footbridge

rolling forwards across a rolling globe, now a footbridge
fishermen fixed to their lump-head lamps, silhouette murk men
where do their names and their faces live now, these drowned shadows
on a tarred bridge
they know patience, as cigarettes know patience
the world rolls and I slide across its pinball
the pink and blue lights of Xanadu on this canal flatwater
a grey plastic bag shackling warm ripe mangoes
this is my 17th Century Japan
if Matsuo Bashō met me coming the other way, I would
give him a couple of mangoes
I hope he knows this, as these
flying foxes lace the night together and
speak only in the small hot breath of God

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Kettles of Trinidad

the lightning was liquid and lilac, boiling in missionary strikes
filaments filled their own length with heat, depth charge deep
and now a bilge universe lies right on us, breathing heavy

in our rooms above a waterpunched earth
we have all become cats
listening to Jane’s Addiction
“I’m done with Sergio
I’m gonna kick tomorrow…” and the
kettles of Trinidad

the night runs across its sink
mango flesh dissolves in her kitchen, cold vodka
and her histories melting like spare parts in a cauldron

deluge becomes sleep and honey-dunks all the others
like narcotic fireflies (not us)
the world a laundry of abandon

rattling up the highway
the fondest hour of four
sky the colour of lost anger, dawn’s wet blue sheets
the giant golf ball at the putt putt ranch shyly beams
his uncertain painted smile and says to me
“no sun today, I hope that I’ll do…?”

and I know he’ll do fine

sneakers

the sneakers wear us, when they fall down stairs
they take us with them; they wait in Taiwanese crates
for us to fill them up like hot glue
then they saddle us preachers and fools and cheaters
lock us in laces and haul us on chases and they
drag us to the beds they sleep under
they salute one another when they pass in streets
and we go dazed, clucking and forever self-amazed
and don’t notice their Brotherhood of Form
when two fall into waste, four others take their place
they stand like sentries as our souls explode then
march us away from slammed doors
holding us onsite when the talking never ends
as all these cigarettes flood our auras
when the hearts above their soles splutter
and hit the gutter in human rain
it’s the sneakers who maintain their shape and colour
all this I saw as I lay there with you
cradling a mind bashed out of shape
looking at white sneakers
ten minutes away from the world
and the slamming blank flag
usually known as Self

La Strega

I leave her standing in the universe, on her balcony, her
licorice daubed toes and Renaissance brigand smile glowing soft
as a small blue moon
in the teal immensities of four a.m.
bird calls like tennis balls against these backlot walls
the tin dust tray of the roofline holds the
last stars, the last fruit bats, and Venus bending to pick up her shawl
as the chairs are stacked – we spoke of home like vagabond Medicis
reheating our city of pride and disgrace
now I sit on this staircase, in bocca al lupo
clove cigarette like a riptide of gravel
and the telegraph poles are sleeping at angles