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COCTEAU

I:
My taste for moment-to-moment death yeasts
the liquor of life that waters the taste.

This tongue is ghosted by my brandy's ice-
dry vapour drifting in and out of being.

II:
Now I am a stone in a running river,
split by the sun into a thousand moons;

now the river drained to a widow's bed,
a tongue of sand clogged with a million stars.

III:
My house is all windows of seamless glass
with soldiers drifting by them, like stray clouds.

On its walls, I'm a shadow with ten eyes
whose target is any, whose aim is all.

IV:
From branch to branch of this flowering tree
I hop, a bird who has traded his wings

for a hundred songs from as many beaks:
fickle to each branch, faithful to one tree.

HOTEL

The doors never stop turning.
We come we leave we return
in and out of the hotel
of the hearrt,of the endless
hotel of the dreaming mind.
All is well: nothing ever
remains the same here; nothing
changes: thieves of time, artists
of the gratuitous lie,
men before mirrors before
men, one bleeding on the rug
in one room, always only
one man dead, one man dying
from loving too well or not
enough his own real fictions.

HOTEL GARDEN LOUNGE

Out of nothing, words of
nothing, something trying
to be a wordless song.
This fist plunging to breath's
base, to dig for diamonds
of music's open hand.
*
Out of a grave in Spain,
a tongue of liquid fire
hears its echoes in this
cave webbed with wet whispers
of inattention and
expectations of breath.
*
Music shaped by moments
that music shapes, music
of indoor rain, guitar
of dripping leaves. Promise
of wine, of yours. I wait
to climb back up to you.
*
The clear cloud of a smile
shadows this pool of words
riddled by leaden rain.
Sun veiled behind your cloud,
moon nude within my pool,
flame drowned beneath our rain.
*
Drowned yolk of light pulls back
into itself its split
ripples - while in my glass
of molten gold, a white
quivering flame quickens
at the dream of my tongue.
*
Through this oasis, rain
drizzles and pelts, yet no
wind uivers a single
lf, ripples either pool
or liquor or flame or
floating feather of word.

DESERT

Something to say, you think? but an urge
of sand at the mercy of the wind

that pelts every attempt at meaning
into storms of vanity and scoops

of the impossible realised.
And few know how to listen, how's that

for bathos. But frustration, failure
and sheer cussedness are your hardest

masochistic addictions and so
here you go again: Beyond the reach

of paper ladders sagging with worms
of worlds slipping down one another's backs,

and over oases of moonlight
attesting to the somewhere sea as source

of sand and wind, its temple-masks, hang
the ripest stars, unmoved, staring down

at these lovely dumb dunes, these deaf men
stifled by their latest wriggling word.

HOW HIGH THE OCEAN, HOW DEEP THE MOON

If a man tries not to fall, he is
falling: there is no one not.
But some men try not to try
(A feather's fear on a windless day?)

ANXIETY

is the armor of growth,
the pain of a dry seed
fallen on a sandy soil
and waiting for the wind.

Or say a flint sparks ten
times before one flame blooms.

SIBELIUS' UNFINISHED

In the shadow of death's wall, an old man's decoy, a
puddle to tempt your father's fishing rod.

The puddle behind me, I am a trout
flashing in a hookless stream at flood,

glimpsable but not traceable,
sketched and erased by the light.

IN THE WIDEST DAY,

to find onself as along
as in a tight cave
with mothing to lose but this
need to say Nothing

THIS IS NO

monument to the unsaid
but of the erased
a shadow dodging
monuments which all
live under but which within
some only manage to breathe

SPEAK PROPERLY, CHILD

*i friken of someting I doano
what it name.’ - So 'You're afraid? What of?’:
terrors labelled to keep them tidy
like slotted trophies of overcome
and become, a map of pain sliding
under the sea beyond whose far edge
one last rain-dragon circles in silence,
breathing his question: To suck of this
Mother, or to catalogue Your Pain?
Language as experience, or words learnt?

A CANDLE, A PENCIL

a scrap
of paper, a match: my brother's magic: write
words, burn them, change them

into other words: write a question about
tomorrow: WILL I FIND FRIENDS?: then watch
it shrivel to a black flake

he crushes into a smudge of carbon on his arm:
the start of an oracle of silence rising
through his skin's pores: NO:

an utterance from God, no less.
Will it ever rub out, wash off?
For the next question I would like

to strike the match but he says idiots
are allowed only questions; others
get to burn the words: WILL I DIE SOON?

I knew enough of symmetry to guess the
answer but later on, just in case, on
my own I tried myself the magic

and though I almost succeeded in burning down my
mother's house, on my arm nothing but a
word­less shadow, that made me both shake and
nod my head, appeared and still floats back
up like my first words that cleared a house

with burning questions only fools ask. But I've
learnt also to write with the candle my
brother did not (nor forgot to) light.

THE MORE

I know you, the more I know
aloneness,
emptiness: you're a well of distance
too full of yourself to even echo:
you are dry
and overflowing with indifference.

My words are the crying of ravens
seeking rain
and yours are like the call of mirrors
in a room where blindness not darkness reigns:
you are warm
and dripping with misunderstanding

as you hear only the smooth pebbles
of your past
skim over the ripples of my tongue.
To say anything, to start meaning, I
must first die
at the hands of a child being born.