Love Poem in Allelujah
Here are the things I would hand you –
the smell of roses and something peppery.
the small warmth of sweat.
keys that interrupt still
you used to touch tentatively
child gentle and wild.
Saying you are beautiful is not the whole truth.
You are beautiful and ugly.
teenagers climb wide
on a trunk of pohutukawa
I am drinking mango and ginger tea.
Your hair is hay/ a mane/ a serpent
when we fuck it tangles down like jungle vines.
It is sparrow brown,
Rapunzel, it is a nest.
at the next table a water jug
a slice of orange is a goldfish
a girl that says ‘I have no idea what I am doing’.
Dance hall palm trees wash against dirty boys in checkered shirts,
Cigarettes, pens, ginger beer
the plasterwork elegant and dated
you and she are oddly athenian.
Saying I am beautiful is not the whole truth.
You haven’t seen the ugly in me yet.
A sparrow chirps slow love to late afternoon light.
I would hand you
blue hydrangea in a paint jar
on a window sill.
You would hand me your quiet.
salty hours rising between us like gospel.
Land that smiles and smarts
Land that smiles and smarts against our hands – skin burnt bare – these land crumbs –
my mother’s body – blue blue blue –
and dark sky – dark stars – hollowing out the night –
all the time your teeth are clenched –
all the time her tongue is wriggling behind your teeth trying to get out –
clenched like a fist – your fist-words are angry at shadows
– angry at light – interplay –
here is your body smarting again – here is my body –
the same words –
the fall of the light in the sky after the fireworks –
the stray light – tumbling around – wandering –
lost like a land – lost like my hands – my bare burnt skin –
my mother – body – black black black –
and light air – light breath – sucking in the day –
a horizon without a story – without a heartbeat
– all the time my heartbeat cheats – hides like a child in a crowd – in a searchlight –
searches like a hiding child – searches for a home –
land that smiles and smarts against our hands
I heard a message from a flame tree
Licking land –
Flame across bare
All the Heroes
In yellow and red
Flicker on the box smoke screen
Acrid Air Signals “Everything has gone up in smoke”
The sky, but also two cowboy conceits:
1. Beginning – Middle – End.
Fire spills –
A contamination of oxygen and carbon a trapeze body
The ‘run on’ effects transversal
2. The Criminal Native.
Pacifican, we think America likes it large.
of a thousand burning trees –
the thief wind is air culprit to flame
by a firefighter
man of Apache descent
Unemployed and now,
Feeling the heat.
“immensity” colonisation writes backwards
until (your) land
becomes un – owned (unknown)
the weight of
a burning forest.
One as big as a house
wearing a blue dress with dog legs.
One narrow like a door opening and closing
blowing a trumpet without sound
One speaking in tongues all the different tongues
Cat, Dog, Parakeet, Monkey and
the sound of a baby crying for milk.
The Girl that Grew into a Tree
She is flimsy as the rippled moon on water
(Her face too, is half-moon and sallow)
in a red silk kite dress.
Her centipede spine curls against vinyl seats.
The rain hides her short talk with corrugated iron.
she drops her wineglass (a glass slipper)
and waits to be sewn up.
I am afraid her back will break
before the weight of her prophecy
bridges her vertebrae to the sky -
They say bird-girls like her don’t fly
/ don’t change their feathered ways.
But next time I see her,
She is cutting flesh thin from mango skin
Lines in her brown stretching out to ancestors
They say the roots of the tree anchor as far underground
As branches that reach to the sky.