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At one the wind rose and with it the noise of the city's other side:- along the train tracks in among the rubble and rubbish where foreign bulbs grow among those forgotten sleepy times to and from other places and appointments in one building or another, they are beautiful and almost identical, there pushing through the rubble and rubbish and the breathed condensation on the window, those bulbs those people looking out and those looking in at those on their way, holding hands with a child, waving at another train passing on another cold morning where clouds and breath meet.
See --------: stood in the park, arms limp by his sides, feeling the spring sun on his back, thinking of nothing and smiling; smiling, surrounded by the things he has for his memories, nothing else, every space carefully filled with careful things; in the street looking up at the windows, dreaming about climbing up to the highest ledge and knocking to see if someone is home; asleep in the hospital, filled with dreams of long walks along the river with a fishing rod, looking at all the fish jumping excitedly in the water; in the night covered in moonlight.
In the lightless pre-dawn fields the grass clings to the dew of the night. Inside we are boiling kettles, toasting bread, and boiling eggs. Some, the late night ones, sit at the table, rub their eyes, and look at the clock asking ‘is that really the time? Why are we up so early?’ Though we wake at the same time each day regardless of the sun’s movements, they ask the same questions. Others ready our bags, our daily supplies, little packages arranged and left out by the night time ones. The day is underway when the birds start to chirp.
I dreamed of an island in the sky on it were all the parts of the land and the sea that could be found anywhere by anyone who wanted to look. On the shores I crafted statues of you leaving the finest sand on the beaches to meet the sea as it rose and fell against the land. In the valleys were trees from all forests down on the earth woven together with ferns and weeds and flowers and long strands of grass where birds and animals could hide in the shadows and watch us pass as we explore freely.
The village of dogs howled into the night’s full moon, the stars and at any wisp of wind. During the day, when the they were let loose, any visitor to the village was met first by them, having been sniffed out as soon as they stepped from their cars. Stepping from their car they are swamped by dozens of slobbering smiling dogs, tails wagging. Some visitors, driving along, windows open on a summer’s day, would be found trapped in their cars, unable to get out for fear of the dogs, unable to drive away for fear of running one over.
Another Poem Placed At The Feet Of The Greats (Philip Larkin ‘The North Ship' XVIII) If grief could take off Like a rocket launched, The heart would soar loud, The unrent soul Would move as a whisper; But I have watched all night The sky remains silent, The grey moon soft: And I stir the billowed steam Around this daybreak's fantasy of tea, And grief stirs, and the deft Eye catches a tail of a shooting star And a reflection of light, and life Through the window, where everything Wakes and starts to move, but this Heart lies impotent, still.
And now this is Dub Elements with ‘Tonight’ Move this floor, these walls, that roof forward to the depths of the night as we dance through the hours of love, life, and death, and through all those songs as one another for a moment in the speakers, but you stand out of the mix waving like a long remembered lover returned stirring up all those things like flowers petals on still water, or the wind through the trees on a moonless night pushing away the warmth of the day for the heat of this dancehall night after night after night.
We wandered around the city looking for things to reminded us of home, little things like the view from a corner at sunset, or the way the cars sound when you are far enough away from the road. But the city held its secrets into the night when the lights flicked on turning this city into any other calling out into the night sky, calling out to the moon, calling out to the homeless, hiding its idiosyncrasy behind flattened building and the harsh light of street lamps. At night it hid away safely behind closed door asking us to knock.
Maybe this poem doesn't want to be written. It wants to feel something like life open and honest. It wants to be left in the expression of a face staring across a lake at the people riding on the other side or just looking at the way the sun reflects off the little ripples that disturb the surface Maybe this poem doesn’t want to be read. It wants to feel something like the wind as it blows. It wants to be left in the movement of things unobserved just heard like all those leaves left behind in autumn drying out.
Spaces Built For Dreams And Memory. No one could live in these rooms anymore than on the shelf of fantasy for a night. No one could see the view through the dust that clung to every surface and floated in the air. No children ran and played free for an afternoon from the worry of their parents with all the futures they had planned out and scratched into the dust on the floor. And No clouded dreams could float in the light that managed to sneak its way through (as it always does) Into these room we now call home.
