Download below my latest collection of published poems - 23.5 Degrees.
It’s as if Divinity, working through
the tectonic terror or Alpine uplift
heard jazz while moving mountains
opposite Montreux. What else explains
the g-clef curves of the Chablais Alps
and the seven, arguably eight notes
of the trumpeting Dents-du-Midi.
In the hazing summer afternoons
the mountains are their most musical,
joyful percussion to the sky’s bass,
they lengthen in the long evenings
as we sip wine and nod along, while along
the promenade saunter couples, teens
touching, middle-aged companioned love,
the elderly toasting the day;
all come to appreciate the music.
Published January 2020 in Panoplyzine
Above Ladir, a loving pair rise up
from yellow meadows, tottering cows,
bells ringing. They gladden the thermals,
wings outstretched in effortless prayer
to invisible forces, the unseen spheres
that turn under and around. Upwards
in circles of affection they wind, orbiting
around and around each other, tipsy wing
tips just about touching. They dip
into each other’s elliptical space, swerve
aside and fall back into smiling circles.
Only jealous crows
interrupt the heavenly dance, forcing
emergency manoeuvres, ugly ducking,
diving to avoid disruptive black holes,
but easily out-swooped and away
to dance in a higher atmosphere, above
the deepening V’s of the Glogn valley
forested forearms, the rising mountains
still singing with the white aria of winter,
conducted by an ancient music so old.
The kites dance in and out of their solar
system while above swifts silently
watch in their effortless ballet play of air
and geometry, graciously sharing the floor.
The knowing moon softly bares witness.
Feathered electrons nipping through the air
on a sugary buzz, they click and whistle,
twittering like computer servers,
firing through airy lines of possibility.
They circle each other in tiny tornados,
impersonating bees who can only dream
of being as agile, swooping into the sweet
tasting feeders, chasing each other at Mach speeds.
Sat on a telephone line, they are tiny black bulges
on the cable – momentarily frozen conversations.
In micro-seconds they are darting dots again, pulsing
in random order, unpredictable, stopping
on tightly reigned g-forces, wings furiously
folding back layers of disbelieving air,
defying gravity in their quantum flapping,
then reeling backwards into the trees,
back into their own tiny bodies. Potentially
everywhere at once – only seeing them
makes them decide where they want to be,
which laws of nature to obey. Or not.
Published in The Brasilia Review #25, November 2019
At the Sea Lion Caves we watch
a rookery of basking, bickering
sea lions, some rolling in muscular
waves. Further off a grey shadow
near the cliff. Probably rocks.
So many darkening hues here,
countless white waves razoring
the water. Suddenly the grey rises,
slashes open the wave, gushes
white relief and arches a crinkled
spine several times before bobbing
back down, hardly moving, waiting
for a smaller shadow to approach,
shed the same grey mantle, tear
silken blue for breath then sew
together in a gulping sink. We watch
in wonder, experts now at telling
whales and white waves apart.
We walk backwards to the Gift Shop,
Ahab reluctant to give back to the sea.
We share with couples, families, children
with excited pointing. Look! There!
Published in Inlandia Volume X, Fall 2019
Even light takes time to travel.
Millions of years to milliseconds;
so everything we see is in the past,
every moment of experience,
so pressing and present, is past,
every person a shade of ghost.
We are just flickers of molecules
hanging on a moment of light,
a miracle of suspended seconds
believing its bulb to be bigger,
always a few milliseconds ahead
of the universe until the final day
the light catches up
and goes out.
Published in Into the Void, Issue 14, October 2019
Two ducks bullet overhead,
fire over the lake
where a hawk circles, darker
than the albatross winged gliders.
I sit and watch,
peaks and troughs of grief
deepening in the quietness of water,
the twitter of birds.
A blue tit bolts down
and then back up into hiding.
Each indifferent beauty
reminds me that he is not here.
I sit and watch
riding the constant waves,
carrying no matter, just energy,
just endless particles of pain.
Published in The Blue Nib, September 2019 #39
Below is a freely downloadable PDF collection of all my published (and some new poems) connected to the theme of 'wings/flight'. Suitable for all readers - please do share freely with friends and family!
A Swan on a Pond in the Evening
A swan on a pond in the evening,
wriggling into itself, ringing
around and around, neck like a noose
around the bright white day, head
burrowing backwards into black
folds of its back. Can’t stand the dark;
such a big bird scared: so much
cold water, night-noises, nothing.
Swallows Leave Ticino
From north-facing windows we watch
waves of swallows pumping past,
slithers of wings on bobbing currents
following summer south as it flows
Down Alpine valleys into Italy,
back home, African elastic snapping
back as cumulus clouds pile up
over the Ticino alps. Some bolt past
in small gangs, rolling over each other’s
airstreams. Others are lone stragglers,
struggling to catch an exhausted sun.
We watch and wonder how we arrived
at this new view, home yet found.
Published in Sheila Na Gig, September 2019
How the Cookie Crumbles
The Corner of SW 4th Av & SW Washington,
the Java Man cafe, base for city Patrol Officers
taking a break, late lunch, coffee catch ups.
Two Patrol Officers: one is younger, newly
qualified, sharp lines, fresh haircut, first
days on the job, learning about law courts.
More important lesson to discuss: love.
Younger recruit recently burned, dumped
his nearly married-her-relationship after
finding her toying with other new recruits.
He wants to state his case, question motives,
show pity for the other wronged men.
He rationalises his new wisdom: never
cheat. One secret slip-up was enough. Weighs
heavy on his conscience - how could he have
married her? She left, so no need for confession.
Interrupted by a homeless man with lump
on his head, false leg, begs to have his 5L bottle
filled. No. Owner does not want to encourage.
