bar talk #3

the guy next to me at the bar
is going to talk any minute

I didn’t come here to talk
I didn’t come here to drink

I came here to belong

when he talks – I leave

Traffic Report

Bad traffic
between here and town,
totally static,
lights all down.

Since I got sick,
at the window I sit,
watching the progress
of traffic.

Arterial movement
in late evening heat,
a twitch of the curtain,
back to my seat.

Time moves along,
the lights are back on,
between here and town
no traffic.

memento

I happened on a message
left under a stone
by an old brick wall
I used to visit long ago
as a child

it’s not easy
lifting up a capstone
entering a dolmen
finding a memento

there may be tears

vessel

the child went to the mother
for comfort
and was handed a glass vessel

glass has many qualities
the most obvious being transparency

the sea around the little bay
is translucent and calm this evening

everything in this world deceives
especially love

true love is transparent

like a poem

flight

let me know our purpose
the reason we write poems

and while I wait
I’ll watch the flight of sparrows
pretending I see eagles

no joyful music

if there are a thousand ways
to hold back time
one would be to journey
down some unknown railway line
and by the winking
of a cheap hotel sign
slip into the forests
of the night

let the night take you
where there is no need for time
or for anything at all
till comes a dripping dawn
devoid of chorus

no joyful music then
to mark the day –
not that it would be
wanted anyway

cliff diving in Acapulco

in Mexico
apparently
men dive off cliffs into the sea

women too
most probably
will dive off cliffs into the sea

the whole world over
fearlessly
folk dive off cliffs into the sea

so my heart plunged
and helplessly
the first time that you spoke with me

bark

i.

trees have bones just like us
only made of different stuff

that’s stupid – you said
it’s just wood

I ignored the jibe and carried on
it was after the storm
we were walking in the forest
inspecting the damage

branches lay like spillikins
strewn all over the place
or poised perilously
like in a giant game of jenga
a huge conifer had toppled over
and someone had worked hard
to make a dwelling
like a ruined chapel in its loins

it’s nothing like a chapel – you said
– and anyway trees don’t have loins

I know – I said
but if they did they would be deep down
where giant roots draw up sustenance
from the sleeping earth
there you find the best soil –
I was guessing but it sounded right

oh – you said – I knew that

yeah right – I said

what do you think caused this huge
dip in the ground – you asked

meteorite – I said

you laughed – that’s the stupidest thing
you’ve said all day but at least you
didn’t say crashed ufo

it could have been a crashed ufo – I said

let’s go home now – you said
– you’re right though – as we passed
a pile of branches looking like a
giant rib-cage – trees do have bones
but I’m still going to call it wood

they have skin too – I said

yeah – thick skin – it’s called bark

no – I said – that’s something dogs do
– this is what I mean

ii.

see you later – you said

I believed you and hung around for hours
it was the first time you’d called me an idiot
and I was touched
such frankness could only strengthen our relationship
I thought

how wrong could I be

but I finally worked it out today
when you say – see you later
you mean – see you sometime
maybe never

I’m sending you a photo of what I saw
while I was waiting

life is like bark

you work it out

see you later

iii.

I went out to the woods again

this time on my own
where once we walked in step of sorts
now I walk alone
I brought a piece of bark back home
to hang upon the wall
of all the lessons life has taught
the harshest one of all
is now before me

bark shall remind me

each day remind me

bark

Bark
c. Ichtor | Dreamstime.com

[posted 20 Nov. 2014]

Orbit

In wine and verse I bargain with the night,
though wine is once again the favoured option.
The thoughts of men in print now rarely charm,
and tend to bring less sleep than irritation.
As for love, she may as well have been
a dream that I once dreamed in former days.
The pleasures of the flesh and of the heart
by lumps and bumps and groans have been outweighed,
Tonight as stars grow dimmer one by one,
no bright new suns have blazed into my view,
and as for those I marvelled at in youth,
old passions these, I do not now pursue.
From two consuming spheres I seldom stray,
dull circles that I trace to end each day,
sad orbits that bring neither peace nor light,
in wine and verse I bargain with the night.

[Note: The opening and closing lines clearly echo Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night”. This is the second time this has happened. I’ll let it stand as homage to a poem that got itself into my bones. EB]

angels

in the end there is nothing
but the beauty of angels
worn down and moss covered
in the garden of remembrance
we went to as kids
to smoke and drink wine in

now clean out of time
I’m no closer
to understanding why
death has more followers
than anyone