The Absorption of a Deep Conversation
The conversation you don't remember.
The conversation I don't remember.
You remember the bridge. I remember the bridge.
You remember the water. I remember the water.
It was deep. The conversation, like the water
under the bridge was deep, too deep to remember.
The sun shone on the water that was too deep.
You remember it was midday. I remember it was midday.
You remember the alp behind. I remember the alp behind.
The alp behind the town. The alp we descended.
That morning. You in a van. Me on a bike. It was steep.
Too steep to remember anything except that it was steep.
And the sun shone on the water that was too deep
for memory, like the conversation under the bridge.
You remember the reflection of the town in the water.
I remember the reflection of the town in the water.
The usual church steeple and balustrades, and people
disappearing off for lunch, leaving just the town
in the water, and you and me, deep in a conversation,
too deep to remember, like the descent, other than
it was steep. And it was an alp. And the sun shone.
I remember our reflection on the water.
You remember our reflection on the water.
You were an alp beside me and I was a deep descent.
There was nobody to see us, deep in conversation,
looking at our reflection and how incongruous we were.
The water rippled with laughter. The conversation remains
unfathomable, absorbed into the deep waters under the bridge.
Guy de Maupassant in Sicily
The street appears to be wet.
No. No. You've just been crying.
How easily we forget
the source? The pavement's drying.
I lent it my handkerchief.
The sun smiles to banish grief.
It shone on the day he died.
They all went to the beach. I'd
rather it that way. Termites
embark from Tunisian nights
and come out in thermal springs.
In order to check the weapons,
remove dentures and eye-glass.
Flash them with your free bus-pass.
The horizon grits its teeth
as the black sun sinks beneath
necessity's terrible bite.
Darkness won't let you off light.
The Living Past
Who cares about my great-grand-uncle in Limoges,
the parish priest there during penal days? I suppose
it must have been a strange life so far from the land,
hearing confessions that he didn't quite understand,
baptising and marrying his adopted flock,
and seeing them into the ground, faith like a rock.
His displacement won't figure in the archives.
All that is certain is that he had many lives
protected from distortion by the copperplate
script of the copy clerk marking the name and date.
History repeats itself till it's lost in the mists
of time, a Balzac novel that does not exist
except in the imagination of Flaubert. The
truth is, in a small way my ancestors are me.
A Corporation Election in My Childhood
'You're as welcome as the flowers of May'
cried the shawly woman to Clayton Love,
apologetically large on the platform.
It was never going to be his day.
The joy at the sight of him wasn't enough
for a fishwife to vote for merchant spawn
full of the boast all the stock in the sea
is his, and calls his yacht and wife Bubble.
You know what you're getting with Gus Healy.
We hadn't a clue what made Clayton stand.
His colours were always the Union Jack.
Some said his business must be in trouble.
Others he wanted to give something back,
and saw the future in reclaiming land.
Which came to pass when he didn't get in.
Half the town's real estate belongs to him.
I see the sorrow of my ways
in the eyes of others. Most days
I hear the cry of a lost soul
in my ears, and it leaves me cold.
An echo from the anteroom
of the unborn, I presume.
And then the silence, loud and clear,
descends on me and I feel fear.
Legless: A Very Logical Dream
A foot fell out of my sock and then I knew
I was in danger. The other one in my shoe
belonged to a stranger. Walking on your head
is bad for the brain and pedestrians. I've led
a sheltered life, but all the same I keep my hat on
when fear is abroad, even if it's one I sat on.
The foot was mine once upon a time but alien.
Not that it smelt, being too far gone. A failing
I have is expecting dead legs to walk away
as though nothing happened, to live another day.
The foot was useless. If not already dead,
it would have curled up and died. I kept my head.
Ulysses O'Neill's Farewell
I'm going on a long journey.
There's no need to wait for me.
I'll come back in my own time.
You won't recognise the
shadow of the self that's mine.
The world belongs to pilgrims
to the shrine of mundane things,
like making a living. Right
enough, it was what killed him,
buried in a building site.