2-ply Beliefs

An overpass of wishes
through the new year rushes,
Remembered streams,
The intimate memes,
Familiar shades of
The promises made.

Our innocent mirages
Are conjurings unresistable,
Evergreen and circular
Decades of a wallpaper
I've stared at and through
Resilient still to all the reals.

But hope is an ardour,
An urge and a mystic.
These 2-ply beliefs battle lazily,
A why and a why not,
None more possible than air
The feeling found when most lost.


He's hanging on,
to walls and frames and days,
grasping at the certainty of wood,
his longest trust and truth,
Grain and knot and pith.

Grappling his way
on through the night walks,
in the heaviness of mist and howl
to claw back the clarity,
dawn and dirt and job.

The inside hammers on,
a stubbornness knot
To confound any blade.
Go wet the tea,
I'm not done here yet.

The Freeway Beliefs.

On that dawn freeway
we're half to the sea,
all glass and breathless,
a raging girth of getting places
in so many one directions,
you took my intentions for your own
flimsy as their reality. 

At this distance
we've all had the compress
and we've all had the transport
Into shapes and understandings
that look right for the journey.
But our elastic beliefs
they do love to unravel
they do love the reform
from the sharp pragmatics
to a diaphanous
of beautiful uncertainties.

No longer a leash
For the dog in us,
the moon excuses
the midlife boors,
this certainty flows
as a river undamned
half to the sea,
but half to the horizon.


This thatch of letters,
an end, a start,
of moments aglow
of intricacies lost,
Both a restraint and comfort.

This careful weave
of intersection and underlap
pimped subtleties of intention
a sham diabolic,
a life determining.

And so we hotel,
Behind disconnected doors
Our square feet of belief
a map of slices and shadows
concentrics of doubt to trip and sunder.

Thatching these minor dioramas, 
Our isometric scrambles,
all untangle to the obvious,
a rearview of mistake and motive
Invisible until tomorrow.

This recurrence,
a freeway optimism beckoning,
girthed for certainty and destination,
Runs its race before twilight's smear
Its weight and its roar, an end, a start.


Half-skitter, half dance
you were anti-pop on that red July night,
high flying over us groundlings,
a northern life mined into music
a roadwork of youth halfspent
elevating a plaid of careless heartbreak
into a national anthem.

Swaying en masse to your oddity
I wondered what door had you found
to be here and yet all gone.
You threw shards of dare,
perspectives alien to our normcore
provocations unseen in that dark
jabs that should have been jolts.

And after that puncture and revolt
stagehands swept flower and weed,
the unnecessary devotions you ignored,
taking just our wanting and our thirst,
amping strange into aspiration
to frame, to elevate, to recolour
and release us, new patriots.

And those summer mornings
when I breathed your lyrics, 
wish-filled with light and asphalt heat
it all seemed possible,
as I started up
as I found the space to find myself,
in that in-between of 1999.

The sunset morse.

A new porthole swings in,
a shush click certainty
that's satisfyingly mechanical,
crystallizing guesses into vowels.

This crisp optical is a hard truth,
unfiltering the comforting imprecision
unhiding the mundanity of edges
startling maybes into actuals.

Driving that night,
I was half passenger, half sack,
squintmaking a fireriot of smear and streak
to kindle some wonder from that dark.

You talked of avoidance,
like it's a bad word.
But I'm not against,
Just quiet and beside.

And within those days of maybe
I wondered if our street were revisioned,
unbuilt back to the grass and silence,
when cardinals would sing atop three hundred, not one.

Would our edges blur
into the softness of understanding
that there's no fear in doubt
only days and their possibilities?

I saw cars break the sunset,
intersections of day and small darks
codes of light and small nights
a hope-blinding morse if we cared to decipher.

And then down by that moat of sedges
their golden halos bristling,
a breeze came to uncrown
and wilt the winter fleece.

A rising of seed caught the last sun,
Fifteen prayer pearls to claim eternity.
Their urge but a sidewalk toyland for our bystanding,
for our new eyes, to re-see the minor gods.

The division.

