We build mountains
from increments of time and motion:
timetables and places, placements,
placemats, play dates, the peripheries
and spaces where we keep the instruments
of living, sleeping, weaning, cleaning,
cluttered cadences and frequencies;
the sinusoidal blip of the commute, drip
drip of that annoying tap that’s never fixed,
forever fixed as a nostalgic milestone;
the friends we keep on promising to meet
and decades later still keep promising;
the turning moons and spinning constellations,
quantum clocks of choruses and choirs,
catechisms, cradles, graves, procrastinations,
precious rituals of likes and leftovers
all generously layered upon layer.
We build a mountain,
living in its shadow, even as the
other side is redolent with sunset.
Once, we hike up to the crest to see
the horizon before it eats the evening sky.
Where do the starlings fly,
When summer storms retreat to amber falls
And fields swelling in the salty breeze
Now harden into smokey stubble
Rough and familiar against your cheek?
Now that we’ve kissed our last goodbyes
Beneath a sky evaporating into grey
Beneath the final wishes of a feeble sun
When all the pretty days are gone,
Where do the starlings fly?
I watched the sun rise from the dunes
And sink beneath the yellow plains
Then home I came
And there I saw
A girl with sunkissed hair.
I looked but did not dare to touch,
You better touch while I’m still there
Thats what she said
And that was fair
The girl with sunkissed hair.
We said our vows and took our chances
Exchanging glances and whatever else we dared
And perfect gifts
Of boyish laughter
With sunshine in their hair.
Sometimes when I recall the dunes
Or sink beneath the yellow plains
I open up my eyes again
And see her there
My girl with the sunkissed hair.
shade my face
and catch the sun
in glowing skin
and my lashes
brush the roughness
of your hands
And I can feel
the Tuscan sands
your skin’s embrace
This time and place
I see so much
inside the physics
of your touch.
– o –
When the haze clears
The sea moves closer.
The distant unknowns of the horizon are now within reach,
And the islands perched on top of its razor edge
Tease the eye with only half concealed mysteries.
Her hot brown skin is covered with the finest sun bleached down.
As I look closer,
The ever more familiar pores and wrinkles
Are a shifting and expanding landscape,
That teases me with half concealed curves.
The air cools.
The days relax in their afternoons’ long shadows.
The excited din in glistening heat and waves
Is now replaced by a contented quiet.
The sea is a skin
Covering the world.
– 0 –
Punta Ala, Tuscany, 1 September 2010
The labyrinths of Fez
Speak in a tangy air of beaten copper tones
And rooftop whiffs of acrid tanneries
The candle-lit perfume of empty rhiads
And musty passageways of ancient stone.
The desert road is silent
But for the heated whispering caress
Of hot sand winds against my ear.
My nostrils flair
To draw the fumes of heated asphalt
And the temptations of a long awaited rest.
And as you speak sweet somethings in my ear
You gift to me sweet scents of desert wind
And tussock grass in sea borne mists
And sun kissed strands and tanning cream
And clinging fabric wet on salty skin.
– o –
A video diary from travel in Morocco.
With thanks to Danil “Danny Tenfingers” for the awesome soundtrack.
When we were young and lost, but found ourselves
With one another, who could foresee?
You were my friend, yet I discovered
That you were beautiful to me.
When the spray and sun caressed our faces,
And in the wind your hair blew free,
Throughout the best of times you were,
Young and beautiful, with me.
And as we look ahead and maybe frown a little
At the uncharted lands and seas,
If I remain for you and you for me – then
Young and beautiful we’ll be.
When all is done, all things are said,
We watch the sun set in the sea,
You will remain forever, my friend,
Young and beautiful to me.
London, 3 March 2007
– 0 –
This is one of my earlier pieces written literally in minutes following one of those inspired moments. In many ways it remains unbeaten in its simplicity.
Something a bit more light-hearted, from my recent lone trip to Cape Verde…
I left my baby
(from “Songs of Cabo Verde”)
I squint at the sun
On the beaches of Sal
I came for the wind
But the wind cried foul
The messenger breeze
Chided to me with a frown:
“Should not have left your baby back in London Town!”
I looked for the waves
But the waves lay low
And the faithless swell
Just rocked me so and so
And the shore-break whispered
As it gently lay me down:
“Why did you leave your baby back in London Town?”
In Santa Maria
I came to make my peace
The air was tense and close
And I couldn’t rest at ease
And the gathering rhythms
They spun me round and round:
“Your baby’s out there crying back in London Town!”
But the sun still smiled
And it looked me up and down
And hugged and carressed me
Until my skin was brown
And I gave it a parting nod:
“Perhaps I’ll see you ’round,
But I will not leave my heart again in London Town!”