how to express this,
with no words strung into poetry,
but to exhort your eyes
from the terror of remembering,
outshooting from the grass,
there along hills and plains,
their wild flames raging
among violets and purple dead nettles,
now say my heart is the soil –
and this is its rejoicing
….how then to feel this heart beat as if imprisoned
in my chest,
I would live as variously as
the flowers in spring
(and still a flower be)
….or the hummingbird…or….or then a tree….
more than eyes to me would concede,
free from a
My hands to no
Swords and stratagems
I engorge on silence;
And for days there is no contact
With the outside world.
I straddle slowly, closely the winding banks of rivers, the mirror of my own veins.
I avoid the hinterlands, rife of noises and competitions;
And in the
Mist one morning
Will laugh at a distant madness.
We are never more than walking distance or a few miles away from the ocean,
just beyond the hills,
the canopies of trees,
backdrop to every act of living.
her soft breaths lull us into the pleasant realms of dreams,
though now to free upon the remnants of all that has gone missing;
this is not farewell,
the sea again becoming sea
Before I pull the curtains,
How odd that the birds are silent.
And you carry upon your breath
the demise of
Of a friend
Of a friend.
And it is a mirror,
A tightrope of sadness
This beautiful, fleeting intangibility
There in season,
Sky as blue as hope,
Ripened leaves red before falling,
One anteroom of darkness,
another of light,
I dilemma’d in dreams between
But saw her beauty on the other side
You were an axe against
I heard you once at 4am,
until the rushing wave of darkness
came back to
One grey day melds into another.
To swim against numbness.
A bold flame to give one’s heart to.
A tree with gold coins for leaves.
You were quiet but visibly upset;
our time was too short.
There was a stirring in the autumn air.
At first it appeared mere shades of green,
but there were other distinct colours,
explosions of browns, reds, blues, of yellows.
Then, if only could I, with my too human heart, extract from this a general rule
– Let all dying be this beautiful.
A Long day;
And I have loved you in its every era.
across the threshold,
two doors down,
and ‘fore the gloaming,
in the last blitz of soft, buttery sunlight
Tenfold are my sins in absentia.
How many times have I committed that very crime
⁃ deemed you guilty from the shadowy corners of my mind?
But then did your innocence,
in the pristine waters of your eyes,
remove the dagger from my vengeful hand.
I stood there with them in the pews,
Yet, from afar,
I watched them while
waiting there for a conviction,
for a feeling;
an orphan I –
my eyes upon the seas.
( https://ello.co/sirmorose/post/28qkxhwxda9umobaqqqj9w )
You held me in a
with stern hands
that conveyed not warmth but safety,
a full tummy.
and the birds and the bees and the soil and the flowers and the trees and their blossoms could no longer contain their secrets.
Today it all came back to me.
and now I think I understand
In this strange limbo of absence and bereavement, there is no wine or religion to mollify us. For will we meet again some distant morning, as the insistent birds encroach upon our forlorn thoughts, and the dew that springs forth from our eyes is that of our joy? But here in the midst of happiness come the tides of grief, so tell us: what is this to not know but hell…
I wanted life to be the long, pleasant evening that stretched before me. But I turned a corner. I got lost. Winter changed to spring. And from her tender womb this revolution – the flowers, the colours, the serendipities of love. But it was in this great upheaval then that I found you.
An eye on the clock. Once half-hearted. I would have loved you. On borrowed time. And when I’m upon the moon’s harsh tiding, I will say I lose near nothing in its dying. Only one half heart. One eye lent to the clock. Though what dark foreboding seeps to the other side.
(…I was on that knife’s edge
of fear and no fear,
wondering what had so bruised me,
so split me open,
to this frantic morning sea
the sweet breath of everything
to my lips…)
Mine was a quiet indulgence,
I waded in the waters of her discoveries,
the quickly disappearing
hours on end,
only then to find myself,
Last night I slept in the twisted sheets of wanting.
Though I wish to be, as
when the sun is at its peak,
in deeper devotion to all beautiful things,
without bringing them to my lips,
or chain them in servitude about me.
And should there still must desire be –
be only now in the muted streams of yearning,
or in those odd nights,
and in those odd dreams with
On the first warm night,
for I have known winter,
I walked through the
a thick coat,
in icy anticipation,
the moon –
a blue glowing through the thickets
the scented, soft black air -
it was there then that
I laid down my arms.
