total recall

in the electric sympathy of your touch
I found my wilderness
and heaven both

but heaven is not measured out in dust
and dust was all I reached for
when I woke

you had a birthmark
we all have birthmarks
that much I can recall

here on this barstool
this barren outcrop
I recall the electric sympathy of your touch

faraway eyes 

incident in long grass
intimate lunches under bright umbrellas
whispered secrets of the heart
shimmer beneath the surface of the water

all these things and more
I would seal in jars
or put behind glass in a museum

a golden fish
I once gave as a gift
that seemed almost living

all these things and more
are in need of preserving

faraway eyes
stacked up on ice
opaque but still swimming

obtained by digging

experience flashes over us
like the morning shower

the more intense it is
the more difficult to grasp

for one whole second
let alone an hour

if I could only hold a moment
from that wellspring of joyous giving

but all I have are these
dull memories

like casts and molds
no longer living

so long ago it seems
intangible as dream

but for these cold fossil forms
obtained by digging

If There Had Been Any Blue

i.

On the other side
of the mountain,
birds fell from the sky
like stones,
people walked alone
in strange zig-zag patterns
pale and distraught,
and of course
everything was black and white
like an old movie,
except this would
have no happy ending.

Then like a bolt from the blue
– if there had been any blue –
it dawned on me,
this was for real.

This was my home town.

ii.

I found a little shop
that sold cups without saucers
run by a man
that I thought was my father,
he said that he’d known me
before the disaster,
but now we were all on our own.

He gave me a cup by way of
a keepsake,
he said I was suffering from
some kind of heartache,
the cup had a crack
and couldn’t hold anything
now we were all on our own.

iii.

When the colours came back
they came back without blue,
back to a world that was
riven right through
just for an instant,
then all turned to black
but the cup with a crack
which was blue.

Blue is the colour
that I still remember,
as catching my eye
above all the others
when I was a child
beholding the heavens
blue beyond blue
– if there had been any blue –
blue beyond blue
beyond blue.

image: Dreamstime.com
image: Dreamstime.com
[first posted 12/1/2014]

map reference

when history crumbles
so does everything

we are nothing but a list
of names
dates
map references

I remember the addresses
we have lived at

and one persimmon
on a bench between us
where we discovered
fruit
too astringent
to be enjoyed

IMG_1625

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

Bell Lane

Better not to wander up Bell Lane
all in bloom,
past the tyre and discarded shoe,
the broken door by the ruined wall
of the imaginary dream house.

Better not to wander
to the archive on the hill
but wander I will,
down corridors half-remembered,
past doors I may not enter
where boxes and cans are stored,
that tell only half a story.

Better not to wander
to a white house made of dust,
but wander I must,
still further, deeper,
to the hub of memory
where in cells as cold as death,
history crumbles to nothing.

Better not to wander
up Bell Lane,
but I’ll wander again,
wander again.

the white castle

now more than anything
I fear the white castle

for it looms
a little closer every day
and each time I move away

each time

come remind me of your name

and what is mine?

what is mine?