Our skies are empty

More often now, the hollowed out
husk of the afternoon light is overlaid
with images of impending dystopia:
an earth that will not forget, a culling
that will not be kind, an aftermath
that will frighten its oracle. How long
does it take for a glacier to turn to
grass, for a forest to return to dust, for
life to exhaust all possibilities? Already
our skies are empty, our gods have
moved, telling stories of the ghosts
of the sixth extinction. The universe
shakes its head in amused disbelief.


For earthweal.com – be sure to visit and share your #climateemergency poetry.

This year is already singed

Not even a week old, this year already questions
my blood, my loyalty, the bastard smell of my

poems. Like a feral cat, this year is licking itself on
my porch, asking if I will steal a saucer of milk from

the neighbour whose pet parrot it has just
devoured. Whose fault is the asymmetry of clouds,

of puddles, of rage, when the rain keeps coming
down in neat vertical lines? I ask you if the last

monsoon was any different. But this year is already
wet, see how some months are drowning. The

inferno is discerning only in the depths of hell.
When hellfire reigns on earth, all skin burns the same,

all tongues taste the same, all cries are oblations
poured on the same pyre. I ask you if the last

world was any different. This year is already singed,
see how life is charred and curling at one end.


For earthweal.com – be sure to visit and share your #climateemergency poetry.

Once more around the sun

once more around the sun
this earth that marks neither
beginning nor end —

while, we, crossing an
artificial border of time,
raise fists and voices —

to save the earth from
us, to save us from
ourselves —

strange, this word, movement
its only option, returning to
where it began —

this word without time, without
place, this word without choices, this
world without choices: revolution

a fist that wraps a fist,
a voice that echoes a voice: revolution,
once more around the sun —


For the year that ended, for the year that has begun, for revolutions that have ended, for revolutions that have just begun. And for Earth Weal – Brendan’s brand new portal for “The poetry of a changing earth”. Be sure to check it out and participate. Have a wonderful new year, poets and readers. May the new year bring a lot more poetry to our lives.

Waiting for this year to end

Waiting for this year to end like waiting
for the second line of a poem — the first,
a recursive imperative that keeps looping
back to an undefinable beginning. The

days have to be rolled uphill, a Sisyphean
production in which the movement of time
is a measure of naked ineptitude. We wake
together at midnight, this is when the

gradient sharpens and darkness needs to be
pushed with two hands— sweaty, grimy hands
that have touched skin and broken promises—
with dawn the stone will slip again, past lips

and waists and lies and feet. All this in the
space of a day, in the space of an empty
second line, this year that should end like
a poem, but is always one damn word away.

The skin of resistance

The air is the texture of rebellion. The sun smells of
afterbirth. Cries for freedom knock on the horizon,

over and over like hammer-song. This resurrection
demands its price — bones and blood and an endless

river with neither face nor limb. You write without
words or ink. Metaphors flatten. The sky wants to

eviscerate language. When you write about people,
their souls disappear into the spaces between lines.

When you write about souls, death watches, already
a period at the end of an inert sentence. When you

write about death, freedom holds your wrist, asking
if you dare voice the truth. Truth is the rough skin of

resistance. When you write about resistance, truth
is already mouthing your poems from street corners.

Writing Obituaries

Will this night not be night if it wears a sun? Another sun that we
dare not look in the eye? This silver-lit emptiness is complicit,

conjuring a deceptive goodness , stealing eyes that would
have scratched the rough scab of unhealed flaws. How many

words have been wasted on the moon, how much love, how
many lovers? Even spilt like mercury from an alchemist’s flask,

she quivers in the lake, the wind a soft moan in the ear of her
bedevilment. It is December, the year is sinking quickly into its

grave. There are things to forget. Things the moon wants me
to remember. That is her prism, the window through which

she becomes beautiful, makes the darkness a burn of want.
I write obituaries in the moonlight. Even a two-inch horizon

presents a linearity I must refuse. Nothing is perfect. A
moment can stumble. A moment can be a waxing moon. A

moment between this year and the next could be longer than
forever. The way, once, a forever love was a waning moment.




As you read this

As you read this (that’s right, set a timer, how
long will it take you to get to the end?), things

are happening, things you’d rather not know
about. Some will make it to the morning paper,

some will instantly appear online – things that will
make you gasp, make you rage, make you turn

away, make you draw safe boundaries around
yourself. We are little moving parts of an

inconsistent whole, moving because staying still
is not an option – little life particles, little human

particles, little nation particles, little quanta of
giant paradoxes that shift and struggle. How long

has it been? A moment? Two? Because things have
changed. One more particle trampled underfoot

as a stampede of littleness hurtled, inevitably,
towards another non-existent doorway.