Temples


We were told that our bodies were temples
Holding sacred lands
But the ones who used to pray at the altars have not come in years
The last that I saw they lay in the dirt and slime
The filth of the earth and the trappings of time

So, why this longing torment to feel outside the body
Strained to be estranged
Mantras to sanity echo intoned prayers
All this weight for answers
When nothing matters in the end

Fire burns our lungs our tongues and we’d feel fine
If not for the dying pains
Only phoenixes get the chance to rise again
Through the flames

The Mural

“Ok, Cal. Up, Up, Up.”
Dad was clapping his hands around my head. He grabbed the edge of the duvet and ripped it from my body like a stuck bandaid. My body was dislocated in space and time, what year was it? Yellow spunk gunk stuck my eyelids.
“Up and at ‘em!” He picked up two large cans of paint and smashed them together in front of my face.
“No.”
“Get up!” He banged the cans again.
“What if I was naked. This is my room. I’m sleeping.”
“This is actually my room. My money, my house, kiddo. And I’ve already seen your dick. I wasn’t impressed, Cal. Got it from your mother, no doubt.”
“Gross dad. You pervert.” I trailed off, “It’s big ‘nuf.”
“I’ve touched it too! And wiped your ass.” He pressed his nose to mine, “Out of bed.”
“It’s still daytime.”
“What?”
“You. Get. Out.”
Dad grabbed my guitar and started singing an old country song that I hated.
Something, something, whisky. Something, something, my girl back home.
I pulled the pillow over my head and screamed into the underside.
Dad sat on my stomach and pushed his weight up and down.
“Oh…uh…K…uh…da..ad…ah…sto..p”
He stood and strummed a huge open E chord on the guitar, and put it back on the stand.
“Yes. Alright. I get it. Up, up, up.” I rolled out of bed, edging my way across the room slug style to pick up my prosthetic.
“I got a surprise for you.”
“Yipee.”
“Come on, you’ll love it, my lil songbird.”
“Don’t call me that, Dad.”
“You love it.”
“Really?”
“Really.”

Dad took me round the side of the house, where there was a scaffold set up, paint rollers, and more cans of paint.
Across the wall there was an outline of a mural.
On the left, a Tui puffed his chest out with spread wings and beak open singing to the sky. In it’s claws he had a huge limp eel, trapped in a vice grip. A creek, our creek, ran from the left to the right and the weeping willow stood in the distance beside it.
“Surprise.” Dad stretched his arms out, doing jazz hands. His face the picture of expectation. “Well?”
“Well?” I looked at him, expressionless.
“Well! We’re painting this thing. Today I was up all night doing the outline and getting yelled at by your mother to come inside. What’d ya think?”
“It’s great, Dad.”
“Gee. That all?”
I didn’t know how to express myself to him clearly enough. Maybe I was afraid that if I started speaking I would start crying.
He looked at me with that knowing look. Eyebrows slightly raised and a slight asymmetrical grin built on understanding.
“Let’s get to it then.”

God’s Playlist

Practicing Bach with the rain metronome
Which pushes and pulls to recall that nature has its own version of music
One continuous hymn to single blades of grass
The world captured in a sixth symphony from the eighteenth century
By a deaf prophet of timbre
Commit sacrilege by playing the violin sonatas on the guitar
With the page flipped upside down notehead over heels
There are so many black lines and black dots and not enough blank spaces
Debussy was right in saying he needed someone to tell him when to stop
Wade through the colossus composers
On a playlist which might include John Mayer
next to Maurice Ravel
next to Darius Milhaud
next to Miles Davis
next to Kimio Eto
And not seem strange for it
If Paganini were alive today he would be on the cover of playboy and rolling stone
A caption hinting at the ecstatic throes he throws young girls into and around
With the touch of his hands on wood and metal and taught intestines
Musicians are smart in that they trick other people to pay for entertainment and thus become rich themselves by doing what they love
If everyone knew that music was free to learn and perform in private how happy we would be
How much richer would we be listening to our lovers play nocturnes after sheets
To watch our fathers get drunk and perform gigues and jigs
Though there have seldom been enjoyable inebriated flautists
How lucky to have discovered something so free
Dependably free
No one can own God

