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Monday, July 21, 2014

Wishes Off the Shelf

Dilapidated book son a dusty shelves

there are deep expanses of field that go further
                     than the eye can know,
where you'll find your wishes are unsaddled horses you can ride;
and where no child has to hide their roots, or shove
their innocence deep inside as they grow, and where we allow
every grove its propensity, fast or slow, to dig deep and rise high;
where the trees are strong and filtered freely through
                     the eye of sunlight,
and where every animal has its freedom of flight,
                     and there is no room
or need for the captivity of nature's wild telemetry;
for existing will no more mean endangering,
existence will do what it says on the tin,

life will just mean living;

       in my imagining this is the ideal world for everyone,
where we can all say what we think without hurting,
where life isn't facing the prospect of extinction
literally down the barrel of a gun, where instead we hold on
to the hope we shall know the day
where our communities are as educational
as our schools, and our schools as safe
as our temples, and our temples as tolerant
as the angels we say we believe in;

but now I'm lecturing, or explaining far too much,

and never explain too much, the teacher would say,
let your comparisons reference themselves;
take from nature, or your own, or mix up the two;
don't rhyme unnecessarily, or fuck it, just do
what comes naturally to you;
but don't care so much you let your passion
blow a hole through you; never crunch the rhymes
like numbers chewed through an accountant's touch

but I decided long ago to discard all that is generic,
so I write of flesh that sings to the evocative lyric,
and the hope of wings given air, or use the steel of capped boots
to traverse to the highest mountains, to pick the finest
                     gossamer silk,
or lazily eye the fields I believe exist therein;
imbued deep, lush and incipient green,
the inflorescence of wild daisies dotted in an English field,
where the sun throws out a fickle ray or two, insouciantly, unseen;

where I sit on the fence of syllables that give shape to the scene
and their elisions, spaces between their air
                     (which is just ground really)
in this upside down world where I just see things differently;
and what you may see as dust on a shelf, I see as a landscape
of life itself, graindrops of time waiting to be wiped away
by a single hand, where each is a story's strand wrapped in eulogy,

filled with journeys to the circus, or going to and fro from churches
trying so hard to deliver us from ourselves;
                     or the myriad of kitchens,
bedrooms, shitrooms, and the like; poetry at such close quarters
that stinks when you fail to scrub up right;
or the daily sweat that moulds the erstwhile parent,
raising skyscrapers or dirty tenements, building children,
or hunting their own youth amongst discarded epithets,

       never explain too much, the teacher would say,
when you try to capture the ineffable
but I always do: have you noticed how I like to scribble
as much as I do? and my comparisons are upside down doodles
that go round and round from the dirt of nature
                     to the mix of the human;
nor can I help the rhyme, they fuck with me just as much
                     as with you;
coming as they do uninvited, yet sublime, yet foolish, from time

to time rendering patterns as I try to get off this fence of mine,
as I just do what comes naturally to the body, heart and mind;
for I just see the world slightly differently, is all,
I see it as a beach ball stuck in between the sands of time
and the sea of none at all, or as a house with but a single kitchen
and too many cooks wanting to cook all at the same time;

and I am the worse cook of all, busily picking
                     the most difficult recipes,
the most idealistic wishes off their dusty shelf, trying to believe
we can evade what will touch irrespective: it's a way of surviving,
of fighting back, of supporting a back in danger of going slack,
or playing with the tassels of smoke bubbling in that black cauldron
you find yourself stirring wearing a witch's hat

for the Halloween of fears you find stalking you; conjuring personal
totems to protect what is really inside chasing you;
and I wish we could all know how safe we are
and that life's every moment gives joy when you really know
what matters to you is beneath your skin, and how you'll discover
that the privilege of breathing is worth investing in;

and that we all have the right to breathe as freely
as nature allows us to do from within; to open all doors
with defiance that close from our intolerance of others;
and to give forgiveness a chance over our violence,
to trust that humanity can overrule its darkness,
and to just fuck it, to go wherever the child inside
of our hearts takes us;

and I wish we didn't have to hide

our children, I wish for them to see libraries that never fall silent,
to hear the safe, soft tread of their own feet,
and to find the world reading and finally believing
that we are all truly beautiful without the need to cheat,
to listen to the nurturing in our genes, rather than turning

our back so easily on what really makes us human;

and I even wish we could read life as we should read poetry,
less fixated on understanding or controlling,
just reading the verses with feeling, aloud and unafraid,
showing others of what we are made; for the dark is no protection
to a heart given to light; for flowers will always open
if allowed its moment to turn to the sun's might;

       but I care too much; I find myself lecturing again;
breaking all the rules of poetry for so little gain;
except to the main purpose of feeling; to believing
that our self-serving ends no longer justify
what means the dominance of the few -- and to show you
how much I wish I could take these wishes off the shelf
for you, and how most of all, I want for you
to wish it for others in these fields, too;

but I care too much, and it just doesn't do.

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