Though they would with tears,
with an ecstatic soul,
womb of an old country,
call it an embarking,
a ceremony of
euphoric roses –
red, silent, explosions;
the spangled skies,
the glistening shores,
a blanket over now dis-quieted bones.
with an ecstatic soul,
call it an embarking;
womb of an old country,
a ceremony of
red, silent, explosions,
a blanket over now disquieted bones,
the spangled skies,
the glistening shores.
She graces the window
with shadow play,
and golden hues,
free for all
When was it that first she kissed you
in between blinking,
scenes of shimmering diamonds,
of vibrant singing,
an innocent at the ready for mischief,
& I’m captive to the mysteries in your eyes.
A jig would do my eyes
to the flickering rhythm of your form,
a light that pauses,
…though not in weakening,
but to surge with the strength of your flame.
I always felt unworthy in those halls.
The staid sitting down to conjure.
The slavish dedication to forms.
The harsh fingers screeching across the chalkboard.
I’ve come here now to see,
for she must kiss too my eyes
and privy me beyond
the blue hills of knowing.
let her out,
from behind the shadows where joy lies,
let my ears & eyes be the stomping grounds for her smiles & laughter.
Stripped for me your beauty upon the vines,
but how loudly the birds wept at midnight;
men are but brutes,
and only but the songs of love refine them.
To my ears, you
Made no sense,
Would you upbraid
A man for his cleavings and then in his mourning?
That “A man loses all that he would love.”
But he is no callous crow; who would that dance upon the stones of his friends?
But in your smirk –
A subtler compass showed:
“Whatever comes I hold,
And whatever would leave I let go.”
In the quiet hours after leaving
it came back to me. Spilled out of me.
Bittersweet on my lips.
The tall buildings. The
I have wagered it all.
Lost it all.
Found myself richer in the morning.
lies there: raw and open,
glistening in the sun.
There’s no mundane existence
for pass now the highway,
a lonesome church
– a flower here, a flower there,
the dying flames of memory.
When from indigo
I asked would her love be guaranteed:
on some fictional Tuesday.
Her silence to me has given no assurances.
For in the
wrinkle of time
I will fall from what I cannot lose.
But how many our wondrous
Though salubrious to my eyes,
I err in counting.
Your stern hands
(pooling in black memories)
tender in a garden,
(…though plagued upon, my boyish “depravity”…),
but hidden now
in every flower. I remember you.
The streets are empty. I see the bridge out in the distance. On the other side, hemmed in by the sea, the hard sprawl of roofs, and city clocks, and church spires. In this briefest of moments I am poised upon wild reckonings of love and light, and I am thinking of you.
I saw a river from a highway,
quiet yet moving,
roiling beneath a bridge,
love that once astonished my eyes,
but could I, in retreating,
find her still there…
We held hands across the table,
you diverged into another world,
behind closed eyes;
but I would, in my heart,
walk always there with you,
so slip me in,
upon your lips,
in fervent prayers.
In a meadow,
a yellow butterfly,
unburdened from the weight of flesh,
the rosebush, tulips,
me into a song of freedom
Then comes evening, pink clouds poised against delicate blue skies. Black wings that swarm, and frolic, and dip. And what freedom animates their soul? I too in your arms have known this joy.
would I my soul unsullied in its conception,
the enormity that swallows you,
trekking now again the fertile, black soil
‘neath the sullen skies,
a back room,
whole and of yet unspoken,
forgotten and hidden,
all my deepest desires…
for only you
I have seen it from the perspective of a kiss,
beyond the gaze of her eyes, from
where we stood, below the
limbs, and twigs,
sky soft and blue,
in the distance,
a crypt of pink over her shoulders,
and soon now
upon the horizon,
I waited there for catastrophe, felt the burgeoning weight in my blood, saw the shape of her cutting through the darkness, birdsong and daylight on her breath, in her voice, on her skin, and all that befell me was her warmth, her touch, her kiss.
On opening my eyes,
bold is my love,
Burdened only by the thin sliver
of moon from memory,
and so I leap bravely for you.
Moonchild that I am,
Birthed in the light of your fire,
Tender blazing thru thickets of darkness,
I lose myself
In the orbit of your smile
And have forgotten loneliness.
With privy of eyes
I look askance but within,
Closer to me than a brother,
Though I to the yonder half
Clasp in the other hand
A secret unknowable
tides of grief
deliver me to the edge of my skin.
