Monday, 15 August 2016

The many textures of absence

absence is a toothache
the tongue, a snake searching for prey

absence is a severed limb
echoing the intent of things it once did

absence is a flower
all petals fallen, the bud burnt, bowed and defeated

In these days of absence
I have become a tired river, I meander,
curl back on words and thoughts,
remember old cliffs and rocks,
the cover of cool places lost
as the sun discovers a way to expose me again

I have begun to sleep
while standing, while talking
while laughing at the day to day excuses
of how we pass the time while watching the slow fade
of memories that become absent
because they can no longer accumulate

like the time my father died and I realized
I would never hear his voice
never again see him smile
nor know the touch of his hand
or the gentle rise of his right eyebrow

like the earth stranded beneath the sun
baked, fried, defeated
and the clouds remain absent
and the only shade
is in the heart of the deep cracks that split me apart
even as I wait

Friday, 12 August 2016

A week already-almost:

Tomorrow it is
next weekend already
and last weekend
now has all these days in-between;
each day turned opaque, hidden -
Grief has a craftsman’s fingers;
has time to kill, time to turn grit
into the darkest pearl
and a tree into searing coal.

Grief rests in all my spaces,
like that moment
between the inhale and the exhale
or that spot between seeing
one thing and then the next - scenes 
you would have painted, now will never exist.

Grief tells me time has passed
while, being the Trickster, tricks me
into thinking last weekend has yet to pass.

Last weekend Kev, we said goodbye,
overhead the sun shone, beside me, my wife
cried...Jo wept too as he played his guitar,
each pluck a rending of my heart’s soured strings,
and you, hidden in that plain pine box,
could only have been resting – surely…

It was only last weekend when I 
carried you to the car—
the rope not rough enough to take away
the weight of cost—
and let loose a paper airplane
to transport your spirit
into the sunshine and light.

It was only last weekend
and yet
it seems not a moment has passed
that the years lie ahead
without you.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Humanity's Footprints

In whispers, it is said, mouths
hidden behind walled hands,
that God’s words are found in the sound
of water; water pooling, trickling,
flowing in rivers, crackling across rocks.

It is thought as well, though no one admits,
cracked lips sealed tight lest the words excite,
that the devil is found in the sound
of sand; sand blown, brushing,
driven across the land, filling the towns.

It is never mentioned, though well understood,
that when the water and sand merge - there
in the mud is the sound of humanity; humanity
sucking, gripping, pulling, leaving wordless shapes
in spaces of things forever departed.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Soldier buried beneath the red sea:

When the red sea crashed
my children of the future
became lost in the non-being of never-will-be.
Washed clean
by water held back and then released
yet I,
a soldier forced to follow or starve;
driven down the bank to follow the Israelite -
am I less than the slave,
should a god decide my fate
by changing theirs?

Or is that the essence of faith -
that fate decided
will not erase your fate
in the slate cleaned by the concealed
hand of a god playing dice in a hall
with other gods great or small -
the bones of future children (as well as the present circumstance)
the chips passed around
in this game of devil-may-care betting
between beings unseen?

Or is it that the gods are no more
than echoes of the genetic twining
wishing to forestall its own demise
by creating future strands and in this copying,
as our blood courses through artery and vein,
we hear the voice of  the true God?

Do we pretend afterlife knowing the death
we must embrace
means some of us lose the race
towards procreation and to appease as all,
lest it be us in particular that fall,
we enchant ourselves with the possibility
of reaching that lofty and eternal hall after the moment
when the red sea stops flowing and the pump falls still?