The Taste Of Brambles

Thorn-pricks and pin-points and
electric on the tongue,
the rushed spurt of blood
from soft places,
the change of moisture –
acid to base
(like wind shifting north to south,
no change in composition
but it feels like leaving home)
and the thought that
you can’t keep this where it lays, certainly
won’t be able to mash and chop and chew and
swallow down these brambles, no,
but they’re lodged too deep to spit away, no,
and nobody wants to be seen
spilling their brambles out to polite company.

The Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter

Eight hundred years since last these two
bright sparks coalesced as one;
and time beats on, beats on,
shaping and quenching and throwing off sparks and steam and
eight hundred years more will pass,
with more smoke, more flame, more
sparks in the sky,
and in eight hundred years the peoples,
soot-scarred and weary,
will look up at the sky, just like tonight,
just like me,
and curse these black clouds.


We look up at the stars and thank, thank the
cool night and the mucky earth and
the buzz of mosquitos,
bzz bzz bzz and the quick slap, the
dab of blood, and we thank the
crimson pinprick
and we thank the slap, too.
We look up at the stars and think how wondrous it is
to live in a world with so many poisons,
slick and warm in the gullet or
fast and lethal in the blood,
how wondrous it is to
leave new red pinpricks on our arms,
how happy and whole we feel,
how heavy,
and how beautiful it is, the two of us,
sinking deeper and deeper into the muck,
with our fingertips up,
brushing away the heavens.

led by the guess

plates on plates stacked
and spinning,
teeming with masses,
who guess that the rung above
knows; each rung, knowing only
that they themselves can only guess.
Surely someone knows,
surely someone is keeping the plates
spinning, spinning,
surely this is not the mere
slow flying apart of a system,
or so we are led to guess.

are friends forever

do they emerge, wholly-formed of clay
and light, do they
spill sunlight from their mouths and
shed tears more precious than diamonds, do
they know who and how they are, do they
know how much will be lost with them,
how much would be paid for them, do
they rise in the morning and
fall in the evening (we can only suspect),
do they last beyond warranty,
through repair, do they
survive earthquakes, the hurling of stones,
do they stay with us, from town to town
and life to life, do they
remember our faces or
do they end up,
in a crinkle-metal junkyard
with all the rest?

when i pass

do not weep for me as i pass
this brain has made ascent to ash
these feet have walked the final hall
and all of me has gone to lull

do not weep for me – who knows,
perhaps something of me still grows
if not here, then somewhere brighter,
lovelier, livelier,
with nights deeper and days lighter,
some place neither far nor near.
and if you weep – i will not hear.


they say all clouds have silver linings,
they’re wrong,
but they say that.
there are fish that live their entire lives in darkness,
monstrous fish,
with heads like the naked steel of tractor engines,
and bodies like the scribblings of children;
and deep in the dark, remote places,
places even mankind cannot ruin,
there are creatures with long, slender lures,
bright-shined and dangling
in front of thin, sharp, teeth.
And certainly some would approach that silver light,
bright and pure,
with no regard for the endless hunger
that supplies it.