Monthly Archives: March 2013


she asked me:
“take me to your places”
a pause chases lips – I
stop to wonder
if that means the bed of flowers I once saw
tended each night by a sole sanyassi
raised from boyhood, smooth and black-eyed
filled with pride at the task of arranging
a marital nest by a holy pool,
where a god and his consort nightly meet
to scatter petals to the wailing
of each scorched dawn, or

the hillside hospital

which was slipping down

to a seaside town, where my wrecked feet would carry
the wonder of doctors – all pins and scorn –
while I, smooth and black-eyed
would shudder, withdraw
from antiseptic green walls, and
various tools

by the time we met,
both were gone.


This light-dusted town, pocked with memories

drags these feet between old blocks. Patina shifts, and the

soils of years harden. I am swerved –

westward and that way, past new wives,

shivering children, bottle-green voices,

those who sell and those locked in

to hands scratching deep, having grappled at mornings –

the bakers have left, the workers are hid. Somewhere


the sun does its thing, defying the wash

of English temptations, of time spent downwards,

avoiding the days. A road appears – surprising

one who spent time abroad – yet it holds the usual

glittering discs, and tightly packed wraps

of chemical compounds all set for the night,

boxes for boxes, and watery tea

infused with the times of the river.


Fate cuts no hands, but my legs are compelled

to step down this path my tendons had lost. I’m struck

at a window, piled high with desires –

softly forced rocks, strung up on silver,

jaspers and jets, vivid value in earth,

selected for those who are pulled to pass on

slices of India, hacked out by a man

whose coalface was lamplit, decades ago.


My eye follows wands tipped sweetly with orbs

knocked out of amber, suspending old lives.

Passes through pages, tinted expressions

exclaiming small magics, ways to heal, odes to

even the lamest complaint –

I come to rest on the girl, caved in receipts, and

propped to the side of a pretty collection

of bangles and phone lines, old records, deceptions


reserved for those who know their base. A piece

of something catches my air, and movement

makes movement, we bend to the floor.

She knows the deals, chips me away,

shows me a stone that will change

my days. Time is eaten, and weeks petrify

in bed-shapes, hollows, ashtrays carbon-dating

various poses. We identify awhile


as one, yet something stops mouths,

even swollen and sore, I look at her stones

refusing her faith. Energy, auras, cosmic detritus

drop from rubbed lips; I harden and shift

such attrition occurs, as if this is

some type of natural process. Erosion erodes,

we are carried in rivers, washing up

somewhere, elsewhere in towns.


Now, walking, I notice the beaded masses

painted and plucked, and laden with stones.

New wives, shivering children,

bottle-green voices

gather at windows, gazing to wish

at millennia structured in glittering cuts –

a slice of India, something to pass

for those who can abide the noise.


Doors drag themselves, and we thrust through
reeling from signs that flicker and switch
with shutter-speed trips, cutting this way and back.
We take pains avoiding inky gazes –

the strange and the fattened, locked into their wrists,
caught up in the stars, the columns of tales –
families, lost wives, the barking, the sad
the girls who have murder cut into their hands.

The morning’s still flashing, in typical ways –
attempting to prove that changes can come
from this tepid wash of English skies, these
towns pulled from marshlands, the days have drained

such wonders. They built with all intentions –
riveted, nailed, knocked up by top hats,

industrious line upon line, now held

in ghost-faced postcards, praised at stations.

The coast breaks my sight, and somebody tuts

at the sun slashing through the uniform blinds.

A shot of blue, a stretch of sand is caught before

the cities sprint towards us.

For the days again

We grow inside houses, and remember each spring

how it seeped through the flooring –

bringing such thoughts, a cracking of dust –

the air will change, even now, as we lie

all bound in to our notional seasons,

fading grasses, and reasons to leave.


Clamber at the windows, catch sight of

woodsmoke, the tricks of trees, language held

in breathing bowls. Hammering, and

a child’s laughter cuts through old years.

These clocks, they do things you wouldn’t believe –

bringing such thoughts, a cracking of dust –

in places, the snows have already come

falling with the precision of needles.