At the bottom of a Glass 

At the bottom of my glass lie the dregs of disappointment. 

Sad to have drained the rest, regretting the first sip. 

Drowned in a feeling, bursting through the surface to sleep 

A gentle breath on the other side, such consolation 

If it were full, half drunk or empty it didn’t kill us 

And the rhythm of my wheezing breath 

Tears its way out of heaving lungs 

Through acid scorched throat 

Into a stuffy room made good 

By a gentle sleeping thing. 

The String Puppet

The rings on his fingers were golden chunks set with onyx

His hair draped like a thin black veil around his head

Hardly hanging on at the crown.

He stood like a string puppet on the stage

Limbs all angles, motioning to the audience

Come closer please, and hold your breath

The first three rows stand and swarm

Their seats and minds forgotten

As the puppet starts to sing.

With the beat of the drum the crowd moves and sways

Directed by the puppet, mastered by the strings

A murmur, a muttering lyrical cry

And the vibrating clash of the church chime

The staggering puppet man points

With a crumpled floating arm

And goads the congregation

Who tremble and shake like mad things.

When is it over? It is never over.

The higgs boson does not bend for time

And the power of the puppet never dies.

The transmogrified antipodean poet will return

Or so the papers say.

The sky never falls, but is pushed away.

Filth

Foul smelling filth is everywhere

Invulnerable to wiping and scrubbing

washing, mopping, and sweeping

It collects like sand in shoes,

Or lint in an old pocket

The record of living

I can’t get it off me

I can’t breathe the clean air

I was promised

Don’t start!

It’s on you too

Covering you head to foot

A fine film coats the world

And all is tarnished, uncleanable

Even the fresh born Babe

This is mortality I’m sure

It’s the only explanation

With only one cure.

Can the filth survive a great fall?

Or graceful, blissful drowning?

Or a stomach full of pills?

Well then it wins

Stakes victory in the corpse

And brings on the flies.

Until the final toll is taken

And the doctor signs the file

Filth is kept in check.

An ugly opponent true

And try not to sniff

The smell of decay, exterior, impersonal

It hasn’t got you yet.

The Tree

The tree bark cracked and gnarled

Grazing the skin, leaving a fine wet powder

On every limb.

A dead branch breaks

And hands scramble to catch

A pimply knot, just in time

For the fall is far

Only broken by hard things.

Higher and higher

The arms of the tree grow thin

Like fingers

Waving flat hands in the breeze.

The dog sniffs and howls

He’s grown bored exploring the scrub

And he looks in vain at the tree.

The happy freedom to die

By unfurling the griping hands 

On the base of a branch.

As the leaves salute the sky

And the living wood dances

To the wind’s own rhythm

It is peaceful up here

In the swaying shoulders of the tree

Atop the ribcage ladder of the earth.

See the houses with their crude compactness

Hemming in the residents

Hiding them from the sky.

They are so small from here

And unmoving

They can’t get us now.

Seatoun

The wild waves slap the rocks like drunk husbands
Then roll back to gather strength.

The sky mirrors the dirty steel of the water
And peers down like a superior sibling.

Dividing it all is the wind
Punching, and pushing, and sweeping the coast.

It’s full of cold, refulgent with memory
It was here before all else,

Before the land

Before the sea

The wind was always whistling.

It told the Māori they were home
And scored their sad eviction.

It fights the airplanes as they land
And the ferries as they sail.

It is the wind that makes this place itself
Its soul, immortal breath.

And if if it left my God what then
Tis a thing of death.

As waters bounce and tumble
And clouds twist and roam,

The wind rolls on as it always has
So strong, so loud; alone.

The Whistle of the Wind

So harsh is the whistle of the wind

As the earth buckles and the towers of glass and steel tremble with fright.

A pedestrian coughs revoltingly as her peers dodge barely noticed buses.

There is no logic here, no coherence to the time so it passes rudely.

Night hours race and leave sheets barely ruffled

While the tyres wear out and the horns blare on.

A meek fellow sits in a right little jam pondering excuses he’ll never use.

