Midnight Calm

Treading softly
I turn the door latch
And an icy shaft blows in.
Outside, a crunch underfoot,
Peering into the silent blizzard
Effortlessly cascading
Beneath amber street-lamps –
A scene from a story of make believe form.
I pull my coat tighter,
Blinking into the snowflake tips
That prick my face,
And edge down the street –
A static coat of arms,
Frosted windows,
Tudor beams,
Parked cars entombed in snow –
Calm rings out as black clouds shift above.
I swallow my heartbeat,
Speeding up to spark the blood flow through my limbs.
If I listen hard enough I can hear the calm elsewhere –
The fluorescent entrance lights of the hospital
Behind me
Hiding the sleepy wards of old and young inside,
Lost in their dreams of tomorrow,
Silently walking with me
Feeling the life in their fingertips –
The nourishment of movement –
In the eerie quiet of this moment others
Lie ready
To ease out of life.
The brush of pillow on their cheek,
A final revelatory sensation
Diminishing
Ebb of pulse and current,
Minutes become seconds become darkness.
Inhabiting this new paradigm
I feel for my keys,
The cerated edges that will temporarily
Escape me back to the confines of
My familiar.
I click the kettle switch and
Read each word of the last holiday postcard,
Holding onto the fridge corner to steady myself.

Pulse

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Dawn in Lumphini Park, Bangkok.

Pulse

This man sleeps in five-star
rooms
high above and
looking down
on that man
squatted behind
a pyramid of limes,
waiting for a customer.

This woman feels forever
late
and ill prepared
to teach the class,
outside
that woman
sleeps under a tree
quietly breathing
whilst traffic stuck,
shuttling him and her and them
onward to a new
moment of playing at
who they are.

We are all in sales,
scouring time
to feed the
pulse and curiosity
of where each
investment might take us too next –
a better paid job
a clearer conscience
a meal.

The Sun House

The Sun House

A dark pink ginger petal
Curls round my wine glass stem,
It bends
As if to listen,
And I breathe in.

Frangipani trees watch,
As incense wisps through shuttered doorways,
Extinguishing inside on the
Scorched spines that stand in line,
Their perforations couching simpler times –

Joyce and Milton,
Sophocles and Ovid –
Mankind’s canon rests
Underneath these high ceilings,
And their enduring brocade.

A flickering breeze through palm leaf
Stirs,
At once a soothing balm and a fantasized being –
As I breathe out,
And place my glass on the table.

The Commute

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Bangkok skyline

The Commute

A young girl stands weeping,
Waiting in line to board the plane.
Behind her a family of four
Shuffle forward their assortment of
Bags and purchases.
Teenagers splayed out on the floor,
Entangled phone chargers and
Preoccupied chatter.
Tannoy announcements ripple in the distance,
White noise to all.

Outside, convoys of suitcases
Zig-zag across the concrete apron –
The sky painted grey and about to strike.
This motley queue of human cattle
Inches forward,
Marking territory, clenching fists.
Talk of putting “a man on Mars” seems over-stretched,
As the minutes tick by and I wonder why
Putting one hundred people
On an airplane appears so much of a test.

We are airborne as my eyes open
And wince through the glare of the clouds,
Broken up and disappearing.
Many thousands of feet below and Monday morning
Crankily tilts on its axis.
The ennui of emails, the promise of lunch.
As tail winds pick up, the urban fringes of Saigon blur,
Our metallic tube arcs over Cambodian borders,
Paddy-fields and water buffalo,
Agrarian pastures – a daily grind of different stock.

Through glimpses of rubber smoke we land,
Suvarnabhumi airport, again.
Ten years of touching down here,
Too familiar a pilgrimage,
On auto-pilot
My toes twitch as I wait once more.
The young girl has long stopped her tears and stands nearby,
Nodding politely at the customs official –
Breathing in new beginnings,
Or the tingle of something left behind?

Piemonte

Beneath lavender rosemary scented calm,
Vine-laden squares of golden green
Lie framed
Within this morning’s bright ceramic canvas.

Staccatos of gravel crunch underfoot,
Off beat
And lost amidst nature’s purring symphony,
Forest warbles,
Farm percussion.

Nature’s purest offering
Distilled to nourish,
Dust-coated vessels
Preserving ancestral norms.

To breathe in again
This cicada dawn chorus,
This bejeweled vista,
Is to silence the heart –
To love once more.

Cossano Belbo, Aug 2019.

By Lake Tanganyika

Under darkening clouds,
A dew-soaked earthen
Scent, cicada shrill,
Bicycle wheels drift on,
Whilst wood-smoke plumes
Hide Blue Band livery –
Oh, dawning hour of dusk.

The anticipation of tomorrow.

Sun-kissed

There may be time enough, before too long,
To stop and gaze upon this rising orb,
Ask of it clues of paths to tread,
Journeys sought that best befit
The curiosities of an un-purposed self who,
In full and in plain speaking,
Often flounders earnestly and
In God’s name.

There may be time enough, before too long,
For joy and revelry
Ignoring each self-decreed and darkly
Fenced in yoke,
Each whimsical faint-hearted shrill,
Colossal epitaph in making
Shaped, infused by others’
Brighter sheen.

There may be time enough, before too long,
With mended bow, sharpened resolve –
That didst for story-tellers’ protagonists
Inspire and glorify man –
To coat this dream in glittered hue
And pierce the ego’s wretched
Vanity, for once and
In all manner of
Innocence.