Every day you cover everything, so fine, like those sheets of memory that flee the desperate grasping of empty hands and the desperate scribble of empty words on empty pages. On the table you gather dust, little pieces of everyone who passed through this place and flew in through the window, like that bird, once, that came in, so easily, and stuck in the top corners of the room, let out cries of 'trap! trap!' to the other birds gathered on the branches of the tree outside. They looked like leaves, those birds, on an otherwise bare and empty tree.
Peel back those strong, sure lines forgetting that the first thing a writer learns is disguise, and myth and all those other things that are taken away by steady hands when approached by a smile that's a little too sincere, and knows all the things that will be thrown the laughs, the alcohol, the words to keep the writer hidden amongst all the other lines. At the bar you ask, again, what they are drinking forgetting that you have a car parked on one of the darker streets near by where you will walk later alone or with the other.
In search of a muse Through the streets we moved, unable to do anything else, restless and hungry for the scent on our tongues of food on the wind and salt skimmed from a restless sea. Contained within cement walls, the city churned with life and music. They poured from each doorway like ghost awoken the night before during the party we never wanted to end, the party where we sung the old songs, and the fires burned till daybreak their flames licking the sky clean of stars. The party where we sung the songs that now fill empty streets.
It’s the ragged source of memory, standing at the window stirring the heat from a cup of tea, hearing the spoon like and old school bell as some children keep playing in the long grass, screaming and chasing each other from house to house from one door, peeling paint, to another and back out to the weedy long grass falling and screaming, caught by the sun like the uneven corrugated tin rooftops and all those little creaks that old houses make when there is no other sound except the soft tinkling of a spoon stirring a cup of streaming tea.
I felt happy listening to --------- talk. His voice had a way of taking over external noise, it dominated, and I went where ever it took me – through forests, to the depths of the ocean, over the tallest sand dunes, through the darkest streets, through all the memories of his life, and further into his imagination where I used to live as a child in the stories he would share nightly, out to the clouds drawing adventures in their fluffy mass, and past them to the stars and the moon, which he casually reached up and plucked from the sky.
People come to the city looking for the exotic things they don't have at home. They wander around, cameras ready, so that when the unusual happens they are ready to capture it, take it home and show the neighbours that it actually did happen, that things do happen elsewhere, in other places, that the outside world (the other cities) are strange and worth visiting. ‘You just never know’ they say, flicking to another projected image ‘what is going to happen, and it always happens so quickly that you are never sure it actually happened. So you capture it for memory.’
Among the wandering dogs, mangy, scratching around open bins for food, scurrying from pointy toe of strangers’ shoes, and humming fatality of passing cars, he just lived his life. Passing the lovers, cuddled together on benches facing the water (the river or the sea), holding each other against the wind, talking whispers of nothing much but all the secrets of the world, he just lived his life. He just lived his life walking against the crowds piling into trains, into cars, into busses and trams, into the city each morning as he headed out to explore the ever emptying streets.
------------ suggested that it was a good time to set camp ‘before the only light available was the moon’ so we stopped, unloaded the bikes, set up camp, and lit fires while the sun was still on its way down. We sat watching the flames, unsure of what to say, shifting occasionally to allow another face of ourselves be warmed by the fire. Nobody wanted to talk, but every time someone moved everyone turned hopefully expecting any explanation to start pouring from their mouths, or just a story, something to crackle into the night and the cold. Something explaining yesterday.
The Next Poem How unbelievable it seems in the middle of everything like makings that divide the road those flashing eyes in the night those cat’s eyes waiting to jump out catching lights from passing cars waiting for birds flying through the night lost, swooping people and stray dogs lost and looking for a safe roost to sleep till daylight shoos away those flashing lights those rays that promise a new day but run away into the night loud, grumbling, sounding hungry enough to eat the whole world and more, those engines that rumble past flashing lights in the night.
And then I was left, thinking of another time, just like this: the moon in the afternoon, pulling at the waves, high in the sky, confusing moths, leaving the night, on the ground, dark between the glow of street lamps, letting the cold be born again; the room in the morning, pulling on clothes, filled with sunlight, reaching around to wake you gently to show you the light, to show you the room like it was never as bright, you turned, smiled, and slept on; the desert, at sunset, is everywhere and is endless, and is nothing, we drove on.
