
the one she’s worn all week
she’s whirling in her stratosphere fast enough
to bring her heart in pieces back together
you know what she says (her laughter’s in a bubble)
reaches up takes the hoop from the sky
it’s turning on the crescent of her hand and higher
(she can make the stars stop)
her anklets gone ecstatic
do you know my biggest fear ?
it’s spinning on her neck now
her leg held high like an indian god
Lola with her eyes on fire
she’s dancing on the rings of Saturn
eh ? she says it fiercer
one two catches it behind her head
claps and laughs outloud
being alone she says and blinks as if to say :
and there’s the gift
her hips keep the world’s spin
her eyes tell the truth
what Lola doesn’t know but will find out
is it’s the only thing she’s ever known.
the only thing she’ll ever know
alone is when she absolutely burns with life
pink sky yellow field
moon sails pale as paper
over trees which haven’t heard its spring yet
(the bite would take your nose)
it stirs something in me
something ancient which tugs at my throat
at my belly
It’s This Way
New Review of Black Milk (pub. Albion Beatnik)
Nicola G: f**king genius. It’s brilliant, beautiful, heart breaking, illuminating, inventive. My breath was taken so many times. GENIUS!
it might look like this when you piss off god:
pinned to the dust by her boot
toe heel black and business either side of your pretty throat
flaxen locks gone haywire
mala all om namah and counting
it might look like that
who knows ?
it looks like this :
a row of dots which shout out joining
it looks like my grandmother
still tall at 90
the one I haven’t seen in years
standing in the cold on her balcony
facing south to where the old grey river leans
bent to feed a bird
the fat brown wife of the sleek black one
her hair slightly lifting
it looks like reaching across the miles
across the years to ask her if she’d mind
if i stood with her while
the mountains i am going to are the ones
people have always gone to
to escape the constant sound of
everything always wanting
to find the thing which doesn’t want, nada
it looks like – will I need my jumper ? – home
sometimes out there on the ring road
when it’s spring but not yet warm
and the day is done but it’s not yet night
sometimes out there
when the trees are blind and
i’ve got myself untethered
from time and from the phone
from thinking even
and i’m there driving
with all the others
and we’re all driving
around sunday night and what monday’s going to mean
around the rows of houses and
all our lives lived back to back
through the months and
past the robin pert and standing
on the handle of a spade
around the pennies saved for rainy days
it’s all so fucking beautiful
this driving – all of us
around our inevitable descent into decrepitude
and sometimes out there on the ring road
my arms dissolve
the road goes blue and
there’s an ecstasy in the hum
and there we all are turning rings round being
vanished into the nub of what is left
before we’re born and when we’re gone
the thing which hides in every single thing and lasts forever
just turning circles around it
around the great plug
before we glug glug down into it
sucked into the ecstasy of everything
i will fritter my life
on tutus on glitter
on pets and on picnics
on round the world tickets
on flat soya whites
and organic cigarettes and
circles of thought around
cows coming home
on tantrums and true love
on dreams of a house
and i’ll fritter my life
– all of it –
here in my hands
my head on the floor
– take it it’s yours –
this whole frittering life
so I’m sat there like i don’t know how
a piece of what must sit amongst gram for gram the world’s most expensive fish
hanging off my chopsticks
when god walks in
he’s filthy skinny and his hair is wild
he’s up on crutches his trousers torn
his shoes all gaping in the front
and those toes have not seen soap in like forever
but there is no mistake: all teeth and no teeth
then those eyes
the ones which shout out anything goes
in front of which the angels kneel
and we’re all sat there saying No and looking at our plates
No Gracias to god and whatever god is selling
whatever he’s holding out on that tray
love or liberation or chiclets chewing gum
then there’s this woman
she’s got her hand out not even looking
and god goes over
all lopsided and grinning his unhurried crutches click click click
he’s lighting up this whole fucking place
and then we all can see it
we’re fishing in our purses in our pockets
holding out our coins
pick me pick me
there’s even someone crying
oh fuck it’s me
one time when I died they asked me :
and what do you regret ?
