from SEZ


I Still Love The Sound

The swoosh of a rocket faster than space.
How the distance evaporates…
My message to you.


Cash machine says no.
People behind me jab –
The money arrives with a smile.
I am returning –

Cash machine says no.
These numbers are correct.
Cash machine says call number.

Cash machine empty.
Wallet empty.
Banks, countries empty.
How soon is when?



White, grey, black:
The lights are changing.
Take me there, cab driver
Because it's a different way.
Because I've been taking the same way –
Because I haven't gone this way.
Because how would I know if it was the way?
Because I can go back to the same way.
Because I don't mind becoming the diversion.



Nobody in the supermarket
And it was 24/7.
Nobody in the offices
And the messages said soon.
No one in the tanks
And it was time to fire.
No one in one store
And it was time to buy.



I love them closed,
Lit up like an aquarium,
Schools of fish flitting,
Colours spread out in rainbows,
Fishermen casting nets
O the stores, the soul.  



A tiny entry.
Flats above.
Chiropractor below.
He sleeps in a chair
Each time I go
A baggy leftover face,
Twisted putty slouching
And dressed as tweedy
As an old gentleman.
Today he mumbles hallo
Slow and fading
As that shrinking bird
In the cage in Cairo.
He's gone tomorrow.
I don’t notice.



Hello, doctor,


No, I'm not. Yes, I am.
(Bare branches lash against the window,
Whipping the glass case prisoner.)



Sometimes. Higher and lower.
(The branches coming to life,
Starting to bud and bloom.
Pink against a grey sky.)



Right there. I'm awake at night.
(High twittering of the orioles
In the vast green oak tree
And a plane silver as the sun.)



What if I don't? I can.
(Hard leaves fall onto frozen ground.)
My time's over. Someone else waiting.



My butcher

On his bike delivering
A wave to me and morning.
Both of us here. Still here.
The pharmacist can read it,
Hurried pinched letters –
A code he can decipher
In the face of worry.
A memory of every time
He translates love.


Menus, menus,
New tastes from the sorcerers.
Interiors by Anno Mirabilis.
Waiters who are as gracious
As beautiful servants for a god.


A streetcleaner,
Sky uniform, sky glasses. Sky eyes?
See him floating into the sky
And disappearing blue on blue.
He’s tethered ¬–
A teddy bear tied to the handle.


Sleeping on the sidewalk.
Sifting through the trash.
A man on four legs
Sniffing and tugging at my legs.
I have a dog at home.
Standing upright, trying to walk.

(Funny, I was feeling happy today.)

Dragon School

Out the large gothic double doors,
Down dirty red medieval steps
Onto swoosh-honk-honk-“Excuse me,”
“Excuse me”-some-of-them-smiling,
Most dodging you-in-the-way streets.

You are the tail of the Dragon teacher
And not yet growing your scales,
And the fledging dragon can't fly,
Caution clutching heavy hands,
Heads fixed as guards on parade.
A boy and a girl at the back laughing,
Looking up at the neglected sky.
Here's the street leading
To the other street.
There's a sign leading to the sign.
No sign. Here's the street.

The walk a museum of shops,
The shops today, the familiar artifacts ¬–
The remains of a city, unearthed.
I did one last year. Pompeii.

This street curves.
No reason it shouldn't be straight.
The surveyor made a mistake,
Made one on purpose.
Thank you, elegance.

As do the streets
The store has a sign
And I'm not lost
Asking the direction
And not listening
On the way to Hurry.

Are you sure, cut-through?
Maybe the next one.
Stick to the straight ones.
A bet on hurry lost to lost.
Hurry up now, short cut:
Footfalls of darkness laughing.
No one else. Stupid me.

The long way was shorter.
Destination, I didn’t mean to hurry you.

You read. In the headlines.
I never know how long.

Maybe there’s a passion.

To be on the street.
To find the quiet one there.
To sit down at the table outside.
To order a cup.
To be part of the setting.
It's been going on here
Since the setting.
When there's time.


We were there next to it,
The robot eyes recording
Every potholed block
And stop to go.
We were there, we were
In the version until the next version.

        (Are we in the next version?)

When you dared not look back
It was me following you into spring.
The people were blooming.
We were still winter. Persephone.


Mouth of the street
Swallowing our last light
Trying to escape
In a car racing the other way  
Into deeper darkness.
Taillights and flashing lights.
Red lips and red lights.



Text? Call? Where?

My appointments.
Their appointments.
Clouds of abbreviation.
I lost you in the menu.
I didn't see your message.
I didn't hear your call.
I’m lying. It’s the truth.

The number doesn't work –
Count the digits:
Number missing a number.
Catch the runaway number.
None of them open the lock.
Maybe if you were someone else.
Your neighbor with the bloodhound.


The Organizer
Ministers and Administers
Councils and Offices
The Square in the City
The City of the Organizers
The Country of the Councils
The Answers for the Questions
The Questions to the Answers
The Plaza with the Statues


Yes. No. I can't hear you!
Maybe. Never. Of course.


