August 11

(Things I have learnt in Japan.)

You will pack too much
But what you need you won’t have .

That Rilke doesn’t help.
Colin Wilson has no answers.
And Steinbeck can fuck right off.

That something crumbling
Fits the smallest compartment
Yet takes up too much space.

That words are alien.
Places are just variations of the same thing.
And ultimately that which is beautiful is lonely.

That time can be given away.
That grey clouds are portable
And nowhere is too far to bring loss.

And vegetable gyoza do not exist.
Bill Murray does not exist.
But Belle and Sebastian does.
And ultimately that which is ugly is lonely

August 8

More than words.

Set down with a handful of phrases
And a loss of what was meant
It doesn’t take much room to pack
My old heavy heart

This brittle tongue
Is a half bitten language.
I miss being so completely
(Mis)understood.

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August 5

This is an early (jet lagged) pre-draft.

Today I saw the clouds from above for the first time.
Sheets, blankets, pillows set in perfection, their precise solitude
A bespoke blend of silence, an installation on the fragility of seconds
And interruption; a study of the undisturbed nature
Of things left alone. An occasional gift, glimpse of sea
Shoreline, field. From 40,000 feet the world is but a sleeping baby,
A beautiful tortuous thing, ultimately loveable.
Taken away from the road I saw the vastness
Of untouched space, oceans of forest, and water,
Wide and convincing. Saw the frivolity of villages,
The capability of cities. Wide wake I flew past time
Through the confused sky skipping night, to meet many slow sunrises.
There’s a peaceful calm in submitting my life to pockets
Of turbulence, a tired pilot’s will, fiery crash or rushing sea.
I find in flight entertainment in endless fascination
Of the fear of those afraid of losing lives
Spent only in magazines, gaming or general ambivalence.
As a final dawn melts into view I am already burning.
There is just one lone star in the nightless mesosphere.

July 31

An Answer,

Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it life?
Mary Oliver

Yes, but then who the fuck isn’t?
Your ideas on the nature of being are admirable,
but really I do need more then talk
of waking souls and returning to roses.
To feel grass and sea. Abandoned desks.
Wide awake my curiousity is aroused
and mobile as the precious clouds
but my sadness will not disperse, will not be eased by tide
or caressed by fields of wheat. Does not bend
in the presence of a perfect flower
or shrink in the shaking of a leaf.

Yes I see beauty in the ordinary.
And I feel the touch of tender warmth, harsh cruelty and react
but still my connections wander off in search
of portals out of reach. Still I am confronted
by the banality of other people, tedious lives
who cannot feel the weight of their own waste,
the enormity of being in their fat laps.
You cannot coax these people with sensation!
What good is finding yourself if in doing so
you only find yourself more lost?

Please, Mary, teach me how to share this space.
How to soothe the despair from my bones
and imprint it onto a stone I can throw from a bridge
into the eel like undercurrents of some filthy river.
Tell me how to tease the grey dog that guards
old wounds of my heart, how to soothe his snarl
and permit some repair. Show me how, in sunlight,
to stop myself seeing the ugly prisons
of dust moats trapped in limbo, and return to the wonder
of floating specks of gold.

July 28

The One With The Withered Line.

I’ve been looking for a poem
One I’d read some time ago and not been able to find since

In some despicable anthology of love
Or somewhere, by someone famous I think

Nice, though not particularly memorable
Except it had a beautiful line about trees and stars

Which was really about understanding.
And although I don’t really recall if the boughs

where reaching or sheltering, it was their quiet steady that drew me.
Nonetheless. I thought of it and saw giants.

Maybe it wasn’t even all that beautiful
Just stuck with me in a moment of clear sadness

When I thought I understood small things.

July 22

Today I read a truly terrible poetry collection. I am not sure how this has affected me, but it has.

shine.

i might ask you to paint me, each part individually.
perhaps green for my feet and orange calves
raspberry thighs, a purple curve of belly
yellow sex, cerise buttocks
turquoise stripe of the spine
teal shoulders, bridal breasts, scarlet neck
blue sweep of cheeks
violet lips
gold across the eyes.

i once had a dream in which with a pair of kitchen scissors
you took me to pieces. first the clothes ribbon nestled at my feet
then the feet, toe by toe, heel, ankle, legs and so on until skin fat
and sinew removed you stood before the bones, and shined a light
upon them so they may catch and radiate
and in them you saw the missing hues, the sad truths
finally open dazzled like a rainbow, and in its glare your pallor
extinguished like a sudden fish beneath
the surface of deep water and the oil slick of its gills
a bursting thing in sunlight.

as i woke i thought of a song, i thought of the dark trellis
of your jaw while the light was busy burning the room
and turning everything upside down.