I have dreamt of fleeing the borders of myself to find you.
pursed my lips and
drink of the moon,
The trail there warm & bleeding.
From her hands are
the mountains given,
from her womb gems exiled,
and the furious clouds
into the heavens spewed.
Should the learned aver,
“She is gravely imperiled,”
and must there be doubt,
let all the world
the side of
In the harshness of winter, the hard lessons from father’s hands. But there will be the days of quiet tenderness, gently pressed upon thy furrowed brows, and from the soft assuaging palms of mother spring.
There are odd days in self seclusion I cannot twist my thoughts to suit your ears. I have swum too much the river of aloneness. I must set to the freeing of arms and limbs up into the wide expanses of the universe, and without the grinding, halting commerce of a touch. And in only these moments, of being and yet nothingness, I have found solid honesty.
I held the bleak news in the shadows
while he regaled me with them,
paraded them for me,
the halcyon memories.
But death suddenly becomes his mirror.
I hear it in his changing tone,
his feigned casualness;
says he, “She was younger than me…”
Wide and deep is the mind that it encapsulates the universe, but not her beauty. In other realms there are worlds left barren, and silent chaos rules. And they are smile-less. And they are ocean-less. And they are treeless. And flowerless. And without echoes of children laughing or birds singing. And there is no rain or verdant green garden, only sadness and searing light; for some great god has deemed only her worthy and has poised all delicate beauty beneath her skin.
And in passing, I beheld strangers and provinces with silences for flags. And in each, her internal wranglings and secret politics, the stranger, I would never understand.
Of Rumi & Spring
It is, as I walk the blue dusk.
And it is the sweet river twisting, coursing through my room, from an open window.
And in the morning, though fainter still, weaves itself the rousing, waking scents of everything.
And though I’m but old, it is my first spring.
So I do not curse but prize all wounds
that let the fragrance in.
It was in the spring,
in the season of returning,
A stranger reposed –
The scene still in my eyes,
Long lost brother and I,
and a paltry few,
A muted requiem,
For who knew him?
In from some deep recess,
tiding through cobbled streets,
echoing, cavernous alleys,
the blue moon silhouettes her.
But from my soul ebbs
strands of memories.
And so I do not welcome her.
I have wished it, at the sight of the trees – bleached white and stacked in unkempt piles and fit for a drowning.
I have dreamt of a year
of magical living, maybe in
some slow, abandoned seaside town,
thus to the whims from the sea…
lend myself to every fleeting,
Supine am I and resting, you brownish yellow-breasted and singing, as once was I in realms of wondrous, purplish dreams, but I open my eyes to wreathe them again in this garden of peerless beauty.
On a hill, in the black light of the half moon, I do not know why I stopped at the tree, a blind supplicant in the tabernacle, a pauper at the gates. We are two or three or infinite in number but all are we the same. But I knew not the meaning of these words, though would the truth come to me in a moment, and from the blossoms, and in a gust of fragrance.
Truth or fable, this is what I choose to believe, that day in, day out, rain or sunshine, you stood there beneath the almond tree, looking out in the distance at your God given charges, of which fates and laws have now deemed you unworthy, though in the end only death could release you from their tethering.
beneath the heavens
a blade that
passes right through,
and in the way the day unsheathes itself;
though beneath the carnage
a strange, black beauty.
And in this unfolding
Night is a rose.
Grey, fine mist.
Pink, fallen blossoms:
beautiful deaths that
carpet your gate.
Yet, once in your kisses…
I have known spring.
…the blue ink of night still on their wings, freed the stars from their breasts, they did, a blistering pre-dawn racket. And only with your hand in mine I see: how beautiful the darkness could be…
Find me beyond the rose bushes, silent rivers fearless and deep. Declare me boldly, in fading moonlight, a raging storm, a hidden love.
Dreamt u beneath the heavy boughs, limbs laden with white, strange snow; then up from the dark soil – wildflowers of pink, and yellow, and purple, and blue, how like your beautiful soul.
You stand there, across from me,
or maybe you’re on the back seat.
I scan your face,
and your ears,
the ploughed earth,
the sowing seeds of
for yet was I to learn
the beauty of grace
From the dusky dawn I hid my eyes,
and from the omen, two dueling hawks;
but a boon, the robins ushered me into the day.
I have dreaded the long, cruel evening hours, the shadows upon the morning that loom large, the long tail days that slink into night, and into every room – without you. And I have dreaded in them the empty reflections of myself.