Summer Haiku Longform #1

In season in bloom
Flowers in our DNA
Cast a fresh glow

Big cloud little rain
The dragonfly plans to stay
Water down the pond

Browned dye dried moss
Under foot in the clearing
Cushions for the bugs

A coating of dust
Seven trees blown outwards
Into the suns claws

Hear Waiatas sung
The tuis write duets for you
Listen to the eaves

Kauri stands by pine
Stands by idly dying
The sigh of rotting

Visions of Monet

Are people looking at me strangely
Or is it only my eyes
I like to make strangers of my friends
Recalling only faceless people with indeterminate outlines
I have visions of Monet
Vivid and emotive yet nondescript
Where I don’t remember any details
The twitch in the top corner of your lip
A hook tooth grin from the man selling ice cream cones
or cup
Out the back of a dirty van
We question the sanitation but not our sanity
Buying two soft serves each
One dipped to wear melted chocolate waistcoat
The other with questionably coloured sprinkles and crushed peanuts
You joke that they should offer a meat shavings topping
Or skin flakes from the sunburned beachers backs
We know the white slop contains ground up chicken feet
We don’t speak of that
It was only a rumour everyone on the sand talked of
When you come across cartilage you spit it out discreetly
Fearing the embarrassment of something that isn’t your fault
It rained and we jumped on the bus
In my mind we were dancing on the roof and the driver shouted like Our mothers when we did the same in our beds
I hold dear these fabrications of mine
Of us amidst some frolicking fabric fantasy
Under the sheets with my heart jumping
We did not jump though
Sitting at the fingerprint window
In front of the obnoxious back door
That kicks the seat swinging open
Where the heater rests underneath
Above us a persistent leak
Drops fell onto your head and you put out your tongue
To taste aluminium shavings and not worry about metal poisoning
The bars under the seat around the heater heat scalding
The number of times I’ve left the skin of my calf behind
Goes unnumbered yet still I persist in taking tally
I swear some skin is left behind
Sticking to the slightly rusted stainless steel piping
That feels breakable if I was one of those sushi stuffed sumos
Now we know why no one sits here
A slow torture comprising a torrent of stale gutter water
With a side of burnt leg hairs
I wonder how you remember this day
Would our stories be the same similar in detail
A facsimile or facade
Nameless friend
I have visions of Monet
Though now you and I dance a waltz to Satie
I read you O’Hara and my favourite parts of Walden over mulled wines midwinter
You dance along the living room carpet for me
Edgar gets his canvas and oils to cast you in one of his immortal performances
Colouring you with pinks though you hate to feel beautiful
Colouring you with youth though you scorn it
Colouring you with all the nuances of your dance you never see
I’ve worked to paint the stock-pile of my mind
To accurately depict once befores
They have no borders only the acid wash of ill-prepared preservation
I’ve scraped the layers to fall away like discarded scales from some luminescent sphinx
I can not discern ordepictt the scenes now
Left with a growing pile of destroyed art
Laughing about the frailty of my remembering

An Unimpeded View of The Distance

**Written for my sister’s wedding**

I wish you both an unimpeded view of the distance
That you will both become a muse for one another
Amuse one another
Do so much for one another
That you become one
Lost without the other

Every morning will you wake next to inspiration
where there is only one side of the bed
Name it your shared space
Where the night before you built tiny word mountains 
In the creases of the pillow cases
And these words start to mean the world
And shape your sleep
And you become solaced in dreams which are there when you’re together

There will be moments too large
complicated
convoluted
contrived
To be wholly a part of
So decide now to share the burden between the two of you
Then unknowingly agree to forget half of the half you were in charge of
And then argue over the minute inconsequential details you both forget

It’s really no ones fault

You’ll find a way to blame one or other of your brothers or mothers or fathers

But before that
In the morning muttering into the bottom of an empty coffee mug
Playing out the matted images masticating in your mind

You realise you were wrong

At breakfast feeling sorry about it all you wrap your arms around them
From behind while they sit at the table
You kiss the top of their head
Rest your hand atop their shoulder for a while longer than you normally would Letting them know what’s on your mind without useless words of explanation

They understand
They understand like those times when
Somebody is saying something
questionable
moronic
sardonic
et. al
On and on at a dinner party
You both shoot sideways eye glances to one another
One out the left eye 
The other out the right eye
You realise you’ve obtained a telepathy granted only by the most deep set love
The corners of both your mouths turn upwards
On the same side as your sideways eye glancing

And you get home later and laugh fits about it
And for many years after
And you wrap your arms around them from behind as they stand at the kitchen counter looking into the sink for no particular reason

They turn to hold you and you look up at them looking down
before getting told to brush your teeth
Because you ate the seafood platter that night
It’s pong is pungent flowing like effluent waste
Straight to the sea of your downturned face
But you say it in less words and more like a reeling grimace
The gag catching in your throat
More like holy shit

You yell after them
‘Don’t leave the water running when you’re brushing because you know that annoys me and the water bill has been steadily increasing’

They’ll laugh 
Walk out of the room
Flip you off 
Then pull a face that says
‘You better shut the hell up because I still love you
But maybe not in five minutes if you keep on like that’

You’ll throw your hands up despairingly
‘Woe is me I’m only thinking about the utility bill’

Maybe you both fall asleep silently that night
But I pray that you wake next to inspiration
Where the morning is new and the scents are more akin to freshly mown fields Heavy with dew and not a garlic laden seafood stew

At breakfast you go and you wrap your arms around them from behind
Rest a while with your head on theirs
Content that they are there

I wish you an unimpeded view of the distance