The voice coming faster,
Following me and the street
Turning when I'm turning.
Louder, closer, here.


My old number’s ringing
And when I answer
The same voice is following me.
Who’s that now?
Not the right beep.
The ring sounds different.
Don't you know me?
Don’t I know you?
Don’t I know me?


I'm going to save that one
In case I don't need it.
It will be stored in air
And found when erasing.
I will save the laughter.
Maybe you’ll cry.
In here I can save it.
The memory I had.


A maze


On a bus watching me walk.
On the street calling you
Waving from a window –
In Holland Park during a tulip day
I see me kissing you
While I'm tying my shoe.
A clocktower. A watchtower.
The hours are watching.
Where are the judges?


Driving with fury of the Furies.
Walking with the speed
Of those heel-toe athletes
Late looking for the race.
I didn't see you coming,
Waiting, watching when
You turn and dive
Into the shopping bags.
On the bus, on the train.
In the taxi, in my chair.
At meeting. For the greeting.
On the trip. In their chair.


Watching me go by.
Blur on the bus.
See-through reflection in window.


Someone and manikins.
They look better than us.
Passing cars and I'm gone.


On the street. In a shop.
Walking to the corridor.
Walking to them. Talking to them
Talking like me talking to me.
Looking for the address.
Finding the dress.
Thinking of you thinking
Where you are now.
On the bench. In the sun.
On the grass. On your own.
Someone smiled today.


Joy when
He kicks a ball into the sky.

Joy after
A ball enters a picture of the sky.

(My phone’s dying.)



Seven stories up
Just the structure,
Open as a viewing deck,
A high dive for the brave
A ten-story picnic,
The workers on lunch
With the short-sleeved sun,
A tanned breeze drying their temples
Before walls and windows arrive.


And the scaffolders –


Climbing the rigging,
Clanging the joints.
The high wobble.
Watch out for them falling

On you, on me.


Banging the pipes,
Banging the brackets.
Clinging to masts, 
Sailing over chimneypots.

Over me, over you.


The planes line up for the sky.
The sky open for flight.
Remember when we would disappear?
Only the clouds would know.

At the elephant factory


We're making them again.
Not like before.
No tusks. No hunters
In theme parks. Resorts
Where they used to live.
Everyone loves them.
Except for the shipping.


At the fundraiser


The fire put out, the smoke didn't rise
High enough for us to see.
The ambulance arrived with a flat –
The police were too late to care.
I haven't seen you very much at the party.
They want me to give lots of money.
How much does that question cost?
You will have to borrow the answer.
If the interest is too high,
We'll call in the militia.
The war was like a peace treaty:
Both sides agreed there were both sides.
Children were laughing at the trapezoids.
I was too old to understand the subtext.
Under the tornado is where I kept the words.
They are flying away to Mauritius.
Some broken into prehistoric rants.
Some words melting in the sun.
I'm looking back at my lost adjectives.
Can I borrow one for the era?
No, I have too many to spare
And you must name one isotope
Separating love from uranium.
And tell me the difference between
Now catastrophe or if apocalypse.
I was dancing in the beginning of Act I.
In the second I closed the curtains
And opened the trapdoor:
The audience disappears into the ending.
The ballerinas escape through the skylight.
On the roof they pirouette for the birds.
Without a choreographer they didn't fly.
I learned it was more real on film.
Have you seen the movie about the script?
No, it didn't respect history either.


Strange Bud


She's naming a tree with small leaves,
A strange bud she knows,
How it tests the climate, blooms and fades.
An old woman spinning in a wheelchair
Under a half-green hint of exotica.
The sky is grey, air cold as street cinder.
The woman touches an overhanging branch
As if remembering the Latin name.
I’m in a place where she used to shout
When racing cold shadows to the sun.


And Baby Henry scooters by. "I was dead.
"I was dead like one. And after death…”


In the airport a silver-haired gentleman
Fixing the knot of his paisley cravat slowly,
Slowly sits in a hanging, swinging chair…

Jumping from an overhanging chestnut
Into a blazing pile of crinkled leaves.
Sharp edges sticking into our sweaters.
Burrs we pull out like a romp of monkeys
Grooming each other in the African sun.

(I can’t find you.)

On train, on station
I couldn't find you
And almost sat down
With someone else
I thought was you.
She said, "Oh.
I thought you were him."

In housewares
I saw you going down.
You didn't see me.
Slowly, I turned around.

I was about to say,
About to say,
I know how it feels
Passing you by.

   (Was that you?)

Here in your network.
In my favorites.
In your messages
A second after you send.
Here in a buzz, a beep,
A splash of our  liquid screens.
Here in our history
Sent by the sky.

                    (My phone’s dead.)

Still bent over devices –
Fingers still frozen.
I’ve seen us before.
Lying like corpses
In a huge block of ice
Rescue workers hammer.
We slowly are melting.
I’ve lost all your messages.

(Do we need tickets?)

We are now ready,
Waiting for the journey,
When will it start
Where will it go?
Oh, we’re already there.
Directions following us.
In a room of folding chairs
There are windows.