starfish

take me to the village store
they may have found a cure by now
for love
and other things

and if they don’t have what I need
I’ll wander down some lonely street
and when I feel quite out of reach
sit upon the shore
and look for starfish

somewhere on the ocean bed
a sea star makes its own repair
silently regenerates
the starfish

Night Light

Awoken by cramp
in the middle of the night
I got to thinking:
if I move it hurts,
if I don’t move it hurts,
whatever I do it hurts.

And in this comedy of helplessness
and the glow of the landing light,
I felt a voice within me say:
pain you can survive
pain means you are alive
.

And then came sleep,
and then came sleep,
and then the clatter
of my children’s feet.

Sea Dreams

In every storm and raging sea
you will find a part of me
that screams at my infirmity.

But with the calm that follows after
comes a voice that quietly whispers,
a cure is coming, a cure is coming:

sea dreams,
to which I listen.

Diagnosis

It used to stand for Department of Police,
Public Domain not private grief.

Now PD means incurable disease,
to my mind no less a crime than murder.

Not a death sentence, the neuro said,
fingering his black cap with due solemnity.
I could have cried when later on,
I saw him laughing in the café with a friend,
though his grin fell through his chin
on spotting me, so that,
if anything, I felt bad for him.

Yes, his face dropped like a murderer
through the trap, as I stood there
without guide book, without map,
unmanned, undone, uncomforted,

detached,

gazing on a city-scape of ruins.

[first posted 3 Dec 2013]

basket case

no one saw me open my arms to the wind
nor did they see me
in the shoulders of the apple tree
nor hear what I said
and with what feeling I said it

and when I crouched upon the garage roof
again nobody noticed a thing

but when my arm shakes they notice
and when I drag my leg
and when I struggle with bags at checkout
the entire queue and the
whole damn universe too notice

and there are worse things they notice as well
believe me I can tell

so I shall stay in the arms of the
apple tree all day
until I have a basketful of poems
and nothing left to say
and then I shall find fifty thousand ways
to say nothing again and again and again

and after that what then

shall I introduce you to
my ragamuffin friend Parkinson
close associate of the devil
and with me till the end

[first posted 20 July 2013]