Water fountain in a nearby park. Good day.
Older P.O. knows about love, how people connect,
how rebounds fail, being ‘footloose and fancy free’
Can be a fantasy. He drifted from his son’s mother.
Marriages in The Force Rarely Last. Official.
They compare notes of female cadets won
and lost. Calls come in: fight in public lavatories,
crazy dude pushing people on the street,
needs picking up. Naked homeless man. East
Burnside. Older P.O. talks about the city sucks
up the river of homeless, the incessant heat,
insufficient A.C. at home. Joking about nudity.
Gotta see this. Bang back coffee, thank
the owner, roll out unhurried. Return
a few minutes later, laughing. Crazy pusher
caught. Naked dude put his clothes on
and walked off down the street. Back to
lunch. Just how the old cookie crumbles.
On English roads blood-caked
sacks of fur and agonised features
are foxes, badgers, rabbits,
sometimes too smeared to
recognize as childhood friends.
Here on the Oregon coast,
a few miles from Pacific City,
there is a large black bundle
cutting the middle of the road.
A sprawled body of a baby bear
stretched out as if asleep,
a cuddly toy dropped out of a
car window. We wonder
where its mother is, how long
she stays at the roadside,
sniffing death and growling.
Only or Without
At Konigssee we crave crepes.
A man sells them from a shop
with a name that’s just a list
of the food he quickly sells.
I ask for crepes with only bananas
but ask for without. We laugh
about the German we are both
trying to learn: only is nur.
He’s from Bosnia-Herzegovina,
no time to notice the beauty
of the lake, he tells my wife.
I am working, all the time, working.
Folding crepes, frying sausages,
waffles, coffee-to-go – anything
the tourists, mostly Chinese,
want before hurrying to the boats,
drink famously cold lake water,
chew snow dusted cliffs, gulp at
Mount Waztmann, finish and
leave him to prepare fresh batter.
In the Kaiser and Kuche cafe in Seefeld
an old man slides in from the snow and sits
quietly by the door, orders café und kuchen
as perhaps he does every afternoon,
tradition. Clothed in shades of grey,
his bald head an Alpine mountain rising
out of snow-lined trees. Polished black shoes
- an effort should always be made.
My wife says I eat like he does: tongue
rummaging my mouth, licking my lips,
nodding my head to the timely tastes.
She likes him. That will be you in years to come.
But where are you? I don’t want to be
alone, paying the bill while still drinking,
wiping my face with a handkerchief,
crumbs stuck in the same corners
no one left to tell me, so I hurry away.
Late February Evening in the Bavarian Alps
Snow fills the orange cone of light,
white waterfall of falling flakes.
The same light reaches out
to an arm of hedge-high snow
and then is lost in the evening
of darkness deepened by mountain
clouds. The still houses punctuated
with rectangles of yellow, sudden
life, someone preparing a meal.
Above a piano is playing, notes
rolling out to remind the winter
that it has only days left to impress,
to remind me that what is beautiful
is found in stillness, snow, darkness.
Hawks in Sudkreuz Station, Berlin
They flock in the lower concourse,
perched on benches, an eye
on the escalators, another watching
the supermarket exit, swooping
in for tidbits, scraps of generosity
hassled out of the hands
of commuters, tourists, poor migrant
birds - the hawks do not discriminate,
tattered feathers, bald spots, talons
encrusted with blood and vomit,
flurry of filth when wings are flapped,
a poor crop praying on, praying.
Beach Colours of the Tuscany Coast
On the beach of Forte Dei Marmi,
exclusive Marble Fort, background
of grey Apuane Alps veined white
glaciers of marble, the Carrara quarries
Michelangelo loved so much he laid
roads to his waiting ships, blue hazing
back into white. The beaches filled
with olive skinned Italians, richly
chipped but burnt Russians in yellow
sun hats, rows of white towel-covered
blue sunbeds, deckchairs, mostly empty.
Wandering through it all, immigrant
salesman buzzing about junk: glossy
glasses, bright balls, shimmering dresses,
neon iphone cases, bath towels of rainbow
hues, leaning towers of sun hats on dark
north African heads, some Nigerian,
darker than secret migration stories;
all waved away like wasps. Marginally
luckier Asian women in white overalls
offering massages to dozing Davids.
Published in #23 of Ginosko Literary Journal, August 2019.
I have had over 70 poems published in the following worldwide magazines and literary journals: A Handful of Stones, All the Sins (UK), The Amethyst Review, (USA) The Blue Nib (Ireland), Bolts of Silk, The Brasilia Review (Brazil), Bushfire Literature & Arts Review, Cadenza, Cake Magazine, Carillon, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), DASH (USA), Dawntreader, Dreamcatcher, Earth Love, The Ear, Eastlit (East Asia), Erbacce, Envoi, Finger Dance Festival, Ginosko, Gloom Cupboard, Hidden Channel, Inlandia Journal, IS&T (Ink, Sweat & Tears), Into the Void (Canada), The Journal, The Lakeview Journal (India), The New Writer, The Passage Between, Orbis, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Sonic Boom, Third Wednesday (USA), Of Nepalese Clay (Nepal), New Contrast (South Africa), Opportunity Publishing, Origami Poems Project (USA), Panoplyzine (USA), PaperSwann Press, The Passage Between, The Peacock Journal (USA), Pens on Fire, Poetry Salzburg (Austria), Pulsar Poetry, Rear View Poetry, Queen Mob's Teahouse, Qutub Minar Review (India), Red Ink, Shiela-Na-Gig (USA), South Bank Poetry Magazine, Waterford Teachers Centre, (Ireland) We Are a Website New Literary Journal (Singapore), Windfall (USA), Writing Magazine and Words for the Wild.