Poems I Wrote

Absolution

A friend asked, if my father was comatose on life support
Should I
pull the plug?
What kind of a question is that?
Are they looking for absolution?
Because that will not be found.
To make such decisions about life and death, is to live.
Really live.
It is to remind us that the cycle of life and death churns through the foam of everyday life.
Perhaps Keynes said it best, in the long run, we are all dead.
But how we die is what makes us.
Some might say that we are machines, programmed to wind down and die.
Just like a pneumatic pump.
Like hoisting an engine out of the chassis of a car.
Others believe that we are angels alighting but briefly in these meaty vessels.
These two views not disjoint.
But sometimes, we must choose one or the other.
But
The choice is not fated and
Whatever decision you make, will necessarily be the right one.
And if does not feel like it is,
You must force it into sufficiency.

14 March 2007


Flow

At certain times in winter
I look up at the evening sky
To see the light pour down uncontrollably
Into my body, a waste pipe
The light flows through me, a laxative
Shunting light into brute matter
Through my arms my legs
My toes curl into the cold wet earth
So intimate with the dank
Decomposing bodies of plants and insects
Of the rich brown soil
And who is to say that
it is not an orifice into some other world?

10 February 2007


The Soul of the Box

Sometimes the body just sits there, floppy
Cupped around that second-hand sofa
The bones jutting into rusted springs
The eyes dangling on
The face twisted to face the television set

There is a relationship, symbiotic in nature
Between man and cathode-ray tube
The two joined in communion
Through physicality and intent
The electromagnetic waves fizzes and spurts
through the air from miles away

But we would otherwise be so much colder
Than now, transfixed by another episode of friends

1 August 2006


The Peace that Passeth Understanding

I swallow it
Without hesitation
It is a squat sausage
Mottled pink and brown so thick and juicy
You would want to suck it down In one desperate gulp

But it is not easy to swallow
It gets stuck somewhere between the stomach and the gut
Caught in the windings of the intestines
The body knows too well
To welcome such pleasure so easily

It has a sharp metallic aftertaste
Like the blood of the body of a child
Crumpled up beside a road made of asphalt
Melting in the noonday sun
The tarry sludge covers your tongue
Licking the staleness of a spent bullet

Though temptuous its tough fibres
Can only be digested strand by strand
Infiltrating the marrow the bone until
The body cannot be said to be a body anymore
But a frame to hold an idea

19 July 2006


New York

Standing hunched over keyboard in this apple store
Tap tap tapping away before they catch me
Spinning words on the fly, stolen
From the crackled energy of this city

I look up to see buildings whoosh up from the ground
The trees here are not kings but servants
They serve but to green the
Feet of the true masters of this city
Those glorious scrapers of the sky
Shaving off the majesty of high flying birds
And flinging it back down onto the masses below

I see potent mixes of blacks and whites, olive and brown
All packed in the ovens of the underground
The subway so hot that everybody perspires
Their sweat melts, merges and pools in
The hidden arteries from Harlem to Soho
To Wiliamsburg from the hispanic busboys
To the dolled-up girls of fashion school
To the grizzled Italian bar-man serving
As much attitude as alcohol

And the beating thudding heart in that
Neon black-hole of times square
A bear-trap for the epileptic
It ripples and flirts and entertains
I see dancers and singers and poets
And tourists looking for that elusive something.

31 August 2006


Listen

My intentions are pure
But my gaze begins to wander
As the voice drones on and on

It is the nature of the Speaker
to Speak
And his words pour forth like raindrops
But try as I might I can only
Focus on the space between the words
The voice drones on and on

He pulls out a handkerchief
Dabbing one round silvery bead of sweat
That has appeared on his high shiny Brow
All the meanwhile
The voice drones on and on

My concentration is my friend
But my friend is weak
I wish it were made of steel
Instead of one-ply toilet paper
My mind is easily scattered into the eight corners of the room
The voice drones on and on

My mind drops my body
But not in a good way
The voice drones on and on

Looking up at the scorching white of the overhead
An errant pointer scurries across my eyes
The screen flickers
The power is cut
A universe dies
But the voice drones on and on

