maw

my pieces should have gone to post this morning
to give me any chance to win a prize
but now the rain worries at my window
and I have turned to stone and cannot rise

and the raindrops on the lattice sit
like silent choristers holding lights
knowing there is no one to sing to
and no day but only night

when we first came here
we could see fields
and a copse in the form
of an all embracing circle

now there is only the deep cleft
into which everything has collapsed

the earth swallows its own
in an all-consuming maw

and yawns

howl

dog on the bed
like a polar landmass in the spring
I would give anything
to be like you
yours is an empire of the skin
mine the meandering way within
an island off the compass of the world
go howl your howl
let it be heard

the price of light bulbs

you sit at your table writing
while I sit at mine
I’d like to have coffee with you sometime
a glass or two of wine
discuss the price of light bulbs
or the intricacies of verse

there are subjects far worse
such as love
loss
domesticity

it would all be with the greatest civility
though I cannot remain serious
for too long

I knew a girl once made me laugh so much
I could have wept

but now she’s gone
and I am undone

so here’s to you
and whatever it is you write
so feverishly
uneasily
at your table

I am unable to stand the light
for much longer
at any price

[first posted Jan 10, 2016]

from another ocean 

tales were told at table

that night
and when it came to my turn

I said
why is it always my turn

and the answer came back
you’re the only one

here
so I recounted the days of my

youth
which I missed grievously

and told
of sorrows and lost loves

and worse things
wearing my heart wide open

recalling
the story of the whale mother

singing
to her stolen calf unceasingly

even
from another ocean

For There Be Sirens

Between night and day lies a slate sea
with only cheap whiskey
to ease the passage towards dawn.

Seven times we listed to starboard
until on the eighth I went over,
dashing my head amid the flotsam
of my ruined work.

Beached in the silver of the new day
I slept the sleep of kings,
dreaming of dark eyes and of no awakening.

Tonight we set sail again,
strapping ourselves to the mast.

For there be sirens.

[I was probably as drunk as Dylan Thomas when I wrote this – there the similarity ends!]

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Teaching Shakespeare

Damn this teaching,
how weary, stale, flat it seems.

The profit lies
in undiscovered language,
stones upon a broken beach
in need of polishing;
freedom lies in certain combinations.

Now if I had my way,
I’d make for that scrap of blue
between the trees,
or open the quiet chapel
on the mound.

A slow walk in an out of season town
would do
for counting stresses.

[first posted 11/12/2014]