shorthand

when my hands stop working
they turn inward like claws

everything becomes a chore
longhand an impossible scrawl

something I can’t recognize
can’t read

a busted gull pecks rust flakes in the sleet
on the old iron road into the sea

shorthand

bad hands

look – no hands

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

Ithaca 4

Birds play ocarinas on the roof
as I lay here and bargain with the truth,
on my island in the dazzling blue,
crickets doing whatever it is they do.

Ulysses once stood upon this shore
and tried to rouse his mariners once more,
there were no sailors left to raise a sail,
warriors grown thin and worn and pale.

Truth must have its way from time to time
and bludgeon you discreetly from behind,
I’ll deal the way I’ve always dealt with truth
while birds play ocarinas on the roof.

Ithaca 2

setting sail
putting out to sea
tired conceits these
overwrought by me
I live as far inland
as it is possible to be

but because a man
once stood upon a beach
at Ithaca
the sea laps up
against my door
perpetually

[Apr.10,2014]

Ithaca 1

I did not hear you,
could not hear you,
I was standing on the shore once more at Ithaca,
wondering if I’d ever sail again,
and if so when,
and then where to,
to do the things I always had a mind to do.

Nonsense too,
plain nonsense too,
like all the other dreams
I might have shared with you.

Succeed or fail I raise the sail
for one last voyage,
our dreams to meet out in the deeps
not here remain.

No victory won nor glory gained
by resting more,
nor gazing back towards the twilit shores of Ithaca.

[first posted 10 April 2014]

what we did on our holidays

oh take me
by the rolling southern downs
onwards
to a little seaside town

park me
in a guest house with no view
and listen
to me moan about the food

hear me
moaning with the homeless sea
complaining
all night long incessantly

harken
to me moaning as we leave
now you get
your turn to moan at me

headland 2

I often walk
this stony beach
uncomfortable upon the feet
but conducive to the mind
though I would rather not make rhymes
but wander to a place I know
around the headland
a mile or more
a little bay
a sheltered cove
where I arrange the stones
just so
bereft of any rhyme
or reason
hard to find
in any season
not on maps
nor in guide books
I only find
when I don’t look