so I told them
yeah and maybe sometimes not allowing all of me to show
and they said go back then and do it
so i did
someone taught you once when you was just a babe
it isnt safe to shine
cos when you shine
you stepdaddy can’t keep his cunting fingers to himself
o is for oceans x is for x-ray and m is for mammy turn-her-back
but I tell you girl
you shining face the only one we got
when the sun aint out
which where I come from be more than 10 month in a year
so bring you stepdaddy here
an i go rip his cancer cunting balls off
cut his stupid fingers to they stump
toss them in an arc of yes
brightest shape them fingers ever made
and you get back to what you meant for
shining shining showing showing
exactly always what means living
someone ripped the soul from this country
ripped it out rolled it up
scarfed it down for lunch
hooters, denny’s, the world famous cinnamon bun company but
iguana won’t be blunted
he spins his eye on the roulette of account
blacker than the burned out suns
black for balance
we crowd about him snapping photos
leaning up against our jeeps
our tee shirts cry out Pura Vida
he waits he blinks he walks
amongst the bottles and the butt ends and the pepsi paper cups
the endless scurf left by our living
he sees he counts he counts he sees
then slowly climbs the last tree standing
i wish my cheeks would burn with what we’ve done
with what we do in every moment
but there isn’t any fight
i will go down with this stupid rotten ship
in the dark days you slept like a fox inside my heart
your red body curled around the seed
when the light came you opened up one eye sly and counting and slid out
i didn’t see you for 1000 years
and when I did your coat was torn
burned with every fuck and fight and every trick you’d ever used
you made to jump back up
i told you no. i didn’t have a choice
i loved you and 1000 years had been too long
besides when you left you scarified my heart
scratched it tore it scored it up all over until
in the place of hard a guild had sprung
and then a forest
planet after planet after life opening into itself
spawning entire systems of untamed
and i discovered myself so damned teeming – look –
i got lost in the wonder of it all
Five interlinking short stories about a troubled 12 year old and her attempts to navigate the overwhelming landscape of puberty, her mother and the Smokey Haze disco, Black Milk a is published by Albion Beatnik Press and available from albionbeatnik.co.uk for £4 plus p&p.
and the cook came out
finished for the night
in his buttoned over black
dusted with tortilla flour
came right to where I sat and
took his cigarette from his mouth
and put it in the hand that held his beer
and like a randy dog and rude
pulled me fingers hard from the oven
into him and put his tongue across my neck
and laughing held me there inside the music
pinned against his thigh
while outside on the street the packs of wild dogs
hungry baying swerve across the road
and night belongs to them
the world has something for you
she is wet with wild and waiting
i know you are thirsty
don’t go back to sleep
like a jackal he comes across the street
diagonal relentless nosing into half light
direction food and fucking and somewhere soft to rest his head
the sun’s already half way up
and the night was long
a paper cup rolls to give him way:
here he’s king
i am sick
there is so much I want
love a horse the moon
you to keep wanting me like that
and more. always more
the doctor prescribes taking off my shoes
at least three times a day
it’s how he says the women in Guatemala
won their battle against monsanto
against the genetically modified rapaciousness
which breeds death and want
and then more of it
their sturdy toes splayed in the red earth
their words coming like arrows straight from the heart of it
lamp of your great moose heart searches
riding over tree and shadow
nosing blunt into the forest
i skip among trees
quick as spit
leaping fences stubbing out my laughter in my own hand
ducking into where you aren’t
you raise your face blowing on the sharp air
one two three
i’m high above your head
holding to the last wisp of a dandelion clock
tears bursting from my face
we have only time left to play in
which is why you pretend you can’t find me
and I pretend I can’t be found
today on a spreading plain high up in the high sierra
i saw god in his garden
straw hat dust and ancient legs
as though he’d spent his life on a horse
i didn’t say anything
i was on a bus just passing through
but today I saw god in his garden
and the marigolds turned their shining faces
to see him pass
i poured a drink
and named it thirst
it hit the table problem solved
i opened up longing
and called it love
and saw that lack can be the answer
and it’s language that has caused the problem
so i made a new world with
half the words
and sure enough
life came sweet again
there is something holding up all of this
holding it lightly in the palm of her hand
the clouds that roll across the mountains
the bright birds
the 43 sick to the stomach – I cannot imagine
when they knew what was happening
the men with guns lost enough to do it
the mayor and his wife dead enough to give the order
and look she holds us all – each one – so sweetly
how can it be ?
