December 2010

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Mary’s song

Who was I then in
those scarecrow years
of so much adrenalin
that life was not a
place or time or shape
or colour but a hot and
mighty sound that
flashed along the alleys
with jackpot eyes and
stung our naked flesh and
washed like sunlit jelly
through our veins and
made the cop cars dance
along the tinfoil streets
of Lower Town on any
given night of any given
season of our youth.
This was the fruit of
being born with all the
clothes we could ever wear
and all the food we could
ever eat and all the sweet
and fleeting flesh that
anyone could chase up
dimly shadowed staircases
to rooms alive with wine
and smoke and vinyl and
lightbulbs without shades,
and so much greedy noise
that we squandered it like
crumpled bits of poetry
or heartbeats without eyes
forsaken in the wind.
I can still see her there
in the evening light
sitting with long legs
and perfect cigarettes
on the ledge of all that
simmering energy
spending her dark eyes
like no tomorrow on
everything that passed
within her velvet touch.
She was the first to die
on the flashing skids
of the hatpin rains that
fell on the neon puddles
outside Mello’s or was it
the old New Moon as we
stumbled home at 3 am
over darkened bridges
from the wild howl of Hull.
I watched her fade
like a yellowed bruise
on the snow white bed,
sipping the last of life
through an eggshell straw
as silence passed
across her eyes and
the moment reared and
swept the remnants away.
There is always a moment
when eternity blinks
and the gods exhale
and we are small again.
I believe in language and
the vacuum that it leaves.
I believe in metaphor
and light that flies
back to the sun,
I trust the knife of love
and the quick it cuts
in corners of the heart.
I trust fresh oranges
and old wooden crosses
against the sky, chimes
that leap from fingertips
and the mysterious
breath of prayer.
And I believe the fire
that burned in the
grasslands of her soul
and the light she poured on
the insatiable mouth of night.

© 2010