from Rio to Jamaica

to know her is to love her (but not like that)
like a green cat who claims the sunlight
and lets you share it: like that.
any woman who puts jarred sand in her bed
fifty kilometres from the beaches
is one of God’s champions
to wake in some barely-gendered female domain
where other men will beseech and joke
you know they are all good hearts –
to be counted in that sunlight, they would have to be.

in your own realm now, you look out at these others
these men you live it out with
who trust each other enough
to ask questions concerning that outside world
the ones who live on the sea floor with you
you see them shuffle their paperwork, their caution
every decent man defined by the honesty of
his limitations; the saddest thing about loudmouths
is they miss out on this solidarity
this plain illumination, together, in a good
nameless sunlight

you look out at them – to her rolling a perfect cigarette
over some saga profane she’s sharing with you
to the others, swinging easily on un-grandiose hopes
you’ve seen them
perplexed, then calmed, then laughing into this world
your own smile now is so small and mighty and sad
there is a choir behind it, there are shells in the dunes
there is pizza for all, there is trust
as the heart splits and fuses, splits and fuses; a rhythm –
maybe that’s what a heartbeat is
because you can see them, really see them
you can feel their honour and you
can never save them from the Big End, nor they you
but now we are here together
and ‘love’, you realize
(after all those ragged histories)
is the silent state which may occur when
one human-sized portion of the universe
can see another sovereign human-sized portion of the universe
good and clear
our holstered guns in a pile
all coloured shields leant up against white walls
as a song in the megamix lays into us like a boxer
“so if you wanna dance
the party never ends…
from Rio to Jamaica… “

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Golden Virginia

village of labels & fonts, playing with
colognes, smelling like some popsicle disco
smelling like a male woman, rolling a cigarette
of Golden Virginia, when she stumbles past this scene
this market of fat children, hungry little Danes
the cosmetics and mirrors
she is jerked by God, a ruined puppet
wrist high and pressed like a bird near-stillborn
bound in the palsies of history’s soiled slang
Victorian remedies of braces and chains
born to a mother awash in love and fear
now she marches through it all, a grounded pterodactyl
a factory toy, hot-glued to itself
she ambles in irregular gears and her hair is crystal pink
and she wears an Exploited t-shirt, bestial Mohawk skull
on her freer wrist a spiked leather band
cherry All Star sneakers dragging
a parcel in motion
alone, though Siouxsie is with her, and Soo Catwoman
and all those carnival pigeons painted pitch and red
who shone like homemade angels under the marble eyes
of the Seraphim of London – I’ve seen them all, the great
the exquisite: they all have wings
and though her wings are skewered, her plumage is courage

girl, everyone is buying something today, or looking to buy something
with cash, or credit, or credulity, or hope
but we’re not getting anywhere
and you just set me free, though you’ll never know it
because I’m staring past you at a poster for Who Weekly
papered photos of complicated rich Americans
I have never heard of them
and you obscure them in your maimed march
mantras of self-improvement, they never stop coming
everything in sight: improving and improved
I’ll ignore this hard preaching, the call to improve
the self-help one-liners splashed around like champagne
the fretting and the expanding and the whinnying
the little useless mouths and the doubt and the excess
we all walk with who we are not
but you’ve got enough of a time of it
just walking on your own.

Englishwoman, black-haired, at the end of a cigarette

Length of gelignite at the end of a cigarette
Scythe of the Coast at the end of a cigarette
Jar of God Particles at the end of a cigarette
Siege of Monte Cassino at the end of a cigarette
Punch of vermilion at the end of a cigarette
Smudge of nonfiction at the end of a cigarette
Englishwoman, black-haired, at the end of a cigarette
Unlabelled peril at the end of a cigarette