Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Thus spoke Pinocchio.

The next one...

Thus spoke Pinocchio:

I believe my myriad leaves
became words, each poised
to find a truth
as quickly lost as the green shoot
plummeting into the universe
constructed from my new mind.

My hands touched objects,
made them more real
than a tree’s leaf ever will.
Some nights I remember
branches rubbing like skin
against the window pane.

Movement is the greatest joy,
when lonely it allows me
to find a new landscape;
new space for the words
falling as easily as amber leaves

in autumn’s forgetful rain.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Inside the wail

 The other "wail" in the P. series...

Inside the wail:

Geppetto waited for God’s breath
To set him free
Fish memories of the tree
He carved into his son
And listened to the waves
Beat against the Leviathan’s breast.

When Pinnochio arrived
With breakfast
The old man was crest-fallen
God would never save
What the fairy had created.

In the whale’s stomach:

 t\The three whale poems from the Pinocchio series.

In the whale’s stomach:


In the darkness
I remember the time before

Before the spluttering candle
we save by burning
only at odd moments –

we have seven matches left
after that the darkness will become
Eternal -

If only the Leviathan
yawned when it rose
to the surface.

Does it dream?
Are its dreams as small
As the krill it swallows in the millions?

And we, merely accidents along the way –
do we impinge upon its thoughts
in the slightest?

The boat Geppetto travelled in
holds up well in the ebb and flow
of life within a stomach.

My wooden legs rot, flesh
does have distinct advantages – even Geppetto’s feet,
at their age, fare better.


In the stillness
between waves of saltwater
I close my eyes; imagine
the morning sunlight covering
the dusty mountains
of home - night’s galloping shadow
races before the rays,
flowers turn towards the light,
in the distance
the sound of rugs being beaten
by village women
and the squeals of children
in bare feet, their knees
scabby, their noses running,
play soccer with the bladder
of a dead cat in the street.


Geppetto often holds my hands
and explains how he carved each digit,
shaped the half moon nails,
crafted the elbow and wrist sockets
for movement.

At night
after his lips have blown out the candle
and the sound of the sea
fills the dark cavern
in rhythmic sympathy
he likes to explain
how it feels to have a chest
that within a heart beats.

I know I have missed out
and cannot bring myself to believe
my wooden torso can contain
a soul. I do no pray
for rescue, only for a break
in the monotony.

I wish I could see
The light of the fairy’s wand
And believe again for a moment
That anything is possible.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Leading the bear....

We continue on....

Leading the bear home:

This gilt cage
swings in a breeze created
by a harsh voice,
feet curled
like old leaves
around the wooden perch.

I sing for supper, dance
for lunch, weep when breakfast
does not come.

I have seen my name
in lights brighter than stars,
discovered a cage needs no bars -
guilt stronger than finest steel.

I befriended the dancing bear,
licked raw patches that once had fur,
fed him rats cut
into the shapes of salmon, dreamed
with him of rocks and water and leaps
into freedom.

It was not until I let go
of faith that the door
finally opened - wings not from angels
but through acceptance; feathers
of words and cadence.

I was once a tree,
once turned only towards the sun
now I move about the land

leading the bear back home.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Hung, drawn etc..

The series continues...

Hung, drawn or quartered:

During the days when he believed in
the blue fairy’s magic wand his actions
were scattered upon the workshop floor,
shavings, curled, twisted, unconnected.
He lay as a log and let the plane
shape him into whatever design
the fairy deemed suitable for a boy.
In the days when he followed a cricket’s
whispers of conscience, his hands and legs
were guided by strings leading him down
alleys and through adventures – he became
a grey donkey to the strings’ carrot.

It was not until he let the wand go,
not until he severed the strings from
the puppeteer’s cross that Pinocchio’s
grain became skin, his resin, blood
and his yellow hat became separated
from the voluntary movements of his head.
It was a close thing, however, when belief
tumbled towards his unsteady feet.
Some villagers strung him up in fear,
others tried to burn him but Geppetto
discovered a haven in the stomach
of a wise whale and from there called him.

The latest in the series of P. poems.

Things not meant to be:

The saddest sound
is made
when wooden lips collide
across the string divide.

Stomboli laughed
at foolish puppets
mimicking the grandest acts
of life.

Mangiafuoco was more kind;
set me free
with coins and a sad shake of his head
when he heard the tale
of two puppets kissing -
wooden lips bump
to the sound
of earth hitting a coffin lid.

When my wood turned to skin
I sought her out. 
She had been devoured by the fire;
there was nothing left
but memory: the texture
of wood on my lips –
the sound of a wooden club
as it connects to the small head
of a fur seal pup.

