19/2/2016

I believed in God for half an hour,
notion sparked as the soundtrack swelled,
and as the words bounced like beach balls
off the walls of a Georgia church hall
with my legs pressed tightly
against the seat in front of my atheist knees.

Maybe, just maybe, someone was listening
as Cassandra sang her song in falsetto.
Perhaps the science settled in my mind as fact
was disguising a fact I’d always considered fiction.
I mumbled a half-hearted prayer and sat,
waiting there for some sort of answer.
Nothing.

Then we left, and on the ride home
to a half-empty University dorm my phone
told me that Lucy had passed away earlier that day,
and god was gone for good.

Columbus, March 2016

Needling

I am the needle
trying to trace the cracks
in your skin like vinyl as you
spin
spin
spin
away from me,
as our songs always skip
too quickly towards static
stillness.
My heart skipping beats
at forty-five revolutions
per minute,
and you will not hear it.

End of the record.
Separation
Your last few rotations
and all is silent.
This is the absence of anything –
of everything,
at which point all is nothing.

So lie with me here.

Chichester, March 2017

Belief

You said: believe that it will get better,
but I don’t believe in much anymore,
aside from the warm breath
against the back of my hand
clawing at an empty space
on the pillow beside me still.

Here, amidst the dark of it all
I am a tidal torrent of thought,
and sometimes it takes everything
to keep myself from drowning.

You, you are a distant shore
upon which my waves
shall never wash again.
I am an ocean of angst
always away from you,
and my waters fade to grey
with the dawn of each new day.

Chichester, February 2017

Underwater…

…this does not matter,
nothing here matters,
just the slow drowning,
lack of oxygen,
lungs maintaining the silence,
feet pushing through
the barrier of sound.
Bubbles and bubbles,
and bubbles,
rising to surface stratosphere,
to nest like birds,
drifting on still waters,
until sudden implosion,
kick of spray.

But down below,
nothing,
absence of sounds,
absence of anyone else,
all is still, so still,
just heart, pumping
away inside naked chest,
eyes chlorine blind,
noting blur of movement,
blue of surroundings,
too blind to roam,
steady sting of water,
arms like fists,
propelling onwards,
to indefinite infinity,
to sudden brick wall,
or nothing at all.
To death by drowning,
to calm ocean grave,
to warmer waters,
or colder climates,
to years stretched,
in the vacuum,
to hibernation under currents,
to a damp front porch,
to air pebbles,
to slow choking,
to it all washing away,
to safety, somewhere,
in the depths.

Down here, are we not safe?
The sun stretches
but can only skim the surface;
the seagulls dive,
but do not dare dive
as deep as we dive.
Temporal waters,
make us all clean,
let me meditate here,
breathe in oxygen lies,
cleansed down below.
Cocoon me beneath,
and hold me like an oyster,
I shall pay you back,
with words for the wonder,
the wild lack of anything,
important;
it all evaporated,
like drops of dew on warm skin.

Chichester, March 2017

Courting Strong

It’s always been the little things
like the way my tattoos always look better
after a heavy afternoon to evening binge.
Like the threads of your favorite sweater
curled up on the pillow as if sleeping,
or like the melody of my favorite song
to which you’re hopelessly singing.
Hitting all of the right notes wrong
and murdering Martha’s Courting Strong.

Sunday Beside the Chattahoochee

You dipped your hand into the river
and felt cold water nuzzling your palm
the way your corgis would at home.
Held it there, for what seemed an hour
until wrinkles formed on your skin
grown soft underwater as our silence
was drowned out by the rapids,
the need for talking taken by the currents,
pulled rapidly towards oblivion,
sinking slowly to the stones,
littering the floor of the Chattahoochee
somewhere west in Alabama –
carried to a different state
as I would be in a manner of days.

We submerged our dreams in the river,
watched the rapid dispersal of our future,
futile amidst the foam at the shore
whitewashed against the rocks;
The wall we’d somehow managed to hit
even though it’d been visible for months
the thrill of the ride always eclipsing
the inevitable end of it all.

You rose, and your fingers cast droplets
out over the water, illuminated in the sun.
You breathed life into this scene,
bringing the kayaks in the distance into focus
as downtown Columbus stirs itself from slumber.
Sunday morning and you’re fresh out of church;
I’m barely fresh out of bed instead
still riding a coffee kick beside the river –
reverence for life beside the water with you.
Holy waters running alongside my holy ghosts
to baptise a life without you moving on.

Stone by stone skimmed upon the surface
absolved at the prospect of leaving.

Chichester, January 2017

Writing Like Buk and the Beats

Normally,
I write like Hank,
carrying a sixpack to the couch
slouching down with laptop
shotgunning beers
inbetween stanzas.
Directing the
occassional cheers
towards Charles on his throne
of empty bottles.

Last week – grey dawn of Chichester back alley – moon cast behind the clouds like owl eye – I tried to write like Allen – O’ Allen – smoke of marijuana stick illuminated by car lights – as the bums perked their ears – and the widows of the city drew their curtains –
– as the seraphs on the roof top stared up towards the sky – the gargoyles of the cathedral raising eyebrows – Jessica at home frowning with disapproval
-my hand at base tapping off ash onto the sidewalk – stale taste on tongue and burning sensation in throat – paranoia of Naomi already setting in – no desire to write for Allen anymore (much as I wanted to)

So I tried to write like Jack, all danger and delight just after midnight, long stretches of open road and notebook held between legs to keep from flying out the window and right off down the street to be found by some hustler at daybreak, left to decipher lines scrawled in the glow of traffic lights at Brighton intersections, sat beside Matt, best driver in the south, a real Cassady type of lad, square jaw and piercing blue eyes right to make any Mrs this side of Southampton swoon by the bar like the belles we found later that night when my writing was done, only for scribblings to be looked at the next day in horrible hangover, incomprehensible after it all, the sad tragedy of another night spent in good company between southern thighs with notebook on the nightstand forgotten for the moment.

I wanted to write like Burroughs, but couldn’t find a score, or a doctor to fill out a script. Blame it on the machine.