poems translated

finding old friend poems
that others have shown some love to
they are translated
my language invested with otherness
meaning achieved that i never guessed at
i do not need to know specifics
just that the magic is working

it can be a slow arrival
the poems steeping
leaking flavour
colouring the water
demanding morning attention
hot and refreshing, perhaps
subtleties you hadn’t noticed before

on the common

trouser knees greened by trees
hands grimed in dirt
from finding flints and cow teeth
on the common with the blackberries
before pesticides were ubiqitous
copper blue, peacock, swallowtail
lapwing, chaffinch, blue titmouse

we are learning this place
the suffolk accent
supplanted by estuary english
or times in the potteries
the influence of border scots

i don’t like to be simplified
have no interest in being categorised
setting light to maps
a single typist not writing stereotypes
listening to the beatles in mono
watching silent films

you slipslide through it
not to climb out of it
but to see that you are of it
and not boxed in it
but elevated by it

fluid solid

i don’t want there to be a coastline
and i do not need a turbulent ocean
i am not interested in a storm front
i’m not a storm drain
you are not a gutter of run-off
and this is not a storm warning day

we caught raindrops over years
and mined diamonds for a line
to wrap around a neck
and come full circle
choked by the fruit of pressure

beauty isn’t a lazy arrival
and duty isn’t something trivial
and life is about more than just survival
this isn’t just a sunny interval
we are carving out a sunshine hollow
footsteps in the snow for you to follow
that are snowflake islands that never lose their identity

no hidden corners

no whiskey to pickle
just coffee to invigorate
poetry after rapid meditate

too much
not enough
defining self in opposition

where are you at in that?
where will you be in this?
there are question marks wherever

you sometimes know there are no answers
there are no hidden corners
bleached by the light we are shining

in the loving of you

in the loving of you
in the living of truth
where you need to say nothing
where you are a thesaurus on fire
where you are a nightingale in a mirror
where you are a phoenix in a christening font
where you are a book atop ahead about balance
where you are a translation of something unsaid
where you are a river dreaming of a windshield
where you are a sparrow in a game
where you are a cat with dream paws twitching
where you are lightbulb lit in the switching

heartbeat drumskin rhythm
dipping feet into the mirror

strung on a line

i am held
listening to you
preserved in the stilled action of a pause
where i have built something
from the consideration of the space
within which we move

notes sunk as milestones
dropped as pebbles
forming ripples
all these intermixing circles
we can map it with an observation

there are novelties to build
there are similarities to count
waves that collapse into forward movement
waves that can be dreamt in reverse
uncracked eggs that speak poetry of symmetry
rhymes at either end of a road
we bookend a perfect moment
parentheses for a perfect calculation
the man who was and the man who is
strung on a line with pearls of wisdom
some flung to swine, some to build a kingdom

the stones in our mouths

complication spiderwebs the vision
we are breaking into the inertia
to discover the stillness
promised by our will to inactivity
we urge them to let us stop
we are clocks; want to be right twice a day

but we miss those moments
we have no way to mark them
we have satellites, no way to task them
sources of information; no way to ask them

we say we are at the edge
we are buried in a centre we are pushing at
unable to see the indistinct
out there were it blurs
because in here, where it stirs,
we are farming a blindness
because it seems easier

but when we talked
when we moved towards an understanding
when we mended broken circles
when we opened our mouths
and we took out the stones
we could build a bridge
and take down the walls inside ourselves

i had to burn

the silence has descended on tongues that talked once
tongues that knew how to spin gold from chaff
before the heart counterfeited itself
and moved into a held breath of fear
a skipped beat, rotten meat, rotten teeth

do not look to watch the watch
no one clocks the clock
we come to rock the rock
upend the immovable object
by dreaming the unstoppable force

you think the shout is a whisper
tongues knotting around explanations
queered pitches, turned to excuse
turned to verbal abuse; an ability to confuse

once we were the prophets
disguising the future in the poetry
and they built movements from the words
saw themselves in faces in the water
and learned to swim through the static
whitenoise scratching at the mirrors surface
this lake, these depths
the way we speak built around breaths
i had to breathe
before i could speak
i had to learn before i could teach
i had to burn before i could reach

and this is this

this way of writing that we learn
this way of fighting that we earn
moving into a fall
from a stumble
that becomes a trajectory
and finds a purpose
this is the gravity of jazz

we have an ear for the speech
and a kind of reach
that dreams of ebonies, ivories
has meat between its teeth
and a grasp that defies belief

from the weave
the interleave of know and believe
comes something that can transmogrify
set alight the visionary eye
make a camera from the observer
make art from the observation
but only if you lean into the wind
only if you acknowledge the precipice
only if you say i am here and this is this

love is

love isn’t a candle
carrot or stick
healer or vandal
love can ignore, or love can implore us
love is the best thesaurus
and i mean you
and you mean me
and with you i found out how great it can be
i never found how late it can be
because it always arrives at the right time
day time or night time
when it comes to a fight time
when it comes to peace
you never withdraw and you never cease
because you own this; it isn’t a life on lease