Poetry


Panther in the City

There’s a panther in the city: he paces the streets
and remembers all the faces that he meets,
both the sleek and the meek. He watches the sinew
and bone that you carry home with a hungry gaze
that shows he knows the hurt beneath the beauty.

A panther prowls the streets ready to strip the lies
from your soul; with razor red claws in huge paws
he’ll tear away the tattered shelter of your story.
He doesn’t care if you’re in a hurry or just killing time
as he sniffs out the stains that pain leaves behind.

He stalks every twist and turn of street and alley:
don’t run or turn your back, for you’re sure to feel the
heat of his breath on your neck. No fighting no fleeing,
welcome the panther within, turn your pelt into an offering.

First published in The Ver Prize anthology 2009


For Magritte (on a rainy day)
(Thanks to Jaroslav Seifert for the umbrella)

This is not an umbrella.

But when is a poem
not an umbrella?
Why, when it’s raining
of course!

At other times a poem
is always an umbrella,
ready to give shelter
within its papery embrace.

And though its body may be thin
at our touch it will begin
to unfurl new worlds
of possibility.

Provided, of course,
it is not raining.

first published in Pen Pusher issue 11 Autumn 2008


Winter Trees Light

The trunks of the trees,
moss grown, glow green in the
low winter light, bright without
heat.

The rings within the trunks
replay, like grooves in a record,
the mystery of good and bad
years.

Bare boughs outline this
cold blue sky, as though
grasping for something
forgotten.

The heat of the sun.
The mythic memory of sap.

first published in Equinox issue 18 Sept 2008


Thirty-four Parking Lots in Los Angeles
(Dodgers Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave), Ed Ruscha, 1967

High above the city
on a deserted day
the aerial view displays
the weird contortions
of new yet ancient shapes
that the empty roads
and parking lots make.

The Dodgers Stadium
seen from the air
is a gaping vulva
waiting to receive a gang-
bang of baseball fans.

Surrounded by concentric
curves of parking lots
carved into the cityscape
so many lines and loops of
roadways and parking bays
spell out hieroglyphic
messages intended for
a visitor from the sky
like the puzzling lines
on an Andean plane.

It just goes to show
the ordinary can be
a mystery too
as the Californian poet
Jack Spicer said:
Death is not final
only parking lots.

first published in Trespass issue 7 2009


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