Month: July 2016

The lovers

In the green stretches of my farm

Someone long ago piled stones

Forming small pyramids at random points, no taller than a suitcase.

I dismantled one today, lifting the heavy stones one by one into a trailer to be taken away.

I worked carefully, each stone a part of a city,

Populated with small black beetles,

Spiders, lizards, and slugs.

As I lifted the last stones into the trailer

I found two small frogs

Their brown arms wrapped around each other, their bodies entwined.

It appeared as if they were lovers; in such terror at the destruction of their home

They found comfort in an embrace.

To me, however, as I stood above them vast and terrible, a stone in each hand

To me, they looked as if they had been sleeping

And as lovers sleep,

In a fond embrace.

It was a world of dreams and heartbeats

Each with eyes closed, mouths pressed together

Breathing the same air

A silent kiss, a love in this stone temple,

Safe from the world, witnessed only by the beetles

And now they were exposed to the world, to the rude white light

And a giant.

I scooped them up and placed them in the next pile of rocks and waited

Until they were inside

Safe from the world, from which they must hide.

The Earth and Sun

How could she, that lovely girl sitting there, Know how happy she makes me feel?

That one person, who is like millions of others

And yet is the only one?

I have heard that there are millions of suns in the universe

But I feel the warmth of only one,

I wait for the Sun to arrive in the morning

And sadly watch as it leaves each evening.

It is like that with her;

On the city street I can pass a thousand women

But there is only one I want to see:

Only one that can warm me.

That peace that comes

I thought the age of miracles had long ended,

that Gods, because they no longer cared, had forgotten the Earth.

But then I saw her honey coloured hair.

That days, filled with anger

when men turn to guns instead of books,

made me believe we were slipping into chaos once again,

as we do each century;

but then I gazed upon her smile.

A selfish joy, perhaps,

when all I want to do is hold her in my arms

and there, together, forget the terrors that lonely humans

inflict upon each other.

I thought a morning was meant to be lonely,

but then I held her to me, and found the sun, even before it had risen.

A memory, a conversation. Words written in a quiet, sad moment.

The Sun drops, heavy with life

A cold white Moon ascends.

How often I have been blind to beauty, that falls softly

Secretly, silently,

Like the night dew.

She pointed out the sun to me

Not by making me look

But by showing me warmth.

Too late you find

Too soon it’s gone.

At the quiet moment, a young man asks

What is the best way to love?

The older man says;

With the heart.

Heavy thoughts kill what is important

But what is important always dies.

Time waits, but then steps forward

Knocks down what you have built

And snatches away all wealth.

Lines written in the Dome Reading Room

Glory in the architecture

Splendour in the light

A book, pages open

A love, a journey, a fight.

 

The king is victorious

He is returning home

To his castle on the hill

Under the golden dome

 

I wish I were as lucky,

But I have no one to love

A pocket full of wheat

And a cooing turtle dove.

 

Around me centuries of books. Collected and stuffed into shelves

To be looked at and photographed by tourists.

Young women sit by their computers falling asleep,

They must study because their education is costing more money than their grandfathers ever knew.

The sun shines in through the dome; the light falls on the marble

Where etched are the words

“Glory in the architecture

 Splendour in the light.”

I sit in a timber chair and lean backwards, the chair moans

The sound echoes around the library.

I watch the nearest woman over her computer

Her black hair shines as it presses behinds her ears

I think of silk and the smell of vegetables, the names of which I have never heard.

It has been eighteen years

A lifetime for some

Yet it feels like weeks only,

That meal you made me was delicious

I ate too much and felt sick.

What I wouldn’t give to have one more night with you,

Your black hair shone like dreams,

Dreams fade.

Two visions

An elderly man stands in the art gallery,

Before a picture of the Virgin Mary, and weeps.

I see him, tears on his cheeks, eyes swelled in red-dreams.

I can only imagine what he is thinking.

The years have washed upon him

In a frenzy, unexpected, unstoppable

Time has stepped upon him and moved on.

Now in front of such beauty, he weeps and in weeping feels sorry

For all the things he missed, either

In long nights at home in suburbs, wondering what could have happened if only…

Or

Merciless nights in bars, finding new lovers, never settling down and finding, too late

That it is too late.

Both, both miss much.

You cannot have it all,

And if you are lucky

At 90, stand before the Virgin Mary and weep.

 

 

This morning, at the bookstore where I meet old friends,

A man shouts into his phone

“We pay the payroll not them!”

He continued beside a shelf labelled ‘Literary Classics.’

“It’s not those guys who call the shots. Well you try it your way and if that works

Then well done,”

he stops before a shelf of poetry, and his hand reaches for but stops mid-stretch

“But I’m telling you; it will not go down like that!”

Speech finished, he hangs up as he passes Shakespeare.

He leans against a pillar as if he is out of breath

Out of life

And then pushing his phone deep into his pocket he takes the stairs,

Ascends to the street,

And is gone.

Something had taken his appetite for reading

A payroll will starve a poet.

There must be no prison.

All good things are wild and free

Kindness drops from her like rain from a leaf

She loves and wants love for all

She gives and takes, but never more than she needs.

She could be sitting next to me, but then turn

And she is gone.

Whatever makes her happy

Do not stand in her way

She would never stand in yours,

As the months go by, if she has not returned

Try to remember her face,

Try to remember her voice

Remember her standing in the kitchen

Turning to you and smiling

Glad you had come.

Remember the things she said to you,

But like all wild things

You cannot hold them,

If you do, you kill them.

Hand on the telephone

Do you get sad, sweetheart?

Sitting in the park rotunda writing on your phone

When a man comes in and sits near you; He smells of wine and faeces

You leave, hearing him cry out as you go.

You tell me how horrible it was at that moment, his yellow teeth, yellow face, black eyes

I saw him sleeping on a blanket outside a café yesterday, or someone like him.

The flowers of the city have been trampled

The trees are wrapped in protective boards

 men work through the night cutting up the tiles

the scream of their drills echo in the city streets as I walk home.

But alone is really alone.

You have to close the curtains because the glow of the buildings

Light up your room

With painful, sharp white lights

I See the white steam rising from the building rooftops

And wonder where she is

Most likely she isn’t thinking of me.

Instead, she has a hundred phone messages to answer

Remember though-

Sitting in the Roman Room of the museum

How she sat and read her phone, not looking up at the 2000-year-old jars.

How that annoyed, how I complained

Those artifacts of human history, made before Caesar ruled,

Are not as interesting as what Michael or Brett are doing.

Close your eyes and forget,

Life is hard enough without recalling the past, reliving regret.

How will you get out of bed in the morning

If you let the fears of life

Sit on your chest like fat angry devils.

 

city

Heading south

The 4 am train

Yellow lights, the strangeness, the hum.

I pick the wrong carriage, take the wrong seat, but they let me stay.

I sit behind an old woman who stops the conductor each time he passes

Once she tells him; “this seat is not as comfortable as the one I had to Sydney.”

He smiles,

“I think it would be the same,” he says, quietly.

“It is not,” she yells.

He asks her if she would like some raisin toast. She quietens.

The train rocks on, the carriage moves gently, like a ship falling across waves.

I drift into sleep. Some yelling wakes me.

The woman in front needs to use the bathroom.

She is screaming, “I will have an accident.”

The conductor rushes by, nods at me.

“All whom I love,” I say in a half dream, “will one day die.”

I had not meant to speak but awoken from my dream and confused; it came out.

He steps back, shocked, his eyes searching my face, seeing me for the first time.

I am sorry I spoke, but I say nothing more and look out the window.

Soon the city and I will be among strangers.