There was a tapping on the wall. Using some vague coded system it said 'never again, never again' and nothing else. I woke each morning (the time I attributed to morning) hearing the message. It permeated my dreams, leaving them barren of any symbolism, leaving them empty of all imagination, so that even in my sleep I was trapped in the cell hearing the constant tap of ‘never again, never again’ and nothing else. During my weaker times I thought it the voice of God, or the devil, or some torture the only thing life to me by my captors.
The only building in town without windows Was the one where we met, like two people waiting for an elevator, we stood, side by side in the foyer, trying to figure out where the light came from that illuminated the place, the place where all people meet? A sort of myth of bricks and mortar, a story of tiles laid evenly, shiny, reflective, on the floor that we could walk over and mark with the rubber soles of our black shoes. A place where we read the newspapers carried under arms as a distraction except on the day we met.
The dancefloor is starting to fill for the main act. People come from everywhere, and I can see them past the lights in my eyes, past the turntables and the stage, past the night. They are dancing, someone screams over the track, their lungs sucking in he whole world, and expelling a sound that takes the entire dancefloor to that place where the bombs are falling, she can feel it, each thump each drop, each life lost on the floor, in the liquid movement of blood and time, as more keep piling in dancing and waiting for the main act.
And into the night we send our voices towards the callous glimmering stars and the spiteful moon, tearing apart the blackness, our rest from the lights that blind the day, from the lights on the road that sweep through trees, and through windows illuminating along the side of tents catching every petal, every leaf every blade of grass that sways this night when the music was supposed to be all there was, when music was supposed to wake the world to leave us free to roam the night unafraid and free to be as one and at once with nothing.
So, sunrise fell over the lip of the world, spreading out and taking what was ours, the night. Slowly the light of the fire was diminished to embers, and a faint trail of smoke rising to the sky and the clouds. ------------- rose before the rest of us, and placed the kettle at the edge of the coals to slowly heat up, and eventually wake us with the whistle of released steam, but when the steam whistled out into the meadow, we slept on, caught in our dreams and comfortable in our beds, not yet ready for the new day.
Long before the music, long before the lights, before the queues of people and the noise, we came in trucks with the equipment. It was a sunny morning we turned off the main highway and bounced along the dirt road. For years the road had been unused, except the occasional farmer and an occasional lost tourist, and it wasn't used to our heavy truck and the weight of dozens of men and tonnes of equipment. We arrived at the campsite as the sun was at its highest. We opened the trucks but decided to unpack them when the day’d cooled
Where do you go on the quietest of nights? Under which moon do you dance? Where but for the beauty of a shadow does the movement of the world let us know that for once, in the lips of a fire, we are here, calling out the names we have memorised, as the names of gods and the elements we chase away. Where do you go when the sun screams at the begining of a new day, that the world is not yet ready to be born as an image of you, lying on the horizon bare and stretched out.
What are we going to talk about? Don't know. What did we talk about yesterday? Can't remember. Something about the state of the world and the state of us in it. Did we really? Sound like something someone else needs to be talking about. What about the weather? What about it? Silence settles into the sky like we are waiting for the rain before we can speak again. What are you trying to be some sort of poet? No, just trying to make conversation. Well, stop. You are talking rubbish. Irritating rubbish. If you think so. What about the weaether?
She had a way with words that made her seem older. While reading her writing I imagined a retired woman looking back on a long, happy life full of friends and family. Little incidents from over a decade ago would be recalled and written for all to see, for all to read. But over a dacade ago she was still in school, worried about boys and marks. Maybe it was the quiet that hung around her words, like everything she typed was typed like a whisper, not to tell a secret but to convey respect for those precious few words.
I shall go out into the cold to see that the world is still there begging to be let in, begging to be held like it has lost all meaning except for that of touch in the floating autumn breeze. Taking everything with a sway of its aging hands it moves all the things that pretent to be more than little pieces of the world to be played with like those caught by a swooping magpie or in the paws of a dog or a cat, following whatever passes through their vision like those little dots we know are life.
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