my father was away a lot try always
and my mother was the Truman Show
she stuck a dome over us
and everything as far as the eye
including thinking belonged to her
i was old enough when i ran out of air
and took a pair of scissors to the sky
it wasn’t easy
and i was on my knees
but for the first time ever i saw the stars
the soft of his mouth the
hard of his cock the soft
of his voice sometimes
when he speaks to me
the hard of his hand
just below each finger
where earlier in the sun
he held a spade
thrusting deep over and over
into the rough earth
bringing up root and potato
and root and potato
undoing what has been done
making new again
they say you meet him three times
the second was in mexico
right across from ricos raspas
and I said no
until he came on over
bold as church
in front of san domingo
the dust rallied to his clatty hooves
and all the women selling blouses
you want two fingers or three ?
por favor and
pushed me up against the cool adobe and
bit my mouth making blood
listen how my body sings
opens like a stupid flower
and there i am
i’m on my knees
crying to the wrong god
por favor camisas blusas
bound like that
until we meet again
sometimes when I go see god
an i am smilin smilin
pretty pretty on my toes
an she aint please to see me
giving me the old flat eye
an i start thinkin same old same old
i am bad an piss off god
get me all crunch up like that
send me back into alone
til one day someday in the blue
the stars have moved an i remember aha
god jus god
doin always her blindin god thing
helpin showin pointin out
where I still bent up crunch up not a queen
an i aint bad an she aint pissed
an there we are jus counting days an rolling dice
an i come back to smilin smilin
dancing dancing on my toes
she said :
open wide your arms
in a gesture of receiving
and I will give you
the World *
* she did
this town is working roundtheclock
to keep out living
and something here is dying – me
the black and grey the neat lace shoes
the walking fast the always somewhere going
thinking mending future fighting so hard to keep it out
the foreign undesirable detained indefinite at the lip
i’ve started going round the back to where the bins are
smelling what it is I will remember
what it is we’re made of what is living
the crying screaming bleeding heart cut open
joy of what it is to be a human something
in me mourns the place I used to live as
filling in a sandwich safe between the whorehouse
open like a frontsoff dollshouse
and the battered women’s shelter
the men all night like baying dogs
swaying on their hindlegs lola
i know you can hear me bitch
come down here so I can break your fucking head
drunk and throwing bottles at the stars
yours is every mouth
and mine is every flesh
and ours is every bad love
and ground into every bobbled fibre
that does the good work
and keeps this earth from spinning wild free
off its fucking axis
into any single
a friend’s been reading my poems
i like then he said
some he went on
look like they only took one second to write
they did i said
he laughed and said
i still like them
as in despite
and as though somehow
he’d stuck out his pale neck.
i looked at him until i had remembered the rules:
a week should take seven days
and a poem longer than one second to make
before all this got shore up
bird tree mine his
before any that got put on
out where sky an water same same
out here kneeling
in the dark blaze earth
gonna pluck out new sounds
cut new runnels
same blood thirsty now
quick for new veins
boiling to bust open old words
to that one
used to say
make me whole
now i say
who goes back ?
so finish this job
take me direct to what will
shatter me completely
so the night sky stops looking like that:
into all star
i don’t remember too much about getting raped
i guess he drugged me pretty good
i don’t remember too much: try nothing
and woke up strange to
piece together clothes I couldn’t remember and
didn’t understand why are they scattered like this
and isn’t it funny ?
i didn’t even notice a part of me had died
it took me ten whole years to allow the possibility
sometimes i think about kicking him in the balls hard enough that his eyes burst
and other times i see him quiet in front of his flatscreen
he’s watching britney spears
and i ask him: sweet my love did you get the thing you needed ?
but most of the time i don’t think about him at all :
see, the part in me that died, she got reborn
she’s a lot of fun (i think you’d like her)
her name’s Kali
thing is she just doesn’t have the time for everyone
there’s a place
at the crossroads
where everyone’s welcome
the jihadis come
pulling at their trousers
and restless of foot
fistbump and never give up
and the school children’s
ties hang thirsty
as the Baobab
clustered round chocolate
and it’s here that love lands
cooling its ardor and
bickering like doves
over kitchen appliances
in the new Argos catalogue
and it’s where I come
making my jihad, drinking my chocolate
and cooling my ardor:
fistbump and never give up
these hills are dark
and this river
through the ages of rock and iron
carving out her quiet bowl
has earned her place
you can smell her secrets
and much gets done over time
and everything earns her place
why, in the name of everything that is sweet
that is ripe
that is living
would you dream a thigh gap
when you have the other
twin peaches meeting
wherever you go
kissing over and over
whispering one against the other
remembering always and
everywhere you will ever walk
what is love
it isn’t in black and it isn’t
in any tree even on that day the first bud cracks
i’m not it
and nor is he
and the space between us isn’t
even when it’s festooned in words like bunting
it’s not in butter
or inside any tear even if it’s on the rapist’s own cheek
it’s not in thought
or in space between thought
(like that happens anyway)
it’s not in not and it isn’t in nowhere
so where is it ?
