Ozone

Passing ,re-passing cars
river that falls like hair to a misty sea,
child at my elbow, tree in window
beyond the tow path light
lies eye catching
making us squint.
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Last week is a bag full of used tube tickets echoes of a crowded station, sweated with humanity: but here there is nothing, and my freedom is light and empty like a helium balloon, my wound so fresh and clean I can look at it with delight knowing it’ll never heal. I wonder this time who you thought you’d met pursuing me delicately with your 36 year old failures. I’ve come to see you all as a doomed generation searching for that perfect “other” ending up in my kitchen with stories of who you’d like to become. It’d been one God awful crazy evening my neighbour appearing from nowhere with hallelujah in his eyes and through the bubbles of champagne we listened to his stories of the blood of Christ, esoteric burblings while you hooked a toe around my ankle and we wondered when he was going to start speaking in tongues. Eventually through the wine and the pizza I told him to take his “happy clappiness” home and we ended up looking into each others eyes like tweedle dum and tweedle dee before the fall.

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Cars pass and re-pass
counting the boats
counting the miles of shingle
each solitary stone
worn by water
I’m worn by limitless desire
Men pass with wives
their eyes turn my way.
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You remind me of complication and I can’t see the end of my fingertips in this, green eyes, equitable face and the way we brushed skin as we walked, grew like siblings met at a place you hadn’t dared discover. Passing and re- passing cars a tree lined horizon flat against the green that walls us from a grey lipped sea. I don’t think you knew much about “bodies” had tried to deny yours and you certainly had no idea what to do with mine, was probably the worst sex ever but the problem was I didn’t really care just wanted to sit right down and talk, of the sea.

Margateure.
Skyline
grey, oblique
smell of sea
sound of sucking water
a tractor
gulls strut.

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Corner café, raspberry liquid in clear glasses, your mouth moves in circles, love roulettes from the houses, down drainpipes falls in alleyways, I’m temptation, freedom in clear blue lines, for a moment it’s so still I can remember your heartbeat. My small bright child tagging on an empty beach combing the harsh mark of high tide, talking to himself.

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Water tastes of salt and fishes tongue tastes of salt and water you remind me of death, brain patterns fixed like permanent ink cars pass and re-pass the long line of the fleuve culture prattles over food sea mist fades into so much green. Houses perch upon one another like children on adults shoulders.

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I’m confused by messages
in bottles,
in bars,
on mobile phones.

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Violence

Violence is a fist beat
it screams silently,
corrodes our children’s
blood.

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I don’t remember the first time, was it your anger or mine that left us crystallised in glass at four in the morning, me with black eyes and you with half your life’s work destroyed: crumpled at our feet, while shocked neighbours swept and muttered of analysts. The tears didn’t flow and we stood face to face in ignorance. I asked you what I ‘d done and the refrain was always the same and I still don’t know what I did to make you send me away. Later there was a child between us, and you always said that the violence was my doing although the bruise marks on his skin were from your fingers. I remember standing between you two, you huge and insane with whatever symposium of rage was marking the territory and my son small blonde, so many bruises that he claimed while you tried to make him fit your idea of who you thought he should be. I remember your fist punching walls above my head and I’m not absolving myself of this, I could goad you like the sewer rat that you believed me to be, leaving mortal wounds that no body could see. Last night in dream I walked with you in the huge basement of an empty house and there on the wall was your painting. Children swimming in a rakish current green with weeds, the painting filled the room and suddenly the water swirled freezing cold around us, pale wet arms clutched at my hands and as I looked the painting was empty and there was no you.

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Last night the sun was
a red glimmer of fire
in a charnel sky,
I oxidised the ashes.

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I woke with the sound of plates hitting wood and when I looked into the bedroom both your faces were red with the effort of the struggle. You were naked holding a pillow above her head and although I was so small I knew that’s what you did to make someone dead. You turned and caught the panic in my eyes, I shut the door and waited for the night to subside into morning.

…………………………….

Violence is a fist beat
it screams silently,
corrodes our children’s
blood.

Blind

Sun strokes neck
light splinters green
light too strong to
gaze into.

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Hands become eyes to probe, another Doctor murmurs loss of hope, I have two huge brown eyes that meet in the wrong place, that see the world as it really is a crazy paving of bizarre situations. Words turn upon themselves. Hospital bed, slow majestic arc of wooden fan above my head, lines of small boys on green stretchers, blood between their sheets, this place used to be a prison, Changi hospital where the Japanese starved their polite English prisoners. I don’t know just what it is they’re going to do, but a seven year old doesn’t have the power of choice, sickly smell of anaesthetic, oblivion reigns. Waking to the slow whirr of wooden fan but seeing nothing, bandages tight across my eyes and nurses whisper bring drinks and plates of food, but I can’t seem to find my mouth and my ears won’t digest the clamour of broken Chinese syllables. The light when it comes is huge and abhorrent, I duck for peaceful shadows, stay away from mirrors; wipe the sticky mess from face each morning. Suddenly clouds are longed for, I have two huge brown eyes that are nearly perfectly straight, but they lie.