In that sub terra
the handglows and otherness consorted.
They were all here but elsewhere
half life hollows
spliced uptown and down
all multi and seconded. 

In this perfect loudness for thought
freedom spiralled eyes and wishes
a numbness to drift us out of hard chairs
and down uneven halls
through smoke and shade
to the hypotheticals of yesterday.

Hungering for the drink
to amplify the division
of descending
to the truth of ourselves
the unwrapped and surrendered
down to the sub terra of the other verses.


There are waves under the waves,
ripples to caress calf and thigh,
Transactions and influencers.
From the copter you're more shadow than shark,
the reassurance drifting,
a sand into sunburnt eyes.

Our half step, the sink,
was always the reminder
of infinity below, 
a floorless treadmill of ambition.
Each step became a blunt resignation of getting through
headhung and blindered
to the end of dune or peak,
as behind, valleys trickle-filled themselves.

The sand wants you,
its seduction of crumbs
a soft slyness to draw you down
sub surface
to where shells refill with ghosts
and your skin becomes unkissable.

These currents,
the fresh, the unturned,
I'm listening for their wisdom,
but hearing only
that silver hiss,
the drawdown grappling
of sea stealing back
our little courages, our tomorrow desires.


Take me back through it all
lead me past and under and across,
explain the drawings, the vapours,
the hauntings, the triggers,
back to when this all became default.

Along those rails we rested our elbows,
the cheap pine for believers,
making the red bruises, but not a mark
the Sunday mumbles, 
itches to stifle the why.

The pattern grafters never faded,
their suit and rail of normal
your tether for balance
in that underworld of empty heavens,
assumptions veneered by rote into rule.

You didn't know you wanted this freedom,
the severance, a fear, a flailing
but you hid it well in a template of perforations
the smallest spotlights
giving glimpses for guesses.

The absolutes of my own faith
were born on those rails,
the selfish evidences,
the primitives of sense,
now linear, a blinkered bigotry.

Under the snow
after a season or more
between soft root and a fortune gap
the chance awaits its sunday
upwards the urge, blind but true.


A straw of a road
ghosttracked with the impulse of destination
winding away from me,
a languish and a stretch.

The fleet-blur sparkle of this day
distracting as it charms
stealing and forgiving me,
a deviance and an undercutter.

The bustle and balm
of this entertainment boredom
fogs the aerials and the toyland
of patriarch routes and expectation villages.

Circling in a gull hover, 
buffeted but stubborn
a retch, 
a violence,
of no and of now and of not,
tipping headstones into signposts
held by root and soil and skin and yesterday
to the unmapped
to an emptywhere
to find you and mostly me unwound.

Moment data.


At dusk the mountain ridges become mathematical,
charting the day's felonies
a granite graph of surge and drop
their day clothes fading to binary
a reminder of whim 
moment data of dents and pretend
all angles on axes
unlearned by sunrise. 

In Adelaide, 1987
the city a cocoon 
by scarred slopes of wheat and spinifex,
When the horizon burned,
a fire ring of dry gum incendiaries,
you pulled me back
"It'll never get here",
never knowing that's all I wanted. 



The watershock has me shouting at fish,
quicksilvered and blinkless
they watch this alien flaying, writhing. 
A stumbling pilgrimage over needle and rock,
a fall into this necessary baptism,
and I'm all Adriatic now. 

Just take me below,
hold me to the second last breath,
until the squeeze of empty, 
the vacuum compulsion,
this anti-gravity pull of fat and oxygen.

Now fill me with a love made of wanting,
Some filigree, some grace,
Whisper a wind's precipice secrets,
and release me to shatter the mercury sky.


Like a waking
Only more uncertain
you entered the room
All sun behind cloud
your edges the fire.

I'd learnt the feint and a retreat
for times just like you
so automatic it was steel
a primal reflex 
from the muds of Sunday School.

At dusk, the scent of hope
on the wind rioting your hair,
where my hands used to be,
as the stars blessed us
a deception of time unchallenged.

Fear is the fear I'm afraid
even in the unravelling 
complications, adornments
to keep the sun behind
but still afire.

