turning point

my life etched in the rocks
spotlighted by the late morning sun
shadows and light
flashing by in an instant
the time it takes to graffiti a name
to twist barbed wire into a knot
to give a cloud a name
coyote, tumbleweed, drifter

a straight road through badlands
rolling rocks motionless
like the traveller
uncertain whether to continue
rooted like the sagebrush
tempted, almost, to stay put
become dust and carrion
or golden whispering grass

like . . .

land slides beneath my feet
like so many leaves of paper
laid one on top the other
blown from the writer’s desk
so many words written thereon
fossilised like sea creatures
stuck in layers of thoughts
splitting me like shale or slate
sliced through like sliced meat
an autopsy of all my years
grown like the rings in a tree
concentric yet linear years
graphite grey like the clouds
teetering and tottering on edges
cliff edges that crumble
that dream
when land starts moving
and your arms flail like windmills
and you tilt
and you call out
but you’re already on the move
paper and words blowing all around
the white of sky and surf
of gulls and paper
and chalk skulls
like
like
like
. . . .
 
 

acting out your own death

early morning
low winter sun
stirring from sleep
stirring coffee

I'm almost in the clouds
up here I'm almost a new god
your apartment is heaven
my angel sleeps in the next room
she lies under her eiderdown clouds

I'm standing by the window
looking out over the road
looking out over the prom
looking out over the beach huts
looking out over the sea beyond

I'm reminded of Chicago 1986
the Doral Plaza on N. Michigan
another apartment on the 25th floor
we swam in the pool on the 38th floor
clouds and days drifted by
another angel in another lifetime

now I'm down on the prom
a man standing his ground
his back to the waking town
his eyes fixed on the horizon
ready to make the walk

between the beach huts
over the shingle
into the sea



title taken from Shadowplay by Ian Curtis / Joy Division -
words inspired by a photo by Caroline Collett

endlessly roaming

if i could walk away and endlessly roam 
where if i wanted to would i stop
it seems there are no safe havens left
in a world so troubled in all its corners
i am changed from the man i once was
the past receding at nightmare speed
diminishing my returns at every turn
and every face that i ever looked upon
has turned away and shed more than one tear
an ocean's worth of bought occurrences
i am cheap as a market stall gift
as throwaway as the rest of humanity
writing words to pin on clouds
conjuring dreams to hang my hopes
laughing in the face of a mottling mirror
i am indeed imperfect and lost, perhaps
already journeying out there on the road
walking away and endlessly roaming
with no need to stop even if i wanted to

[at the sound of the bell 
press the carriage release lever]

after

with eyes closed
I watch clouds move across the sun
a lighthouse beam sweeps in a segment
now moving away to the north
warning of what?
stars form and grow and burst
filaments of unknown origin
illuminate electrified cells
multiplying through a microscope
dissipating before my eyes
fading out of sight
darkness forming
enveloping
and

after our lovemaking
we stay close to share our warmth
listening to the rain on the window
steady and straight and determined

I was free to dream in Wyoming

I was free to dream in Wyoming
pulled in at the side of the road
considering an epiphany
not a soul in sight
wondering
if I came back here again
would the feeling be the same
the moment and the state of mind
wind dried grasses at the side of the road
silent voices and dark shadows
dizzy under the big sky
thundering of hooves
I look up
there’s no one there
my heartbeat bangs out the seconds
drowns out my whole past
on my knees at the side of the road
consumed by my insignificance
intolerably small
impossible to quantify
my own voice useless against the backdrop
washed into a river bed
herded away by cloud rustlers
I remember thinking
I want to die here
right now
here on this sacred spot
at the side of this road in Wyoming

addendum

when I was born
my mother wasn’t there
the clouds parted
I tasted my first air

when I was a child
my father chose to die
the country widened
beneath an open sky

when I was a man
my love abandoned me
the birds began to sing
setting my soul free

when I was old
my heart declined to beat
the setting sun burned
consuming me in heat

when I was reborn
my life began once more
mistakes and lessons learnt
repeating like before

to be alone on this cloud tonight

to be     alone    on this cloud tonight
white as a bone in a shroud of light

I don’t know how I came to be here
a glow of flames masking my fears

darkening sunsets above and below
threatening the love in overshadow

awaiting my fate I slumber in peace
enveloping weight of covering fleece

the time of angels has come upon me
bells that chime and humble sweetly

the shepherdess watches overseeing
the poetess recites words embracing

to be     alone     on this cloud tonight
white as a bone in a shroud of light

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below)

oysters and samphire

we shared oysters and samphire
the sun melting through layered clouds
until, drowning with a hiss, it disappeared
and all that was left were empty shells
tossed over shoulders on the midden heap
mingling with fish bones and salty wishes
old spells cast from our ancestor’s hands
the same sun and sea bearing witness
to this trial of life blown across the seasons
winter now thankfully behind us
young lambs gambolled over the dunes
each evening straying just a little bit further
like the lengthening spring days
and your long curly hair in the pine breeze
filaments of the finest electric silk
that stroked my cheek as jellyfish tentacles
might drift about and inadvertently sting
but for me it was all I desired
and desire was in our hearts

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below)

my beautiful girl

my beautiful girl
went gallivanting off
into the storm
her curls in the clouds
twisted in tree branches
her siren song
whistling with the wind
peeling with thunder
lightened with laughter
her bare feet squelching out
the loughs and the seas
she formed the mountains
with her breasts and thighs
no rest or sleep
whilst I wept and worked
her galley slave oiled and lustful
chained to the oar locks
I dragged across the heavens
the stars for her
and fitted them one by one
into the orbits of her eyes
where shining like diamonds
she became forever
my beautiful dream

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below )