if you look you’ll see it
right there on the goat that nearly died
it’s in the line of her sister’s neck
the way it curves reaching to tuck and claim
to pull it down into her own
it’s in the ‘s’ of those necks linking
you are and
and we are
and this is how
and don’t you dare
to let that happen
i’m dreaming of a little brown horse I love which died
i’m dreaming of a bright day in which he strolls back into my life
cracks me on the skull with the lethal underside of his jaw
worries with his rubber lips the front of my shirt
and comes down systematic snapping off the buttons
spitting each one out
back then there was nothing going on under there
now it might be that he’d be surprised
and hopefully in a good way
it looked a day like any other:
the plane trees whispered same old same old
and july came hot off the fat arch road
i went to the co-op to buy food for my dog
and it looked a day like any other until
the cashier plucked the box from my basket
and looking every word into my eyes said
‘i love you and i want to marry you’
i was surprised at how deep in me each word landed
‘i might not make a good wife’ i said wanting time
‘why?’ he asked his sweet head angled as he spiralled the Baker’s Choice
the tumbling biscuits shouted applause
‘i’d probably do my own thing a lot of the time’
he smiled like that was already given
‘every time I came in you’d have to give me a discount’
with a lazy arm he caught a card which hung from the till
and i watched the numbers plummet
‘think about it’ he said
on the way home the biscuits rattled
and the plane trees whispered
and i thought about it and one of the thoughts said why not ?
let’s live a little
rain takes my face in both her hands
says see ?
i do almost and then i don’t
see what ? playing here for time
way the hush comes
way the leaves come
the way when you come
writing this down
and this isn’t
can you see it ?
i’m trying i tell her
shakes out her wet hair allover me
day is dark
and wind blows greasy low
across apples slumped in rotted grass
the sun isn’t bothered
by last night’s bottles
sentinel row of sour mistakes
i’m sat here at the table
nosing into soul
this is not the worst i’ll feel today
it doesn’t matter though
and none of it matters
as somewhere on the other side of the world
holding out your arms for the stars
making something always
stitching the woman who served my lunch
rice or potatoes ?
onto my dog’s face the second time i left
sewing that onto tomorrow
and again onto my dog’s soft eyes
that onto next year
and a man i once loved
onto all of these feelings
coming and going and some staying longer
in the soft bowl of evening
i hold it up
my sewn together map
screw up my eyes
see if i can read it
see if i’ve made sense yet
i went to the matisse cut-outs
saw plain my soul need :
explode colour with colour
shunt word against word
there’s something in me which says
fuck peace :
let’s make fireworks
i’ve changed my mind
decided after all
i don’t want to sit peaceful for a thousand years
stories life all passing through
so many clouds on empty air
i want to get my hands dirty
all the way up my arms
and then i want to flounder
day and all the night
in thick mud of my own creation
i want to get shocking filthy
deep down dirty
in everything it means to be alive
marquee of stone squats vast as pyramids
each granite arch yawns wider
no sun no warmth may enter
who owns this space ?
not god not me not the priest here
not the devoted who file through each day
ants moving over granite to kiss a picture
a pair of pigeons made black by the stone
flaps across the gaping void
wings inside this place shocking loud
they sit high up in the great dome
at home and chattering in places beyond our reach
the meek have inherited
past sits heavy on these shoulders
leeches from the fabric of the coats
makes heavy weather on the pedestrian precinct
yet in amongst the old burns the new:
it’s in the surge of the puppy on its lead
in the flurries of the seed head swirling up
as though earth isn’t the only place
it’s in the child who offers the wink
so slow so deliberate that it’s clear:
things are not what they seem
and in no way are things what they seem:
it’s going to happen any minute
altogether now and on the count of three:
everyone unzips their anorak
throws off the past:
it’s a dance routine they’ve been working on
the whole of the past century.
