The Process Of Becoming Equal

The sun sets and I find myself
more deaf, more dumb,
a bit of water lost,
and absent a memory far-flung,
each dawn finds us all
a little closer,
a little more alike,
each of us racing through our days
to become true equals
in our graves.

Quietening of Years

The first screams are very loud,
in the arms or in the crib,
and slowly,
slowly,
through skinned knees and
simple heartbreaks,
lost jobs, denials,
traffic accidents and
the receipt of a diagnosis with
nothing more than steely resolve,
each time it grows more quiet,
quiet,
and whimpers out
to silence.

a bad case of poetry

What was the first symptom?
Ba-ba, black sheep, have you any –
and how far it has developed
how feverish the blood,
hot as sick roses and
burning bright as tygers might –
coughing next, through nights alone
imagining sunny spots of greenery,
with rills of wondrous daffodils –
and soon it becomes productive,
ah, here, there, a gob of lyric in the mouth
and spit on the ground, or, god forbid,
swallowed down –
and there is no recovery
only a life lived, spitting out
a thousand thousand slimy lines
until succumbing to the bout.

Hidden

The earth does not gladly reveal riches,
does not flout the gold in every spring;
and humans, too, ought search and store
each good thing
be them gems, or love,
or secret trades,
deep in their heart, and
let these secrets glimmer only in dark,
for wherever a precious vein is found
come those who would rip the world apart
would suffer or suffuse any pain
at the barest breath of any gain

Recovery

Every day a little less evil,
but it is not over,
there is still coughing, convulsing,
expelling the phlegm,
there is still fever, there are still
pains – mighty and meager –
water to drink and rest to be had,
and no time for it.
force rest where you may,
and every day
the jackhammers outside
will chip a bit of earth away,
to mend some hidden and harmful thing
oozing beneath the surface.

What Light?

Who mans the lighthouse, now,
who keeps ships from
dangerous shores –
Who mans the lighthouse, now,
ignorant negligents
or schemers, all?
What profits them –
the pockets of sailors washed ashore?
what plunder could be worthy
waterlogged by such seas?
Why let such wretched beasts
work the beacons,
who would kill so many
to gain so little,
to gain at all?

Home In The Past Tense

When did these walls
become more than plaster,
when did my breath
suffuse the moulding,
my skin scuff each idle tile –
Does a prison, eventually,
love its prisoned persons;
do their lives seep deep
into brick and bar iron?

These moments have bled from me,
streams, then rivers, oceans now –
One cannot hide so much time by
applying a coat of Renter’s Beige,
Institution Green, or Gentrified Gray –
Who will I be when this life is abandoned,
and will the wreck speak fondly of me?

We May Name Them

We may give them names
but they are still monsters –
whales, sharks, bears, crocodiles,
formless and glass-skinned behemoths
of the lower oceans; we will
find them and we will name them,
we will see this as our mastery of
nature, of monstrous and mangling
beasts, tamed and contained,
a name in the mouth of mankind.

We may give them names
but they still have tusks, fangs,
a man may feel nothing to hear the name
“tiger”
until it is shouted in fearful night
and he will feel his blood
thinning to slick an endless gully –
and he will not forget
the sight of a body,
much like his own,
rent, torn, chewed flesh dripping –
a name in the mouth of a monster.