To a Friend

I saw my friend’s heart break open
In the foyer, in the university,
Staring down
At the cold screen,
The absurd message,
Clean font
And the unspeakable loss.
She is gone,
Beyond the world’s
infinite vowels,
Long piercing cries of the world.
She is lost to the carnage of the day,
So filled with its lives going up escalators
And falling from bridges.
Now she is one of them
And holds all the mute words
We will never hear,
And our sorrow is the echo of her going.
There is no stopping the world
From bringing us to these distances,
Between heart and hand,
Between love and mouth,
Between grief and shore.
It goes on, always ahead of us,
Over there
Singing with the ones we love,
And we remain
With our stomachs burnt with yearning,
Exultant in our loss.
I saw my friend’s heart break open,
In the foyer,
With the lights of the city burning,
Raw and unreachable.
I saw his love,
I touched the nearness of everything.

Night Poem XXII

Night of my nameless grief,
I mourn the death of my child,
the girl who was never born.

She had long, devilish curls
and a song for every shadow.
Her piercing eyes
conquered my frayed and shaggy sorrows.

The child I loved was not her mother’s
was not my own.
She was never born.

She fled like all unspoken things
when I left and shacked up with
that bitch, solitude.

Night of my nameless child,
I mourn the death of my grief,
the one who was never here.

There is an infinite ache on my shoulders
where she sits,
hot hands clutching my ears.

The Wires

I do not know how the others can take it.
Every day, the sky that pretends to return,
the awful houses that hurl deathly flowers to the pavement,
the things that outlive us,

the poles and the wires that were already here long before us,
that glower on every street corner
like grandfathers disapproving of our fashion.

I do not know how they put up with
smiles on girls, dynasties of red lipstick sinking beneath parking lots,
rusted trolleys silently leading tramps
down dingy lanes that want only to die from an assault of lice,

the brains of rats that go off like grenades in fashionable cafes,
and of course the birds,
the pigeons that reek of ammonia, watching us,
while we pretend not to notice an offspring of dust
that collects behind our genitals and ruins our best laid plans.

We, who pretend to know equations of infinity,
perfect roses, poems of love and heroic laughter.
But the heart of the matter is this:
we live in the worn-out grooves that dead tycoons,

hideous philanthropists, and insects of lust once left for us.
There are dogs that play on a wreckage of beach
with a new owner every day.
There are couples that follow each other off the same old piers,
into the same green sea, that is neither sad nor alive,

and a sky that returns and returns and returns.
I do not know how the others tolerate
these corners piled with assassinated leaves.

What I’m Losing

What have I gained
from my penchant for song?
From this window over Kelburn
I watch the impatient wind
shove unwelcome clouds

out the harbour’s door,
out to the shivering south.

And what is meant to remain behind
in this shorn place,
or on a page?
The things I write down no longer want
anything to do with me,

the years already pushing me
out beyond my words.
I couldn’t hold onto
a single one,
my poetry could not keep her.

And although I tried
to commit her voice to paper,
she speaks now with others,
through the others.

My love could not write
her vagrant body
onto this fleeing landscape.