the girl said
where you live you not have ownerless-dog ?
no I said expecting congratulation
on the super-efficient ownerless-dog-free land from which I come
her face turned fretful
to the open window which gaped on the street
sad she said, so sad
we loves the dogs
and the dogs loves us
i turned to where she looked
out over her city of dogs
soaring and lolling and fat in the sun
doing the good work of getting loved
receiving and receiving
in a place which has known loss
over and forever
i went to church today
and i asked jesus if i could be like him
show me i said
he laughed and said
i showed you that already
(aware of the iron hot in which i was)
is there any way you could could be minded to put me in the way of it ?
you are that
i said if that’s true
how come I feel so fucking lonely ?
and he said
you think I didn’t ?
come to the edge of the map
take the boulevard pocked by the past
drop off the page
where faces read cyrillic
and sense makes other
and fear pries its fingers into what happened
and those lighting candles and signing the cross
and coming out backwards
still wear their anoraks:
they might not get home
meanwhile the dogs lie baking in the sun
fat as sausages
at home in today
grinning in what it means to be alive
thirteen years and tasting freedom
roll out dark across the tongue
blow that smoke into forever
through the open bedroom window
through the branches of the tree
through this small town getting smaller
french inhale and taste the freedom
time is mine and
on we ride
and a happy ever after
not yet thought
but on its way
thirteen years and dreaming freedom
blowing smoke into the face of an owl
grey sky won’t crack: can’t risk blue
dirty traffic rumbles on
people move about their days
along the pavement
across the road
off the bus
alone and all together
galaxies of dreams and plans and sadnesses spiral out through every head:
a universe within a universe moving towards a better one
today i’m sat here
ok (somewhat) with any of it
wind through poplar silvers ear
lifts leaves turns them silver
sweet tongue whispers
words I cannot make
hold wide my ears to prayer
still I cannot hear
my own mouth comes :
blow through my hair
turn me silver
bowl me through this town
the other side
to where the hookup
knows this hunger
keeps the food
and waits and waits and
counts his silver
words make boxes
fit things inside
like: how are you
like: i am fine
good small bite size
put on lid
shut up tight and
things i like
things i don’t like
soul not happy
soul need wings
say: if you don’t got nothing made of this:
(snorts, stamps hoof, earth yields: hungry for connection)
you don’t got nothing
soul still not happy
gonna come by your place nighttime
ransack your garage
burn down your neat stack boxes
while you sound there sleeping in your little box bed filing dreams away alphabetical:
ok or not ok.
now soul happy
Who knew everything would turn out so bossy ?
I’ve hardly walked in the door
When everything raises up
Comes tumbling to compete
Each voice loud:
Wash me up
Throw me out
Pick me up
And put my lid on.
Even the garden can’t keep its mouth shut.
If I’d wanted this I’d have had children
Or more parents.
Day hangs in the balance
Balance tips and
We slide into evening.
Amid the clamour
The soul pulls out a picture
It’s of a tiny place north of here
Made of wood and along from anything
Here she says we can be free.
You me and your dog.
Here she says the three of us will lie on sheepskin
Take our turn to tend the fire
And when we’re quiet
We’ll hear the song of wolves and wind.
Of wind and wolves.
And that soaring will be our song.
And together we will sing.
Wolf throws back her head
Cries out in the infinite lack
The sound goes
Over and over against mountains
Comes back unchanged
No wolf no thing answers
Not even the north wind
For who can answer that ?
There won’t be an answer:
Everything we need to know
Is written on that first sound
That strange vowel of want
Offered and swallowed time and times over
Which sits forever
Black and flung about with tears
I want to get with you.
I’ve wanted it my whole entire life.
Which is why I spend my days looking to bump into you
My nights planning my days
And the places inbetween so restless
You’re so fucking elusive
I never find you on facebook
Or outside: don’t you like fresh air ?
You are like no one
And so refined
I’m wondering if you passed through a sieve – professional grade double zero – more than once.
I’ve never met anyone who makes me laugh as much
Infact you’re dazzling
I don’t know how you do it
Or how I can be more available than this
And sticking it up here naked:
We could make
Wow. I said it.
So how do I (stop laughing) get with you ?
All. The. Time.
The girl who’s making my coffee tells the other girl
The French one with the same earrings as me (£5.99 from the shop on the high street)
‘George met a girl’
‘Oh no’ (the French one, laughing as in: we all know what that means)
‘Yeah’ (my one) ‘and then she died’.
