Saturday, July 7, 2012

To a pencil

Past midnight, last day of the summer
the shore unraveled in gentle echoes
under the half-mooned sky
as campfires throbbed
like amorous young hearts in longing.

Eager to untangle my sandy numbness
I scrambled some wood and stole some fire,
fervidly dreaming of poetry
("Past midnight, last day of the summer...")
only to realise that it was no longer mine.
The evening must have swallowed it
somewhere along the way.

Waves hummed at strangers, stars squabbled
and fires crackled till dawn
but the night never recovered,
silenced by the clumsiness of fate.

Morning arrived
and another eventually took its place,
younger, shinier, crisper.
(It even came armed for exigencies,
an eraser for errors.)

Together we travelled far and wide
crumbling streets and solitudes into words,
conjuring and consuming existences
but every line scribbled since
has been like a tune played in the wrong hand,
a vague exertion in recalling
something that can never be recalled.

Poetry had forked that night, irrevocably,
and with it had vanished an unbegotten future,
a campfire's porous whispers
and the unclaimed desires of a lovelorn summer.

Between every thought and its word
lies a fleeting destiny, a forever carved of wood.
Mine frays on an Iberian shore,
an exile warped in an unfinished summer,
befriending a sand crab, perhaps.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On Mark Ruffalo's "Hulk"

Nothing survives.
Not the scarred memory of love,
not silence, or the promise of amnesty,
or secrets, or fenced kindness,
or the absurdity of fear,
or freedom encased in lead.

All that remains
is the thawed distance
between the furrowed brow
and delicate reason,

just the darkness that is green,
nothing more.

Friday, February 17, 2012


"I adore imperfections," she went on, "that odd crooked tooth, that mustard stained page in the magazine, the creak of an old closet, petty jealousies for strangers' shoes, that scratched DVD that always freezes after 14 minutes, the cracked tile behind the handwash, that typo in the exam paper, the pear-shaped scar behind the ear, the static that accompanies old tapes, that needless lie on the application form, that awkward boy in the class picture, those "R"s at the end of foreigners' words that always loiter on the tongue too long... It is there that beauty hides, in our inadequacies, the incompleteness of moments, our life's errata. Yet we spend so much of our lives insulting them, striking them down. How can it be that we're taught to reject the romance of imperfection for the boring predictability of perfection?"

The street was mostly empty, save for the occasional shape staggering out of the big red door by the bend. We were seated on the pavement, legs stretched out with our backs to a beige wall. Neither of our feet could reach the edge of the pavement, we weren't tall enough. Ahead of us, the street unfurled in waves of rectangles, the shapes grooved on the wall behind us uniformly flowing into the road and marching up the wall on the other side. If anybody was on the terrace above looking down onto the street, its creases making for a perfectly ruled notebook page, I suppose our parallel shapes would have made an ornate "H" inscribed in an old english font, the slender poster rolls bridging our knees.

"Yeah, I know. This is the night talking. The empty street, the river's faint murmur beyond that circular square, the evening's sugar and, of course, all those poor exsanguinated grapes. When the sun comes up in a few hours, I know, everything will be normal again. Shamelessly we will chase ghosts again, the perfect answer, the perfect love, the perfect memory, the perfect score, the perfect outfit, the perfect smile, the perfect car, the perfect riposte, the perfect job, the perfect son, the perfect house, the perfect future, the perfect death even... It's just what we are. And along the way, unknowingly, we will lapse further into ordinariness, becoming what we were always destined to become - someone's forgotten classmate, someone's slack employee, someone's unsent letter, someone's shared cab-ride, someone's thoughtful gift, someone's chronic disappointment, someone's annoying neighbour, someone's smear of lipstick, someone's grumpy customer, someone's anonymous sandprint..."

The words trailed away. She sighed feebly and fell back onto the wall, staring ahead. By the time she slowly turned her head towards me, we were both smiling. She leant closer, letting out a slow whisper, "I've never heard myself talk this way, ever. Will you at least remember?"

Friday, February 10, 2012


"Be careful"
they said every time
our hands reached out for the doorknob.

A thousand sundays later
here we are
lingering at thresholds
lest we are not "careful" enough.

Monday, February 6, 2012

An education

[To Wislawa Szymborska]

Under a bridge in Trzebinia
there is a wooden bench
whose planks are no longer parallel.
They lean into each other
the way sundays do into mondays,

The view looks out on a silence
whose throat has long dried up.
Top left corner: a steeple clambers up the sky
desperate to escape its inhumanity.
Elsewhere, saggy electricity cables argue
like old men over newsprint.
On tired railway wagons, time frays.
Unshaken, dry heather sways
like postmen's yawns.

It was there
that you sat me down and unfurled life
as things came tumbling out,
"chairs and sorrows, scissors,
tenderness, transistors, violins,
teacups, dams and quips."
It was almost as if
good old Prometheus had
taunted the gods once again.

At night, old dreams return
like cats to spilled milk.
In the unwitnessed quiet of a windowsill,
that stolen flame still cradled
in my grateful heart,
I remember.

[4:43 am | 3rd February, 2012]

Friday, January 20, 2012

April 30, 1945

Sixteen years have walked next to us,
beseeching destiny,
and finally, the day has come.

we behold liquid immortality
trembling in a little bulb of glass.
A tender bite for that eternal hunger,
the song of our finality.

Jealous fate has thwarted me twice
but not this time.
My wulf  is here to guide me into the nightfall.

That final gaze is for me,
not for cowards with armbands, not for that Magda,
but for me, Eva, your candled bride.

Foetuses yet unborn
shall one day sift through the matrices of history
and marvel at the glory of our clasp.
My death, geliebter,
shall be the monument of my love.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The idiots.

[For A.]

Held up against the eye's brimming silhouettes,
the polaroids gleam,

all those
pigtailed afternoons and tip-toed midnights,
adventures in ignorance, wisecracks at reason,
folies à deux - frenzies for every season,
precarious perches on edges, drizzly sighs,
endearing monsters and orbits in radiant skies,
diligent obsessions, winked whispers at recess,
clumsy secrets and tangerine waits for a whistle,

all those flutters of that tiny heart,
all that innocence,
all those grins.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Remember kindergarten, day number four,
the day life first got out of hand
and taught you to know
the futility of all,
to forget,

and yet
up against a wall
your heart wouldn't let go
until your throat tasted like sand
and you couldn't hold on to his leg anymore?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On Gerhard Richter's "Selbstportrait"

Going, going.

I nearly remembered.
(Perhaps that is how it began,
with the ordinariness of memory.)

Time is a celtic knot, debauching itself.
To believe in it is to cower in the company of shadows,
to crumble, mumble and stumble
through the unwilling curiosity of wakefulness,
to tremble beyond the tongue-tied outskirts of reason,
to gamble with absurdity and outscream silence
as it gnaws bare-knuckled at the whiteness of distance,
chipping away at the pearly expanse
until it grows weary,
dawns, secrets and passions falling away
through the years like sawdust off a chainsaw,
to reveal, one cold rainy evening,
the faint glimmer of a face that whispers wordlessly,
"I was a blue tomorrow once."