Doesn’t matter what hit you, or how long the skid:
heart-break, burn-out, dead-end. Whatever:
feet lose the road and throat doesn’t work.
            Within reach, maybe, there’s a small boat, rocking –
but the cheeks of the wind have gone flat.
Scratch out the horizon and look around;
track the plasterboard sky for signs.
There are none. Groundlessness opens.

This is where roads lead. Post-purpose, past sirens,
chasing far places. Then roil and sink;
where it’s all slither. Just being is eels.
            Big ones; booming, visceral.
Hooks in jaws, fishing lines, scars;
eyes green-gold and unblinking –
they wrap round my neck and they know me.
Guarding our totems, birthing their sounds.

Up there, the men form a line. Well-dressed
and ready to rescue me. A glossy-lipped girl
flashes credit, catch-phrases, touchscreen and PIN.
            Their lives glitter and flitter; their words
are hard rubber balls to bounce me on track.
As why who where drip from my head,
they’ll set things straight, no-o-o problem.
No problem no problem no problem ...

And, coughing up slime, I’ll be forgiven.
Be led shuffling up the staircase a step at a time.
Like my father before me. And his, and his.
             So we work for the Empire.
We plough soil into dust and build truth out of gestures;
we lean over fences discussing our gardens,
and at dusk we slide out – to what we can fondle.
Or slip into cracks. Between normal and normal;

between hold on and numb out: cracks;
then mouths – that rasp the refrain of the eels:
‘All this is sand, just sand, drifting sand … '
             Before I got born, in the pool of becoming,
we were floating. But to live is to dive; into bodies –
and hold stillness as keel. So their cries can rise,
and go wheeling; rippling through sparkle and shadow.
In water that's clear as a vow.

Posted: Sun 24 Apr, 2022