The French girl’s head swings round the earrings jingle her jaw drops leaving her mouth like that open.
‘Yeah’ my one tasting something bitter, ‘she died the next day’.
Then the French girl asks, quickly-quietly like it might not be ok, ‘Did he like her?’
My girl, bent to swirl a pattern in the milk, frowning nods her ‘yeah’.
So this love and death.
And this is how they come and go mostly when we’re not expecting.
What I want to know is about the girl.
The one who died.
I want to know whether she liked George.
And I want to say: Yes.
I don’t know too much about death – or love – but as far as death goes, it would be nice to think there can be sweetness at that gate.
Ducklings came today
New as pins
Fast as gold
And good as ping pong balls
Zipping out all over the river
I watched one bounce a foot
And land its legs splayed wide apart
Spinning in delight
Of feather and flesh and spirit
All combusting for the first time here
And I thought
Fuck the odds
The snapping turtles
The snooping dogs
The chance of death
Most won’t survive so what?
Perhaps it’s not about survival
Perhaps it never was:
There’s only now
And here I am
So watch me jump
I came past a cherry tree all out pink in flower
It smelled so delicate, so fleeting sweet
It reminded me of happiness
And for a second I was happy.
It got me thinking
How could I be always happy?
The answer came:
If that cherry tree was mine
And stood all day outside my window
That’s how I’d be happy.
A cloud came then:
The tree would have to blossom 24/7
I felt like crying:
I’ll never be happy and yet
I’m always happy
And the tree has nothing to do with it.
It’s just day in day out a cherry tree busy doing its own generous and ecstatic cherry thing.
I saw trees
Standing over rooftops against the blue bright night
Still like card
Yet so completely jazzing
I was stunned
Then I saw the moon
How is it I had never seen the moon
Except through borrowed eyes ?
I saw houses
Each brick burned
Laid one on top by hands from years ago for other lives:
I saw them moving in and moving out and sofas stuck in every doorway.
And it was against all this jumping blazing fire-in-every-atom life
I saw that every thought I’ve ever had
Even all that thinking mapping furrowed so hard making sense
Has been so out of place
So entirely ridiculous
That I am blind.
I am seared with a longing so burnt in
I’m afraid one day I’ll suck the whole world down
And when that’s not enough
I’ll scream tears until all of life drowns
Then I’ll come roaring through the four corners sat astride a grief to finish what’s left.
This thirst is desert: I’ll drink the galaxy dry.
The next one too.
This is me the whirling screaming ravenous one
Built on tears and thighs and noremorse
That echoes through the whole of time.
The one who has to be in bed (and ideally asleep) by 11 o’clock each night.
It’s right there on the uneven line in the cobbly upcurve of that Beatrix Potter roof
And there again in the dizzy cherry blossom stuck ridiculous all over that tree
The one that will start blizzarding anymoment candyfloss pink
And it’s there in the roundy shapes of the bright white clouds bobbing all over the sky
I’m seeing it everywhere today:
The promise of a time when everything
And love rules
And what matters
Are the simple things
And milking the goat.
Last week I got hold of the longing for what is missing
I swear to God I saw it all the way around and laughed.
I bundled it used bubble wrap and put it in a box.
And sent it to myself
Next day when the postman knocked
I had on lipstick
And smiling took the package, signed his screen
And nodded with a secret Oh I will when he told me to Enjoy.
I closed the door and stood a moment.
So this would be the day.
And this is what that day looked like:
Yellow, buttery. Midmorning.
If there’d been a clock it might have struck.
I broke the box
I burst the bubbles
I tore it open
And there inside
I’m still trying to make sense of what happened.
On top of that
The postage cost a fortune.
Apparently everything you write down in a poem comes true
Especially – they say – if the poem doesn’t rhyme
Which is why I’m writing
In particular order none
Porsche, midnight blue (cream leather interior).
Words. In wild new arrangement allowing new worlds, all worlds, possibilities, things, no things.
Of the endless, clifftop dancing naked kiss-the-earth variety
For all of us.
Oh and some music to go along with that.
The heart asked again today
If I could allow her sadness.
I didn’t say anything.
Just hurried around
Planting sweet peas
Writing down words like:
‘Today I planted sweet peas
As lately there’s been a lack’.