He’ll just drive to work and take the lash without a word.

You’d barely notice the bags under his eyes getting larger and darker

And his skin showing the atrophied flesh beneath it.

He’s a pending one-line obituary and has the sense to know it.

Piles of students stack classrooms that stack schools that stack a central balance sheet.

The sheet says all is lost.

The youth, the future, the hope that mollifies the patient while the doctors do their rounds.

Morbid learning is the chorus while the players boil in their youth.

Glacial teachers yearn to be close, to thaw, but just end up freezing their captive young.

So the present turns to stone and the future evaporates to air,

Some escape, some make it we are told with an earnestness deserving murder.

The higher ledges yield the more entertaining falls, do not deny us!

This is the universal poison, the hemlock drunk before we had a say

We all fall, and let us mock the air as it races past

The final earth approaching.

The meek man’s fire is embers only

Unfueled it licks its last.

Can the fire ignite again before the freezing starts?

If not then fine, it is expected

The ledge beckons, the crowd is bated

The rush of air as the frozen thing tumbles

And shatters on the ground

So harsh is the whistle of the wind.

Take Ice?

Where is the ice? He asked.

His drink was too warm and strong

So I found him some shards of ice.

But the diminished strength of his drink

Was undone by the three more he gulped down.

Swaying he stood and declared his love for a shadow

And returned to the hotel to have an infarction just before dawn.

Is an addict less an addict if they mix down their poison?

When over time the corpse begins to smell and ossify

And be buried deep or burnt to spare the living

Does it really matter if they took ice?

Don’t care, don’t want to know

The answer makes me sad

Because I know.

Bloggers Block

This past wee while I’ve had bloggers bock. Its like writers block, but limited to blogging. I mean I can still write, and am writing quite a bit, but haven’t had anything to put up on here. Sorry to the wonderful few who check out this site regularly. I do have quite a large back catalogue of essays, reviews, polemics, cartoons and poetry that you can check out if you like. I am not sure when the next original post is going to go up, but everyone needs a rest occasionally. 

Anyway, here’s a poem:

Nothing more to write.

The keyboard is impervious to slips now

I can’t muster another line about the day

Or the night, or the right, or the wrong.

There’s nothing in my limp, open hand

Nothing on which to stand.

Unhinged the jaws of yawning time

Purposeless, graceless

Consuming without nourishment

A bridge on flat land

A boat in the desert.

That is what it is to type away with nothing to say.

Unknowledge

There’s no certainty at the top

But relentless knowing unknowns

And shadowy unknown unknowns

And awful unknown knowns

When the devil brings down the mountain

Through an easy impossibility

He just disagreed.

How hot your world burns

How bleak the days ahead

And succeeded by the bright eyed prince

Your bloody crown his laurels

Then repeat the tape

Turn his bright eyes blank and cold

Crush his spine with heavy unknowledge

And burst the dream of peace.

War needs no certainty

No stringent rationale

It’s like falling off a mountain

Peace is the climb.

Pondering a summers day

The sun is up, the sky is blue, the breeze is gentle.

Not a bother, some food, some work, some thought.

Not too much of any, not even quite enough

Good while the summer days last

When the sun is up, the sky is blue, and the breeze is gentle.

Gasping on the beat, pulling at collars

It’s not too late to change course

To stop at the drowning of the toe.

Because the sun is up, the sky is blue, and the breeze is gentle.

I made a hole in my wallet that steals all my cash.

In return I get a brief reprieve from nothing,

Before something disappears.

Yet the sun is up, the sky is blue, and the breeze is gentle.

Slowly it builds, with tenderness it collects

And at my back it pushes softly

Growing with the years.

See that the sun is up, the sky is blue, and the breeze is gentle.

Not so gentle at my back, the cyclone force

Undeniable, irrepressible, drawing the edge

Moving me closer

Into the shameful quiet

Away from smiles and thoughts

And witty dialogue delivered without the wit.

Without me, the sun is up, the sky is blue, and the breeze is gentle.