The Long Work  

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I am writing  a history of insects   of silence
and forked  lightning snaking across the sky
like revelation     from babel’s tower three hundred
thousand rock vowels on a bed of wet sand
we are making    a name for ourselves 
  
the day’s water ration carried in hand    giving in
to body’s knowing     pump-stations of the heart  
my lover’s shakes like autumn powder  
sulphur mercury and salt    a wind through the tops
where autumn whispers its element

and the only meaning is the first thing seen
when you wake    the bruises like gardens   
after rainfall     sprung up under her skin    
Nature   carrier of bones   shifts her weight
from one foot to heavy other

and we all fall down     down on us something
broken falls     some small fragment of stars   
splintered in those eyes      a sudden God
shakes his limbs below ground      black earthed bees  
swarming beneath the streets    touch the underside of air

the city faces its dead  who rule these ragged plains  
tagging the trees with devil tongues and litmus    
throwing rock shoes at bastard mourners
yesterday’s certainty    if it was ever   
what it was    collapsing in divisible     air

we collect photos     of things falling apart    
whiteware disasters     inadequate truths   
the half-dark comfort of spirits resurrecting    
some leave by degrees      dragging   
each piece of furniture    from heart to heart 

and what is lost?    I remember every heart stop    
the footpath verandahs     the copper-green dome
this our excavation of faith and loss    our open-cast
weeping         salt sense of life’s dark sister
here a momentary sun strike     shiver-bead rattling

a half of white     from across the Square  rumbles
roars above the cordon    shedding halos
as low bass lines    a musician carrying his broken    
life across the cobbles    no singing birds from city’s
end to end      this love a plumb line

in our crooked house  where walls meet as enemies
coming to uneasy truce   we hang pictures to cover
the place of engagement    daily life too close to focus  
an inventory  of lost property    buttons  eye-glasses
affectionate touches    of loose thread

you would share the night-watch with me
this sonic boom of stars disoriented     
unplugging the lines that tether   we listen for ghosts
who reach their hands   into the blackness    
who far below whisper to     the bones of stars

the masonry sky is silted with stone
the haziness of recall    orbit of  fading lives
one word now for rising   another for  merciful sleep
here is the shortest breath moment
the long work is always Nature’s

 


2012 | Credits | Video | Brian Flaherty