The next time she asked
I said of course
And went up the road for cake
All the time wondering whose house
I might go round to later for a gin and tonic
Preferably I was thinking
Someone who’s ok with smoking
Later when the heart reached with her little fingers
For my hand
I was busy trying to download a TV show
Is there any way
She asked again
I could allow it ?
I didn’t know and I don’t know
And I still don’t know
But what I do know
Is right now
That little hand
Just resting there
You. Are. It.
At each of your darling little toes
And know what every one of them already knows:
That You in all your razzle dazzle stardust
You in all your fear
You in all your great small greatness:
You. Are. It.
Last night I dreamt a little red fox jumped over the round clear moon
I was the moon and you were the fox
That doesn’t matter though
What does is that right there in that moon jump was the magic I’ve been trying to get to forever
I woke sad and made it my work to find a place on the earth
Secret cool and soft
Where I could press my self my tongue into her yielding body
And taste again
That seething teaming wild place where things get made.
You weren’t in the museum amongst the illuminated manuscripts.
And I can tell you, I looked really closely.
You weren’t in the vanilla chai latte I had later on in the cafe.
(The girl who made it could have told me that).
You weren’t in the gift shop.
Nor in the cry of the seagull on the roof.
And I (for one) couldn’t find you in the endless blue sky.
As I can’t see you now on these words.
Or in the spaces between these fingers which have been with me from the start.
So where are you?
I’ve made up my mind:
I’m going to start putting it about that we’re sleeping together.
How else – unless I’m spending eight with you out of every 24 – could I put up with any of this?
I just read a Rumi poem that pissed me off:
The one about the Love Dogs
About how the howl of the dog for its master IS the connection
I can tell you right off:
This time around that’s not going to be enough.
Beautiful old willow
Last week curled and draped upon our river
Nodding sagely to the passing ducks
Today stands devastated
Split in two by last night’s storm
Interior milk white grinning
Gaped entirely to the world
Tragic end to noble tree?
Or just the answer to the question it was asking its entire life?
Think: does crocus put the brakes on crocus?
Brave first flower.
Pale cup reaching, opening, gold heart first into the light.
Is crocus always questioning, ordering:
Not like that. Like this.
White I think: Improve or die unloved.
Always angry mending
Until crocus has no idea of how or why or which way now.
This must be our Fall From Grace
Hard enough pushing through blank earth
Black with ice
Eyeless indefinable nosing towards something: light perhaps.
Hard enough without that voice:
what did I tell you?-see?-who can love you?
Yet not hard at all
When there’s no other choice and only one direction.
It’s late and the soul picks her sweet way through the debris:
‘I can’t believe you said that, ate that, smoked that;
of course they don’t like you; why would they?; look at the state of you’.
She picks her sweet way between smoldering rafters, over burnt out stories.
Through smoke and flame and the charred remains of what has fallen.
I don’t know how she does it,
but even her shoes stay clean.
Hard to remember always that we share a soul
You, I, the vicar who almost ran me over on his bicycle
The one who frowned before remembering.
Offered an ‘even vicars…’ kind of smile.
The one who might do a sermon on it
On patience at the weekend.
‘Even I’ perhaps he’ll start.
Ego speaks and soul separates
Into me. You.
On Sunday high up in his eyrie.
I’m wondering what remembering looks like:
Silent, infinite love-orgy
And what the password* for that party might be.
*PM me pls if u got it thx
Today my soul will not take flight
On flock of words to wheel and scatter
To make new shapes
Turn silver in the light
Today it stays down here sulky flat and dark as lead
It says it’s trapped between my body
And the earth
The thing is right now I can’t be bothered to get off it.
Maybe I’ll see how long I can keep it there.
Sorrow wants to know how we met and through whom and whether I’m actually entitled to know her.
‘You see’ she says in her softly voice ,
‘You don’t have a child who is dying
Your partner has not gone terminal
Your clitorus appears to be intact
And even the lump growing from your dog’s foot probably isn’t cancerous.
Furthermore’ she says skim-reading her notes,
‘You drive a car with the top down and eat a chocolate croissant whenever you feel like it. Even during Lent.
Well?’ She says looking over her glasses,
‘Have you anything to add?’
‘Probably not’ is the best I’ve got.
Sorrow looks at me. I look at Sorrow.
Even though my face is wet, it’s clear our meeting’s over.