There’s this moment, before she becomes white hot, pale sea blue along the edges, climbs the ladder of the skies, I would turn left, east up the hill along Albert, a bucket of molten gold she pours – in the middle of the street, and it is briefly blinding, or I can see clearly the intentions of her heart.
Saw you again today. Met you years ago. Harboured no recognition. Spent too many days dreaming you. The all too human limitations. The frantic hands. The betrayed impatience to fix what was too late in fixing. Felt neither love nor rage. The crashing disappointment. Saw you again today. Asked with the silence bespoken by those soft and shifty eyes. Do not too harshly judge.
And one day,
Your feet on the morning grass.
Or maybe from an open
back door, or a cracked window:
The rumour of spring.
The tall tales of lives too briefly lived,
Or not at all…
No more, say thy sinewed
arms, to thy towering legs –
more to go.
But so say my eyes,
to my heart:
the flowering fields;
more to grow
these coming days
She surprises me, every time she does it. This no sombre treading. From point A to point B. There is the skipping. And the jumping. The wildfire gaiety. Up all around. The roses that spring. The world has yet earth-bounded. Dancing in remembrance. If only for a lifetime. A youth.
Thick fog that swaddles the trees,
Outside against the grey swathed seas…
sweet rioting of birdsong –
The swashbuckling blades,
Freed my heart and me.
A knife. The sharp daggers of surprises. The bitter pills of disappointments. Flushed red. The fluidity, that curves, that rushes over the harshest of stones that would knock me from my elated perch. The twists and bends, and all life’s wondrous possibilities, there in my love’s eyes – are all the ways a day becomes a river.
3am, rose like a mountain
The Tropical breezes, the cool nights
Lapping, the kissing waves
Soul – shorn of flesh – know its way,
Unfold the world a perfect rose,
a quiet storm of colours
humming from the soil,
in the rustling trees,
a thousand waking, wishful dreams
enjoin, entwine my eyes
in gardens of spring.
Tide that broached my ears. A year is but a moment. I’ve old and simple become. I mourn the quick birds of time. But all I want in lieu of the birds is a fierce song filled with fulgent horns, to puncture the savage joy into the air.
Stripped of the epithet of name,
still would I suspect myself of greed,
incantations that would take me back,
and hold me from the whims:
the green slumbering seas.
After the storm, before the sidewalks are plowed, we share the narrow roads with the cars and the busses and the trucks. But the drivers are decent. They drive slow and are careful. I walk pass an old school that sits on a hill overlooking the road. I go down wide flights of steps that take me to other roads, and avenues, through alleyways, and onto side streets, all the way to the edge of the city. “I belong to you,” some lovelorn, plaintive, 70/80s era R&B Natalie Cole line stuck in my head. A romantic waste. In every city. The high rise buildings. The streets wide but always empty. The buzz that never did come. And I wait for you there.
Oh from the factories the naked flames. And over the highways the dragon clouds. And far out in the distance the city. And should I tomorrow say once had flamed those shimmering lights, and teemed of gods and minions, but say you now merely to me, that once was this a dream.
Unmoored was I in the vast ocean of night,
Till morning was to me prophesied:
In the gleaming splendour of towering apartments,
In unwieldy trucks turning left,
Molten gold dripping slow from
The ghastly high wires, to
settle in snow-melting puddles…
Within me and without:
The big, blue ocean,
And too the night,
The monsters that sat well with me,
But hostage’d were my hands,
And I all guilt reasoned away.
I was there, from the day was the smallest of beams on the horizon. And it came to me as a dream: the gathering, and the swelling, and the dispersing, a soft machine that lets me briefly there…then takes me quietly to that other place.
Down to my last coins,
I count them all in front of her,
Searching for disgust,
Found only the sun,
In the cheery countenance of
I called her Grace.
From the factories, how the angry, purple clouds rise; to the skies, the softest of blues to the palest of whites; to the east, where the blazing orange sun rages; across the bay, where the carefree gulls glide lazy*; by the side of the road, and how the wild wheat endure the terror of the cold; and how my heart blood pumping and red goes every place my eyes go.