Free Will... the next P. poem

Free Will demands punishment:

They hung
me for clumsy crimes
and petty acts
committed unwittingly.

I hung
at wits end;
back and forth
in time
with the rope’s creak.

It did not concern me
to be hung -
coming from a tree
I was used to the feel
of suspension.

I will admit
that hanging there
gave time for thought.
I regretted the hurt
to Geppetto who, (in my imagination)
stood below, his teary eyes raised
as if I
a mysterious sacrifice (in truth
he was not allowed to visit,
the villagers fearing he might take an axe
can cut me down again).

My breath exited,
I found though
that toes
had kept some sort of consistency
with distant roots
while my twitching fingers
returned to being leaves.

I spread out;
soaked in the world
while time
became the preoccupation of those
who hung me.

When they cut me down (again)
I ran to Geppetto’s arms that opened
as if he was a door closed for too long
but finally, seeing the spring sun
had come knocking, let the day back in.

Embraced by those arms, I wept
tears as thick as sap; as into his chest
I promised that I’d do better
if he granted me a second chance.

His aging hands touched my brow
as he smiled, his lips parting,
his yellow teeth appearing like the stamen
displayed by the unfolding flower.

‘Second chances are for the religious,’
He said, ‘for us two, we must make do
accepting our mistakes and returning,
as you have done, to try anew.’

We stood a while…long enough that I feared
we might both take root, become two trees entwined
and lost in a stillness I did not wish to return to.
I moved apart and said with a smile, ‘anyway Papa,
it is good to be back.’

We laughed and Geppetto took down my bowl
from the shelf and prepared dinner
and in my head it soon seemed as if I had never left;
had never hung from the scaffold tree
and so took another step back in the same direction —
not knowing that the past is the best teacher we can have
if we but listen to what it tries to teach us.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Dust to Dust: The next P. poem.

Dust to Dust:

Coming from wood
when he stood, still
as air after a thunderstorm,
his mind dripping - raindrops off leaf
and branch - memory and thoughts,
blue words falling from a mother’s disappointment
so soft the little boy strains to hear
and in the effort remembers the lesson.

Coming from wood
when he stood, feet,
hidden in a darkness
where air lives in pockets - forever trapped
in the desire
to remerge with each other. Toes
set into the soil,
roots that seep in dirt’s sea of  earthly secrets
to steal riches, carry
them towards the light
and offer them to the sun.

Coming from wood
when he stood, eyes
closed so the world dissolved
into scents and smells and the sunshine caressed
and the damp earth nourished,
he felt himself spread out large and thin -
a bridesmaid’s veil tossed into the sky
floating flimsy, folding
back upon itself, in the air
transparent and free.

Eventually he must land
but in those moments
when he let himself go
for seconds or minutes he felt his leaves
and his wind-chime heart
tinkled back at the world.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Pinocchio poems continue...


There are quiet days when I sit
in a room's comforting corner,
study moving joints that permit
knee, ankle, thumb and finger.

The leap for a cell to acquire
complex structure is almost enough
to make me believe but desire
and truth are not the same language.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Next Pinocchio Poem.

Pinocchio’s eyes 

Twin opals, hard black cores
that have waded through the wooden years 
when time fell in drops that dripped, 
slow as honey, 
off Geppetto’s tarnished silver spoon. 

Undisclosed, in the darkness between 
the two shapes of tree, the amber eyes waited. 
Geppetto’s blade, urgent as a lover’s thigh, 
slid between bark’s exposed ripples 
and the soft, tender wood of secret desire, 
licked the two hard shells of resin  
formed over two small woodpecker wounds
that had captured two lost flies that flew 
in with an insect’s hungry curiosity eons ago.

Geppetto plucked them free of the tree,
gently shaped them, took an oiled rag and
polished them so the amber shone and the black specks
of what once flew began to drink in the light,
and placed them back
into the newly shaved head of me.

These eyes see everything at the speed 
of an insect; a flood of the senses 
condemned by the choice 
the savage, armoured warriors of the micro-world
made when they selected tubes 
over lungs and themselves condemned 
to a fleeting, Achillean existence.

These eyes force time to gush like water 
forced out of a hose, body pushed 
and pulled, a puppet dancing 
at the String Master’s whim - to combat 
the constant sensual attack 
mind must concentrate on a single point 
and leave the larger flow of life 
to other forces. 

These eyes are not gentle,
do not guide towards the light,
are blind to the magic of just being.

These eyes, formed by greed,
remain trapped in that act of need,
seek not to see but to feast.