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In those dark tropical nights I could watch the fruit bats wide as vampires, screech through the mango trees, but it was always the moths blindly fluttering towards light bulbs, candles, any soft sheltered room that froze me. Last night a moth battered itself senseless against my blind and I woke wound in my sheets with my child’s heart pounding.

Detail

There’s a small tick
at the corner of your mouth
where it plummets into sadness
muscles dropped beneath the skin
stretching each and every year
to a sculpture wrought with slackness.

Here the lines are sharp engrained
like paper mache puppets
telling us just where you’ve been
and how the weather lashed you.

Shadows writhe on city streets
but you hold the smell of mountains
sky so blue you filched the tint
leaving us staring into darkness

There’s a small tear in your side
we’re not talking blood of Christ:
after the Ave Marias
no holy water can assuage your thirst
and the two robbers on either side
simply take up space.

Perfumed oils
heat of desert sun
cacophany of tombs
revisiting my lost extension.

Cut out

Wet roofs
green, green leaves
bluebird sullenly staring at me
out there beyond the trees
footsteps of a humming city.
Do I want your complex chemistry?
Spawn of ancient Babylon, dancing girls,
prayer shawl, swift flights of desert wind.

You’re standing in a bar
glass of wine
rapt girl pinned to your side
there at the back of your mind
is a cut out image of me.

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Circles recreate their yarn, lines of soldiers bursting to escape that hinged compartment that you call your heart. I’m waiting for your eyes to surprise me, I want to cut them out and wear them in my ears, black diamonds, black pools of Hebrew wisdom, then I could forget you. All roads lead to tunnels I’ve arranged and re arranged over years.

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Faces change
lines crack
under the pressure
of a lazy afternoon
where the blue
finally shines through.

Habits

Habits die
hard
from years
spent
in night
closets.

In night
closets.
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You came like a liberating army
offering Hershey bars,
and I a starving victim of these harsh walls
knew that feeding freely from abundant plate
would kill me.
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Step
by
step,
hour
by
hour

we examine the evidence.

Poets in June

We were pilgrims bathing in a holy river,
Verenasi at our fingertips
paraphernalia of floating flowers
incense on sunrised ghats.

It was a question of allowance
breaking mental chains that bound us.
We were not made for other people
their questionings and climaxes,

which left us bemused.

We were poets and nothing else mattered
except the clime of the verb
punctuation of the kisses,
integrity of the moment.

Snowstorms in June
apple blossom in January
curve of a morning song.

Our sadness chimes
with the fervour
of Cathedral bells.

Stranger

You come from that silent place
where stars break behind cloud
bank below jet stream tears.

Your nights are brushed by Angel’s wings
& you haunt the still point of peace where
solitude becomes you.

You live in tune with the river’s breeze
the dryads and the fairies drift to you
gild gold dust on your shoulder.

Twice born this world can’t understand
the loneliness of a wandering man
whose heart tugs on his torn sleeve

Prose moment

Hands are being held in the corner of the city,
summer waterfalls, ,
will be supple like willow branch
bent to net a dream catcher.

We caught each other with dexterity
intensity bristling the room static,
fallout of past embraces.
I never believed in a God
till I met you scuba diving through my sitting room
not knowing the way to the door.

On auto pilot in restaurants across tables.
I’ve nothing to say to you,
you’ve moved into the background of a dream,
I’ve nothing to give to you ,
I hold the key to you,
you hold the key for me.

Across light years of childhood,
thunderstruck in the cupboard of fear,
watching your fear is liberating.
I never knew there was anyone out there
who knew about terror like I do,
who knew about powerlessness like I do.

I can feel my life floating into bird song
unravelling into intricate connections
where all I have to do is watch the dawn,
listen to the sound of stars falling.

St Kilda (Melbourne)

Sky taut blue,
taut like a balloon
no shade.
Yachts bob
speedboats whip at
dull grey sea,
Melbourne skyline.

Outside my window
traffic throats all night
Chinese whispers.
You sleep, bundled up in duvet
tight to clench you; I walk
upside down in a flat country.

Palms line the road
Fifties facades facing ocean,
I move from shade to sun,
the tide turns in again,
dragonfly flips across the bay.

At the centre of the park
a lone black man drinks
and shouts, unintelligible
words at blonde passers by,
trams rattle ,seed pods drop:
I wait for something
to happen.