Thursday, 29 July 2010

Goddess (For Robert Graves)

You whisper through the nerves
Or is this the night’s texture?
Or both? Your language, the wind,
Talking as an idea – immediate,
Chemical, the way genius subverts
History, the way lovers speak,
A biology of movements that poets
Seek to translate through music.

For all your disguises,
You’re revealed in coldness,
The way silence brushes a forest
Or the way the sea gushes
Against the sadness of wet sand.
Mystery is your favourite weapon.
Piercing, loud, but always elusive
Always discovering the next death.

Afternoon in the Park

With her right to walk freely
By the river’s chorus,
She has retired to summer grass
And to Turner’s sun.
Her black Labrador pants and dances
Released into the peaceful breeze,
And he seeks joyful scents
Among the motherly colours.

Montgomery Street Woman

Steady, balanced in the morning
She walks with an unswerving craft,
A stride that is not masculine,
Not bravado, and not mythological,
Not in self-congratulatory beauty,
But in warrior steps, gently efficient,
A brisk, feminine purpose – precise.


Where does genius get its slickness?
From the cacophony of thoughts
Whispering their winter dance,
The blue bolt of aloneness,
A steel wind driving through the leaves.


Friendship like a warm night,
Holds us with womb-like hands,
holds us in mutual abandonment,
sharing enraged betrayals
-the fabric of ambition.

You, like radiant flame, and me,
cowering with shameful craft.
Tonight the day’s demands can fuck off.
We cast off powerlessness,
and give in to music, and to death,
to the religious passage of a world
always fresh and panicked.

Tonight we are redeemed,
Our bellies replete with demons,
Our thoughts, the violence of the poem.
Tonight we can but dream,
remain childish, our souls laughing
in the face terrific ignorance.

Even Better

If I cannot love you,
I will cut you some spirit.
I will give you beauty’s ghost,
a portion of heaven’s sands,
to breeze through your palm.

Like an idea,
or a single jarring hope,
it might remind you of you,
a quick reflection,
like shapes in a street puddle.

I want nothing from you.
Only that you one day awake brave
and live out your craft,
breathing heat
on a rain-bruised world.


Lips open, two paradoxes.
Your rages swallowed
Between two half-moons.
Your eyes like two dead stars.

Two nations run in torrents
Across your angry bones
Two religions, two tribes
Nomadic in your blood.

Hands brimming with sound,
Bird-like, balletic,
Graceful, misplaced,
Outsmarting your wounds.

Your voice – a battered light,
Gorgeous but stubborn.
Orchestral, a confusion
Of logic and attack.

Your eyes – hot, metallic.
Your skin burns like daybreak
Wrapped imperious,
Around a damaged sun.

Two black rivers – lethal.
One gushes with love, one ambition.
At the delta lies your talent,
Where the branches of your genius clash.