States of Poetry

                 Woman

the real sea snoring half a mile away
the scrubbed brick walls of the double lounge and its
samples of african drums flood the speakers

Is that your shadow, weightless,
a smudge of grey dust
in the black trickery of the she-oak?

the ...

Swallowing the sky

What can I say about this
spring day but that the leaping
dog cloud has stolen my attention
away from all earthly blooms.
Such fine points of ears,
legs built for speed, for the hunt,
tail set to thump nothing into being,
open jawed, tasting life on the hop.
Yet even as this poem takes shape,
its inevitable dissolve has b ...

The insistence of now

 

An almost-noir chill day in the cemetery.

A service just finishing, no one I knew.
I walk the line - observer/interloper,
drawn to incongruities, ambiguities.

The way graveside life teems - regardless,
causal. A priest walks by swinging
his thurible, black robes, black puffer jacket.

A child forages tidbi ...

... it shimmers, it does not stop, and I think it wants me.
—Sylvia Plath, 'A Birthday Present'

Here's some activity you may have missed:
pompadour-lure hung three days after I
disentangle.
                       'It misses me.'
The fourth: A ...

Casualties

(Willow Court Asylum, 1827-2000, New Norfolk, Tasmania)

 

Squatting in the bitumen
by the old mortuary
suckering weeds
of blackberry.

Around the hem
of the exercise yard
runtish holly.

Under the scum and stench
of the Frescati pond
rotting water ribbons
and frogs.

An ash sapling
tunnel ...

Nan's budgerigar,
cat fed    squeezing like the morning
fog between oxidized barbed
wire and gorse
with an older cousin
with a slug gun

booting sheep skulls
stripped by gusts, our fathers'
1950s snares    swooped by plovers,
daring: 'yellow spurs! forearms
up!'   shooting star-
lings for laughs

...

Winter

Snow laced the lower slopes
of the mountain today, trees
hooked to filigrees of light,
sky tethered to the mountain’s bulk,
its table cloth of white.
Possibility was everywhere,
the embroidery of snow, illuminating.
Out of the corners of our eyes we spied
our own footsteps like animal spoor,
faintly articulated in the white blanket ...

From his ebony eyrie
the moon is salubrious,
round as the white lotus' root.
The desert's his adversary.

The moon is salubrious
with his godly left eye.
The desert's his adversary,
spiteful, like a hippopotamus.

With his godly left eye
the moon is neither ossuary,

Unexpected on a day like this—
sun shuttling through the 125th Street bridge,
plastic strung in Harlem's elms like tattered wreaths:
unseasonable, unreasonable spring.
Under the red shadow of the Grant tenements
lunchtime noshers clatter china at Bettolona,
dogwalkers spread out on the grass in Sakura Park,
men from the halfway home
drag their deckchair ...

Atonement

 

I

This clutch of buildings
has long died
but the ghosts are still here
trying to find heartbeats.

We need to lie
the mirrors down
and take a hammer
to them.

Make a mandala
out of all this
scratched
and crazed glass.

This place needs
to be blessed
before the ghosts reach