eager

they’re only as eager as
their eyes betray –
few can hide
the film of hunger on an iris,
or the boredom of a sagging lid,
and those who stare
at the whole world,
blankly, dully
who see bodies freed from cloth
with the same excitement as
a list of groceries,
they cannot conceal anything,
for there is nothing
to conceal.

Who Owns This Body

Is this the same body
I woke up in yesterday?
The week before?
The year?
Is this the same body
that plowed fields in the springtime,
studied in summer,
worked office in autumn,
and now, in the glories of winter,
goes to one long rest?
I wonder who was in this body
during the latest of nights,
I wonder who was steering
when all sense was gone –
I wonder,
Was this body ever mine
for more than a day?

Remembrance Beyond Death

I have chased it in a thousand dreams
caught fistfuls of silhouette
scratched and bit
shadow under the fingernails –
awakened by the taste of nothing.
I am proud. I am feral –
Everything real is.

What a curse
drilling through the skull.
Nothing can die in a dream,
no matter how
I dissect and cleave,
bludgeon, burn, perforate –
it will leave in the morning
and be whole again,
in the evening

the dead will trample cities

the dead,
in their mass
rose long ago,
have you known a world
beyond the reach of
dead men?
have our cities
ever stood,
for the benefit of
us mere living,
has our profit always
trickled through cold fingers,
small drops collecting
in our living homes?
can you even imagine
a world freed
from the tyranny of the dead?

spanish galleon

how still your sails
in this cloister,
how quiet your guns,
and empty your decks –
like all great prowling things
here you are, at last,
idle in darkness
and visited rarely –
gone is the roll of waves
and roil of bleached
and battered men,
gone is the toil
and labour of life,
your crew
gone to rest,
in peace, in strife,
in soil or sea,
and you,
your pieces,
pinned and dismembered,
cross-cut and labelled,
waiting,
just waiting,
for me.

mothertongue

this is my only language
the lexicon of every thought
and every feeling –
what words could dare describe
the unknown
that lurks beyond this language,
the feelings that no Englishman
has felt,
the thoughts articulated
by great beasts
dead and unborn,
what paupers they must think us
for all our world is described
by such meager
and worldly
tongues

river

here we are, floating,
until we sink,
until we sink,
smile up at the sun
feel the wind through your teeth,
the water at your back,
keep level, as long as
you can,
and when we sink,
when we sink,
there won’t be much left
to smile for.

green

mouth of smoke and fire
speak to me when you’ve
swallowed your embers,
it is impolite
to show your teeth
when cracking through the coals –
tract of simmering portent,
we know how necessary
you are, for now,
but pray with us
that you may someday
drink long,
drink long
and know silence.

to visit violence

rough men
proud of their roughness
celebrated in the moment,
and afterwards,
afterwards,
falling to pieces like
balsa furniture
meant to last four years
then split across the screws –
tumble,
tumble down
ye rough heaps
who visited violence
and could not leave