Up then down

First, you hear the sky hum
and know to look up
for the starlet pinpoints,
Tinsel blinks in our infinity sky. 

These navigated escapes
from the pantomime
are full of that sense of flee,
the jetfuel seriousness of a Monday morning. 

Up where minds loosen, semi-numbed
the birds see our boxes for what they are,
a controller grid
of vague satisfactions and their crumbs. 

They're floated by the same breeze 
that spirals perfume around me,
Vapours of familiarity
Summer spirits and their echoes.

Lastly, you feel the tyres bump
and know to look down
to find yourself again,
lessened, breathing still.

Tools and their boxes

Moving into new rooms
Blinder than usual,
A white carpet sacristy
of muffled floorboard familiars,
The reassuring echo of my arrogance. 
Trying this new vacancy on,
The fit and the squeeze
A reminder to unthink,
to draw in and unravel a string
way back to the knot of my father
all hard and defenced. 

The bricks, slathered and stacked
gravel-clunked with the satisfaction of earth
into a wall of hollows and brittle ooze. 
The bass thud of a plank 
callus hefted and plumb eyed into place
his four hammer taps, an unerring morse. 
From man to son, to son again
the wanting was mortared deep. 
This ritual of making,
to fix an emptiness, dare spoken. 
This is a thread still loose. 

A toolbox sits in the dark,
softwood knackered and banged,
sawdust drawers of the remnants,
headless bolts and shaving curls,
a grit of paper,
a chisel thumbworn
five pencil blunts,
and the key for a door in Moneymore. 
The trinkets.
The treasures.
The tatters of a maker, now unmade. 


This tightness 
A familiar,
Squeezing on hope
Still knowing it's airless. 
Thinking back to my son 
Left behind sadness-smeared glass
In a half door
Between play and work
His fingers begging on the top
As I walked away 
Breathing and swallowing the hurt
But walking on
Because he needed to learn strong
(I told myself)
Needed a wall between the world
( I believed)
absence a muscle
to be girded for moments
I hope are no inheritance. 



The first softness of the summer
tentative as your hand at the beginning
a reminder of what feeling is
when it can be something free
as a hope brushed open
unweighed and trembling
to see a sky again
its infinity no longer a weight.

This air brings purpose
shines shadow away
all fragrance and sensation.
I'll reach for soil
make space and offer time
we need care for this
as warmth finds a home
by the tree trapping Feynman's sun.

Ground Truth

It's all a geometry of soft intersections
This sensation of day and night
Parallels refined and slipstreamed
This map of something you should look like. 
I counted the overlays of behaviour,
Buffering anticipations of response
Directions to go here, 
Expectations of arrival and coherence, 
This palace a studio
To selfie my contentments. 

But squint and see the river shimmer unbent 
As it was
Before the early brutalities
Before the erosion
Undercutting and redirecting,
Error-building the live wires.
We ended up a lifetime from our origin
foreign to home, 
halfhearted and off course,
Truth a desire line
almost forgotten under this tyranny of normal. 

The Inland Sea

We armour up,
a dijk making deltas.
Layers, protections
For the arrows and the undertow.
Veneers of gloss
frost over aspirations 
those trapped and those unthawed.
Even the cracks,
humanities regretted,
I'll bandage and hide between short breaths,
Half squinting in the bright,
The hiss and the heavy.
This scurry is the damage
The easy is the weakness.

This inland sea,
Twilit and tideless 
becomes surrender unfought 
a silting evaporation of potential.
But in the shallows, an honesty found.
Bone naked at the lowest,
an undrowned clarity
reveals mysteries as myth
bleaches ordinary on make-believe
raising, returning faith
my first sacrament. 


Up there
On a stone crown
Rubbled with achievement gasps,
Our pilgrim line
The blistered and the mad
Froze for the photos
Thinking we could stop this time,
Our desperate audacity. 
We aimed and earned 
Something for someone
Histories, futures muttered enroute
All left to evaporate
Except for the thought of you I breathed out
And breathed in again, 
a strengthener for the next.