poem from a high hard sleeper

 

swirls of red dust
grey mountain line
non-descript
and, above,
some black clouds threaten.

an engineering marvel
they always say
utility poles, wires, disrupt dirt
and thousands of li
of green fence.

two ladies in the berth opposite
watching loud chinese soaps
on a mobile
while i drink an imported IPA
bought in xining.

more flat miles pass
trundling ever upward
but this does not feel

like the roof of the world, yet.

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poem about ten to midnight 2016

a poem i wrote on this night last year. 

i wanted to write a poem
about 2016
for awhile, but then nothing came.
i waited, watched deathly hollows two,
felt the weight of severus’ death this year
and all the others
and the coming one so and too soon,
then took myself to twitter
to expel the need for some kind of
resolution.

spent the year
swirling around in mysteries
the enigmas of san lorenzo
and his ancient street
and his bratwurst mile

and so it begins again, all at sea,
with more questions than answers,
a weight
prequel to the one to come.

sure, i’m not a poet
and despite this year of lyrics
the twelve month’s best words –
and the only ones i’ve written worth
uttering on a cold rooftop, or a serviced apartment
with the aircon on at new year’s –

were always about you.

poem on UFOs over galisteo

 

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it’s the instants.

melting butter in a pan
a swirl of soy sauce
stirring chopsticks –
that lift grief to my throat.

i was fine just now,
but then

once more, i’ll tell a stranger
how we saw UFOs that night
darting like summer flies
over the Ortizes.

another Dos Equis
desert vespers
thick ice clunking
in mason jars of well water.

you’re everywhere now.
above the Sandias
the pho joints of south London
feathers on trails i walk.

your instructions always were:

…see the world
don’t come back…

and you meant that.

poem from a hurricane

november and our star
sinking pink along the edges
of an island.
east of the desert
this tumbledown town
minds my heart.

i will live out some existence
looking for sunsets
that glow corners
where you dallied
in record stores
digging for comics.
you’re a nocturn
trying to poach day
without light.

we wandered a lane, lost in the mystic
years ago
i showed my face, you your quietest places of heat
and hysterics
we huddled for awhile, fingering this found treasure

carpet store’s aflame
the street’s blushed
lamps come on
and you – somewhere north
– tucking our wealth into a jewel box.

still, the world en rose
lavender
a royal hurricane.

poem about the perseids

supposed to be writing about stargazing. instead, a poem, written a time ago, on the same subject.

a shiver
and wait, neck craned, for a spark
of some comet’s con trail
to blaze far-offly through an upward gaze.
pour another drop of wine
brain firing on syntax backwards
like everything to do with us.
the heart is a vicious machine,
at least in the verse and melody
of the school of spies.
and in this crisp weather,
when autumn feels imminent,
the love of a great name
gives such pause to
those who must scare each other –
deep down –
with the things never said aloud
but felt.

poem from the train to bukhara

dusty, dry, golden
the fan mountains silhouette
a line of white chevys,
blue soviet trucks

a level crossing
then dushanbe, and
afghanistan after.

vestiges of trade routes that criss-crossed
this land like vines
creeping up trellises, along shanty
warehouses, next to a
dwindling river
carving a ribbon of
jade through the
desert.

in some other universe

there is a caravan
packing your heart
next to mine.

7 september 2017

poem from the summer solstice, 2017

the hottest day this year
the longest day this year
sun glinting white-simmer off a blue peugeot
sweaty cyclists and women in too-big sunglasses
passing picture windows.
me, wood-surrounded in the dispensary, hide from the warm
resist the sweat, zest, passion, pure swelter
outside reeks wet and heavy, like beijing
or LAX in late spring
when the 747s are all idling at accordion jetwalks
and the tarmac, baking, sends up shimmering hotwaves.

they say the stars have lost siblings
are they theirs and where do they meet
in the rites of afternoon
is it in feet splashing through lido waters
or walking up chalk escarpments
where do they meet
in this verisimilitude

glimmer, twinkle, glimmer, blink
the sunset has its way
houses, chimneys, bricks, grease-worn cafes shutter
glimmer, twinkle, glimmer, blink

the hottest day this year
the longest day this year
rays pinken the streets and their doors
couples swig their pints and get louder
arguing on barstools.
did anyone speak, do we ever? when the sun hits blinds,
resist the pull, zest, passion, pure kismet.
inside, a hi-fi drums some kind way to suffer
or, like rabbits in early summer
whose promises tomorrow are rings of fire
and time seems to be running out, and back in.