On his second coming, and out of the political wilderness, an elder statesman laughs off the suggestion he was no longer a democratic socialist, that he was no longer committed to the ideals of social justice. We made mistakes back then, he says. We put the cart before the horse. We pursued economic equity. We pursued education, and nutrition, and housing for the poor. But however urgent the need, we simply could not afford to do these things. We made the mistake of overestimating the goodwill of the upperclass. That’s one of my abiding regrets, not expressing my vision more clearly, my frustrations more elegantly. Politically suicidal, he once made the allusion to the many international flights in and out of the country; for many this was the last straw, interpreted as a not so veiled threat to those who opposed him. And so they left in droves, taking with them their wealth, their capital, their privilege education; closing factories, supermarkets, hotels – sinking the struggling economy deeper into turmoil and the nation further into a bloody ideological war: pro West versus pro East. But now, decades after, back in power, overflowing with charm, he talks about NAFTA and globalisation as inescapable facts; he talks of efficiency; he talks about the well meaning but ultimately unproductive nature of protectionism, and subsidies; he preaches fervently the gospel of the IMF, the World Bank, more so now than even the suddenly tepid Right. For there are no more national assets to exploit, he says. I have learnt, I have, and the mind is the nimblest of roses…
There was a low, ominous rumbling, a strange train coming, and it came with a dark finality. I felt in that silent stillness that all life had ended, or at least mine, an apple severed by a great hand from the tree. But a miracle, I was able to endure, to see the pale morning moon; and she was just as the frail, white clouds, with only her roundness to distinguish her. And it was so that my joy became my sadness became my guilt, for I should not be here
And it was so, before the sun broke through the greyest of clouds, I found myself in the midst of a secret banquet. And I drank greedily from that heavenly fount, for the gods had made palatable men’s woes, and now there was poetry, and now there was music.
It was in a moment so brief. Our teeth clattered, as if we were two hungry, feral lovers. But I am drowning. And you do not offer me a hand, but say: do not against my love struggle, look into my eyes. And as I fall under, the swirling waters of ecstasy, I go one last time to the blissful call of silence.
Of a farewell kiss…then I turned the corner and suddenly a gust of wind, the dawning realization of alone-ness. But time brings the moon in cycles, and will all earthly commerce of things: in booms and busts. And so will the twilight tide me again to the warming embers of you.
Puerile man. We should laugh in his face. Keen ears. Echoes of centuries of atrocities. His comic eloquence, we know…But more dangerous the lapping, converging audience. For behind the shadows, grimy shovel in hand, our prejudices so crudely stoked.
And we can no longer
afford his jokes.
Vicky has never ever really been a sister, but more a mother, a mother I don’t think even she remembers. It happened a long, long time ago. A curse upon our house some’d say. Fathers eat sour grapes. Set the children’s teeth on edge. But what did mother eat? Vicky told me once, she told me once as we waited there in the swirling, dreamy noise of an airport. A poisoned apple. From a rival. For affection. A lethal human need. Another apocryphal story about mother. A demise shrouded in mysteries. But here now she comes with a maternal bag of ‘you-need-to-do’s’.
1. You need to keep in touch. We’re not getting younger. You can’t keep drifting away. Call. Answer the phone.
2. Go to church. If you don’t want to go all the way to the front sit in one of the back pews. Listen. You’ll find it at least refreshing. Get some blessings. God finds a way of taking back that which belongs to Him. Make it easier on yourself: pay your tithes.
3. Get a passport. There’s more of the world out there to see. There’s Spain. The Mediterranean beaches of Greece. You may not have the money now but opportunities will come. Just believe.
4. You need to believe.
I drove 25 miles back home, showered, went back to bed. A splitting headache. 9:30am. The pillow, the blanket, the sheets, my own exhaustion cradling me. Woke up again at 11am from what felt like the longest sleep. Restless. Looked out the window. The leafless trees. The east where morning first rose from purple silence. The clouds dark and foreboding. I remembered a boy growing up in the south, the telltales signs of impending doom – the fast, black clouds racing over the hills. And as the city burned, swaddled in its pain and panic and grief, I remembered all too clearly another tragedy, another city not too far from here, and I became convinced that should we now live, it is only from overcoming the sickness of being all too human.
The night stood like a mirror before my eyes.
Showed me the errors of my ways.
Showed me my deepest, darkest fears.
And when the dawn light kissed the roof,
So, so happy was I.
You were jumping on the bed like an 8 year old. The cool, soft air magicked, danced, weaved itself through the open window. A quiet, uneventful day. It felt like the prime time of my life. And you suddenly asked what’s that weird smell. It was like the wet smell of a childhood pet. Or mementos locked away in a basement. Old dusty clothes and photos. But it was just night rain, a flirtation with memory.