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 XVIII

Beautiful mama,
you’re burning up.
What terrible fever have
I put in you?

All night,
the fever burns you
in and out of love.
Damn it baby, I want your fever too.

Your skin hot on my tongue,
your breasts like flame,
your violent whimpers
scratch like thorns.

The louder you get,
the closer I come to a star of agony.
Beautiful mama, I’m burning up.
What terrible fever have you put in me?

I want your disdain,
I want your coy hips,
I want your blood’s exhaustion,
I want the anarchy of your dark sheets.

Night Poem XVII

Who can resist the night,
disobey her giant’s arms?
See how she dims their fierce lives,
for her dark palms are cribs,
and in them lie, in equal count,
lizards and women.

They accept this,
the soft erasure of their finite span,
and call it sleep.
Given a name, sleep becomes part
of the logical momentum of our
feverish accumulations.

But sometimes one, quite inexplicably,
yet filled with strange expectation,
refuses to close his eyes,
and waits up into the night’s deep realm.

And he discovers in her deserted streets,
her rustling orchards,
an amplified existence,
weird noises that echo
the weirdness of his own soul.

What the boys and girls bestowed and
named with songs and rumours,
the night assiduously removes.
What he used to call bird cries,
could now be wind, could be colours.

What once was wakefulness
is now pure tension,
the promised vibration of his fear and longing.
And the day bestows, and the night effaces.

And he walks on through her deserted streets,
out of language, out of landscape,
until his name has no meaning,
and is only a chord struck on the night’s enormous bell.

Night Poem IX

She could cure me with those black eyes.
Or she could be tonight’s infinite hair,
let down for me to drift in,
exhausted by a sexual shore.
She destroys the dawn at its edges,
she corners the world in a room.
With a smile, she torments it
until the confessions flow like blue honey.
In a room the size of a pin
I hold her gaze,
to delay catastrophes.
I discover expanses of desolation and love.

Night Poem V

The night brings its own openings,
its own fissures of chance,
to those initiated in its bittersweet fruits.
On a bridge strung from dark star to dark star,

youth blooms from the icy flow,
and I am thrust from my memories,
and I am shown the beginning of my life.
And trembling,

I am filled with the beauty of
what is to come,
and the immensity of my soul.
The galaxies full of sadness,

that until now waited,
embrace me like a comrade,
while the night sings in a riot of stones below.
And I am now the sensation

no one could describe,
and I am equipped for my life
with a blindfold of journeys,
and I wear a robe of mountains.

Climbing up Hills Before its Too Late

Looking down at my fleshly toes,
I creak to the loo at 4 in the morning,
a listing dreadnaught,
careening into doorframes.

Flick of the cold light puts first signs of age
in stark relief,
and I transfix on swollen pink
round the callouses

I’ve gathered like memories.
There was once a boy who
drove these long-neglected feet
over wild fields of autumn,

revelling in the sensation
of sharp, dry leaves,
that crackling sound of victory,

young projectile body,
tumbling down slopes,
a mad-capped wind at my heels.

Do I still want to climb mountains,
like that one over behind my house,
with its antenna
erect and ridiculous and
contemptuous under the sky?

I dream of that hill,
and the things I might find up there,
a place above the heaviness
of concrete,

the weight of noise.
Up there, I know,
on nights thick with summer
treacle,
young bodies still writhe and love
in the grass under the stars.

Up there,
musical bodies go off like
firecrackers.

The Adulterers

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Three days you lay sick from what I had done,
with the knowledge of our nights inside you.
Like spilled ink that flows into atrocious purples,
they cannot be taken back.

Your maid tried to kill herself,
the shame had become like an unbearable child.
Kneeling before her confession,
she wore that thick and ugly whiteness
that spurred us both on to seize our forfeit paradise.

This world of doll-like beauty,
the weight of a thousand-year-old paper folding fans,
which we dared to destroy with our bodies’ provocations,
ranges against us now with measured ferocities.

It is now, when at last I have lost you to them
that the vision of your soiled cloaks sears me.

Through layer after layer the ink comes, irrevocable,
mixing our dark bloom of love with
finely sutured lotuses, sullen tigers, impossible cranes.

Were those robes not like exquisite chambers
which this century had meticulously prepared for you?
When the ink breached them, we both wept with joy,
for they became the one pristine debasement I could offer you.