Tuesday, February 27, 2007

three little poems

all night clouds shaking
with anger
in the morning
three little poems
from the east
rain down

Sunday, February 18, 2007

screech owl: strix

I am an open throat
with the night sliding down
beating at shadows
yowling in red fields,

spinning wave filaments into beats
of self-betrayal, prey (though I
am all engagement, all sensation
and know nothing of this)
in the leaves, blood burst
beneath snow - and here, look,
here a poem was snatched, still glowing

here are whirling feathers
and the signs of struggle
here are footprints
at the perimeter
where something came to look

and here a boy runs down staircases
a dripping thing fresh
in his hands
the cry of a world in his ears

and all of it, all that we look for,
is in this wild-eyed running
and the owl's screech of tears.

Friday, February 16, 2007


The Prophet

Call me the prophet
I break through the wall
of my house
at midnight
and leave hastily
jangling like a thief.

I have come North
heavy with prophesy
to tell
of owls crying in daylight
and bats dropping
from the sky
children that wake at night
and call from their graves.

Strange things happen in the air,
and my fingernails ache
from scratching at the sky. I am not
a father now, I am only
a wind in the rushes

bringing news of the distant talk
of strangers. And I carry
fire in my baggage. Tomorrow
I will break through the wall
into your house

and stand over your bed,
bearded and angry, my words
wild things that beat their heads
on your hands. Then I will leave
at nightfall, and fly to the east
on wings made from your hair,
dropping tears like moons
upon the dark land below.

(This kind of leaving
has the urgent drama and romance
of the night)

Call me prophet of feathers
and falling moons.
Call me fool on wings of wax.

Call me the prophet.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I'm gradually accumulating links to sites etc accepting poetry submissions, as well as other resources and information. These are among the links on the right hand side of this page.

Serge Gainsbourg: Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais

This is a smoky kind of song for a rainy Paris in late summer, and strange dreams circle it like a late afternoon bar with all the curtains drawn, with drunken men and women surrendering to their sadness and strangeness. There's something of deep denial and anger in here, expressed through a kind of soft savagery. Blood runs down these yellow windows, and we order more wine and sing our sad, angry, defiant songs of doomed love through the smoke, no longer hoping for anything beyond the moment. Outside in the rain, office workers hurry back from their lunch breaks carrying flowers or broken mouldings from antique furniture, and here time stretches in one of those long moments seen through green glass and the dull shine of old sorrow. From the dreaming chamber, we sense some kind of dawn approaching, always that hateful daylight that comes to tear the covers from our dreams. I could almost swoon forever in that long moment, but only death ultimately lives there in that place outside of time. This is the message of Gainsbourg: the moment will always end, and the grey light will reveal the faces of your new lovers as old, monstrous, desperate things, your poems as paper scraps that dissolve in the rain, all your songs nothing, less than echoes. Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais...I have come to tell you that I'm leaving...et tes larmes n'y pourrent rien changer...and your tears will change nothing... We still have time for one more drink, one more song, one last cigarette before the ship sinks. This is a deep, drunken moment for me, as I once spent three days with a French woman I met on a ferry - we stayed in a guest house on the south coast of England, and we listened to this song over and over, venturing out briefly to sit in quayside bars and eat bad food, knowing that time was running out, that some kind of light was approaching. I suggested we should get married right there and then before the dawn came, but she said no. Why break the spell? I wondered. But she sensed the light better than I did, and she knew Gainsbourg's message better. We never met again, but neither of us listen to this song without recalling that long moment before the ship foundered. I got the train back to the north, and she went back to Paris, but footfalls echo in the memory down the passage which we did not take towards the door we never opened into the rose-garden...

Serge Gainsbourg - Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Jump - for Charles Bukowski - nearly ready to scramble into a poem, this one

Everyone gets a chance to jump. It comes
and it's gone, a crossroads, a way out,
a way in, a closing door in the wind.
When the moment comes, and you're up there
looking out into the cloud,
just do it. Just fall, surrender
to it. Something big

wants to take over. Let it happen.
Take the car keys and drive south
fifteen hours without stopping,
change your name, say yes to everything
for three holy days,
just make that jump
before the door slams shut.

Some people can't make it, they teeter
forever in the jeering
clamour of themselves, knowing
that their moment just passed them by
and they were afraid to take it.
When your moment comes, be ready.
It's the difference between life
and not life - be ready to jump

when the demon in the top hat
opens the door and tells you
your time is now. Not jumping
is slow dying, cancer, rotting
from inside, self hatred. Not
jumping is being stuck forever
in your own shadow.

Be ready to jump.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

elephant poem-not-poem - still gestating

That's not an elephant in the room.
Whichever way you look at it
that's a burning man, and he seems calm
about it all, chewing a sandwich
and reading the newspaper. These burnings
are common enough now, and we all know them -

well enough for them not to disturb
our own eating or sex most of the time -
but behind the sound
of crackling and chewing
is a quiet something,

a whisper that is not really sound,
but is the anger of a million poems
that warned about this burning
and how it would happen

every time a door closed somewhere
in one of those rooms upstairs
where fathers walk barefoot
on bare floorboards
looking for something that got lost.
Or when the lies
got so thick in the air
they started to stick

to people's skin, and burn
like napalm, or raining
ash. And I just want to add
my ashen voice to that soft beat
of the wind in the night, that quiet elephant

in the heart shriek that sweeps down
the mountainside noise of humanity

trying again to stand. It's all been said,
but I want to add my voice and lift
the volume just a little. So this
poem-not-poem is my name of anger

on that long petition
of the heart's horror.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

my other site is here:


Friday, February 02, 2007

floodlit midnight

what can I tell you about this?
it's like windows breaking in
like a hand got your foot
and dragging you back like a dream
like you can't, you know, run
like that, like falling through solid air
a confessional would do, like, nothing here,
nothing, just pain, self pity, hopelessness
that trope where you keep on on on
walking through that same door
into that place behind the wall
waking forever in the same mirror
looking out at that thing that looks in,
that is going to walk out
of the frame and kill something
next time he shows he'll have blood
around his mouth for sure. Best we can do
is hope it's his.

Hell isn't somewhere else,
Hell is just a different way
of seeing things.

Thursday, February 01, 2007