Waiting Gold

 

How can three cheers, the rush, and the cascade

Of memories reside so patiently

In glass so dark, weighs in the hands like stone?

Who trapped the new year, captured the parade,

The happy day, in glass so perfectly,

The genie somnolent in shade, alone?

The lamp that holds the light, can scarce contain

An ecstasy in waiting, somehow still

And silent in her case, sleeps on a shelf;

Bubbles motionless while hours remain,

The promise patient, dreaming now, until

We relish in the taste of gold, herself:

Pop! Flurried fast and colour-flourishing,

Overflowing froth in glasses shared:

Chink together glasses, for at last,

We share the wealth of kindness nourishing!

These treasured promises of hope declared,

The golden view of futures, and our past.

This was a poem written for another dear follower of mine, who only asked that the subject of the work should be champagne. Initially, my focus was on the anticipation, the patient silence of a waiting bottle. Later he requested an additional two stanzas on the actual enjoyment of the wine. Cheers.

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Impressions

 

 

A bridge, above all else, insinuates

separateness.

 

A clock tells us, most urgently, when time

is not passing.

 

The wedding in a ritual in honour

of death, alone.

 

Every clenched fist, in every strike,

was a failed kiss, once.

 

Every man on earth will tell you gold

is quite worthless.

 

 

A few pleasing paradoxes, written in an uncharacteristically brief and non-rhyming structure. 

 

 

Old Flame

 

 

“She isn’t quite what I’d expected.” She lifted

a sleeve, a cigarette: and staring out,

low window-light cascaded in the smoke.

“Old flame,” he said. “Nothing to worry about.”

 

Languorous, she raised the glass, her arm

amphora handle; sipped the shiver, in,

and smoking-smiled: “I know, my dear. I jest.”

All the while, her lip was quivering.

 

He kissed her porcelain, her china brow,

walking out. She drew a final breath,

held it in a moment like regret;

and let old smoke suffuse like sleeping death.

 

 

 

This was partially inspired by an art deco portrait I recently saw, of a solemn lady holding a cigarette. The smoke which partially occluded her seemed, oddly, not to be her own, despite being the only sitter: and I was inspired by the notion that an “Old Flame” can suffocate a room, even in their absence. I cannot recall the artist, regrettably. 

 

 

Aloft

 

 

 

I’d packed a box, that once housed a microwave,

with the attic-stuff of love. Bubble-wrapped

the bric-a-brac, the tacky ornaments,

the fairy lights we hung above our bed:

dragged down the collapsible ladder

up to the loft; gingerly trod my way

up, and clumsily dragged the thing

somewhere near the plastic Christmas tree.

I’d hauled it up, for that’s where it belonged.

There were the kids’ schoolbooks, and a vase

from my aunt’s I hadn’t the balls to chuck, entirely.

Kept in a place in the house that doesn’t even

gather dust.

 

Recently, I went up for – what was it,

a birth certificate? Some paperwork

of a former me – rummaged through the fluff,

found a box of shoes, black as beetles, worn

their husks out from my schoolyard days.

Looking through, I was met by postcards

wishing me well from a thousand years away,

all the sleeping sentimental stuff;

books of yours I hadn’t the charity

to give away; a tip of lost-and-found.

 

I’d thought I’d left it all, up there. And yet,

outside at last with cigarette in hand,

here I am: a child under fairy blue lights,

stars hung up in trails, just like we used to;

moon, smiling. Kept up there, for you.

Air

 

 

I have a handful of you, a grasp of space,

fistful of movement and sound

 

a loving absence, watching without face,

patient and here, in the hold

 

I tend, and care for you, and we will wait,

wait through their worries of cold

 

accusing air of lacking weight or shade,

lost in the distance of clouds

 

 

Another poem dedicated to one of my followers: someone I have never met, and yet, whom I could call a friend. Distant but present, absent yet present. A handful of sky. 

 

 

Burning Underground

 

 

When the boys got going, nothing stopped

Guitar razor wire, lacerating sound

While searing beats and bass lines dropped,

Burning underground.

 

The boys kissed the boys. Overhead, the lights

Shattered colours, left fragments in their wake:

Swelters ‘til necessity invites

A cooling fag break.

 

Up to sunrise, this whole land was ours,

Marked by damage, swung around the signs

With knife-like wakefulness in hours

When we drew battle lines:

 

A rude republic, dancing the sublime,

Singing the wild. It shakes me like a sound,

The memory of us, in our time,

The burning underground.

 

 

Written for a patron of mine who wanted something retro, 80’s themed, reminiscent of heady days.