24 January 2007


Tea-time #341

I look into my cup of tea
And see some people swimming
I swirl my cup
Making waves and minor storms
I look carefully and see
That they are mostly accountants
Treading tea in pin-striped suits
Some are frightened, others just smile
And wave
I wave back
If they could they would advise me
Of fantastic opportunities
I could invest in the toaster
For example
After a time my thirst takes hold
I raise the cup to my lips
Surprised, I see that some
Are hanging onto the rim
But undeterred I take a sip
The liquid swirls around the accountants
As they wash down my throat and
I barely notice them
Like the 37th decimal place of π
I feel the tea slide
Some of the accountants no doubt will try to
Abseil back up my windpipes
But that would be as futile
As filling in a tax return

24 January 2007


A Smear of Blood

Whining, you wriggle in my nose
You loop in my ear canal
Striking always in the moments before sleep

I can't take it

I want to snatch you up
Smash your face
Just like that
Then crumple you with my fingers
into a mixture of pus and blood leaving a tiny little stain of red
I rub that smear of insect paste into my cheeks Like rouge
I feel the cool of new death on my skin

It is not unpleasant

It calms
It feels like sacrament
Like the fist time I touched a dead body, I have violated the living
The breathing and the dead are separated by a film so thin but impenetrable
I run my fingertips along its surface
before long, I can longer tell
where my warm body begins from where the dead insect ends
My blood coagulates
The tracery of my veins harden into marble

1 September 2006


Godless Sight

"The eye that I see God with
Is the eye that God sees me with"
  ~ Meister Eckhart

I am the eye
The all-seeing eye
Worlds fall in my ken

Who then sees through that
Shiny plastic screen
Screwed inside the cone of the cramped cockpit
Diving screaming
From the vacuumed air above
Into the thickened smog below
A vertical prayer
From eye to screen to cross hair
To the phosphorescent green trace below
A trace with legs scrambling
A headless chicken
Your daughter's head
Scrambled at the sight of you
You squint harder into the screen
And with greater resolution it might even show
The creasing of the skin
As their face contorts at the moment of sweet impact

I see with pure electricity
The wires that fall away
It is an action as easy
As banging a cartridge into the hole
Joining hardware
to software
to joystick
To hand
To eye
You see through the eyes of another
Carrying some oversized triple-barrelled double-loaded shot-gun
Spraying pixelated bullets in technicolor death and fury
It is a pure expression of the soul
It is a divine handshake
It is an armored tank on threaded tracks
The hand that slaps the ground
And leaves plutonium dust in its wake
That corrodes the lining of the lungs of all who pass by

I see with eyes bloodshot from desire
Just as he, our god, desires
Not from on high
But from below
Like a trick in a peep-show
He shoves another coin into the greasy slot
The window opens
He watches
It is the dance of the seven veils
As each piece of fabric falls to the ground
Another patch of skin is exposed
Luminous and white
That burns into his far-gone eyes
And then the glass rises up again
The circle is complete
The cycle ended
Until the next coin drops

I see the stars through a telescope
A slivered tube of metal
That cups a piece of frosted glass
Calibrated crystalline
It scatters my vision amongst the stars
Grains of light
Balls of fire
Touching off a finger of corona
A strange filigree of light stretching
From star to telescope
Filling my head with starlight
Bursting my skull, a throbbing migraine
The pain
Reminds me that I
Are here but also there
The same point but far apart
The lord giveth the lord taketh away

To see is to perceive the naked
Peel off the eyelid
With a rusty potato peeler
Expose the viscous fluid to the corrosion of the air
Do you see better?
Unending sight
Blinkless
Without interruption your
Inner eye reflects off
The surface of the outer eye
The two converge
The light becomes the dark
You must realise
It is darkly
As it was in the beginning,
and ever shall be.

28 August 2006


Heart work

My heart is ready to explode
Pumping hard against my ribcage
A rugby player kicking his way out of a sack
With every kick my sternum rattles
Wind rushes into my overworked lungs
Hungrily sucking in oxygen
Softly absorbed by the tendrils lining the surface of the lung
I feel collapse creeping over my limbs
Crimson-scented flow of blood flush my face
I must look like a tomato
I stop
Breathe
Breathe again

1 July 2006