Saturday, September 23, 2023

From panic to this birth breath




We begin in discord

in the poem of the goat-footed god



of panic

and pandemic 


But then I promise to breathe again

only when I remove my self as the obstacle that became me





Don’t walk!



Don’t fuck!



Don’t panic!


Our rule is you’ll never know

when you’re following rules and when you’re not.


You’re a child of diversity

enslaved to uncertainty.


You were given gods as you were given empires

that make and break the rules.


You were left playing in the garden

when that horror began.



Don’t look!


You look like a random child who wouldn’t exist without war

without end

without the breath of labour

and the final breath


I am the fright

and the trip you didn’t see

as you were walking backwards


not walking

not fucking


The rule is panic

and nomadic


And someone called and I heard no echo

but heard all about the panic spread by

miasmas, clouds and black holes


and I loved you more than any virus

more than the ways and byways

that led you to me


before all signs were pointed in wrong directions

before the twisting of reinforcing


before grounds were made immaterial

reimagined while no one was looking


I said that if you can you must

and yet you cannot


you deliver nothing

but doom

and blackmail with a smile.


The world is the image in the mind of its being

The pantheist in you is not grasping that pandemic


and panic

that peoples all your minds.



Flower shop


That involuted orchid

opens out to be

its own question

and proffers its own beginning


Buy back the terror

of the touching fingertips

of young tulips

that regard only themselves


Never ask the roses

what they really want

Never choose them

nor be pricked into actions


the end of which

is not in sight




One rose, then, for my endless love


I saw you in a forest

just as a welcome shower of rain began


I couldn’t tell how it was

that you moved like that


between the growing trees

with such animal limbs


Could someone tutor me?

The graces of your soul


translate to gestures

and the gentle way your hand


may have touched

How little do I understand?


The forest gives way to a garden

that you overlook


fresh in gumboots

Your mind is fully at play


the earth gives softly beneath your feet

Could the thought be more vivid?


But just in case you didn’t see

the slip of paper


nailed to your tree

What on earth could it say?


The crude and beautiful word or

not a word nor even art


but just a childish doodle

a drawing of the heart



Let’s wander


The park has no gate

and so it asks us for nothing


The lawn spreads away behind us

but there’s no sign to tell where we were


Life like this is an unmarked surface

on which we cannot help but stand


on a trail of pretexts

And when we part


one of us will be the lesser

found lurking here wondering


For all we speak no one will hear

the words we came to say


We will’ve forgotten the softness of skin

the brownness of our eyes


and the temper of the day

Branded darkly


there’s the question-mark on the surface

and in our tone of voice


Did I hear thee well then

murmuring this conversation’s closed?


The park admits all comers

but the lawn admits no answers



A lesson, then, on College Hill


Learn about what a body can do

what cannot be put to paper or to flame

and when to empty the mind like a bin


When full daylight barely lights the Way

there are too many objects


When all possibilities

will have been



realised and

half forgotten



and only then

may the universe sigh

and once again contract






Don’t love!



Don’t breathe!



Don’t think!


There’s a growth on your thoughts

as it spins from your gut


gets twisted and knotted thoughts out



We are tied for love

and bodies know what occurs next

as they cannot help but breathe

that birth breath

as if each breath

even their last

were a rebirth.


It’s motion that muddies the water

But stillness clarifies the soul


What you think your soul is

becomes your next cry


as the mind’s in struggle

and every breath’s an effort


or a push against the weight of others

lasting till failure


To decide who will write whose epitaph

and fret about it no more


means to go where the breath is

the only thing left to attend to


without division

It’s a tender and pliant baby thought


a sensation of rain on a sweaty body

and an unknown lady who smiled


or the heart reaching through the earth

for someone in distress


a force of silence

an end of waiting


for nothing but

this birth breath



For Frankie Chu

September 2023



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