the titles reached up high,
the mountains of fantasy
dominating the upper reaches
in long stretches of hard-to-say
names and strange england-like
lands, then came the crime
in black-and-white city streets
and men with eyes too haggard,
then bright-souled coming of age
novels, asking for optimism and love.

at the bottom sat the poems
tucked into notebooks.



it doesn’t resist your steps,
forcing heavy legs to limp
through thick thigh-high
silt and water, parting fronds
falling down to drape across
your shoulders, catching foreheads
with the odd pin-pricking thorn.

the trees drinking so deeply
pack themselves around you,
almost marvelling themselves
to waking at this strangeness
trampling through the roots
eyeing the orchids perching
in fragile perfection on logs.


Bristling with light bones
they lost themselves
on streets familiar
in that strange
spirally sort of way,
a city wrapping itself
around a focal point
a centre
something that draws
all of the buildings
together into one
encompassing entity
designated a city
on ledgers somewhere
and in the occupants

“Strange Weather”

They drove without looking at each other
for the longest time.
She was scared she’d turn and see
a tornado, twisting upward, grasping houses
and diners and schools and friends.
That’s not what she see’s; it’s
a flash of blue
at the steering wheel, eyeing a future
marked on the road in front of them.


I can still hear the music
that drifted on the air
to pull her together, or break
or her apart on pages like these.
She’d pull up that journal and be gone
excepting only for the music that’d
waft toward me – she’s gone,
but that music hasn’t stopped, like
she’s still there, out of sight,
buried in her thoughts, and soon
she’ll emerge and the music’ll die
on the air and we’ll fall
back to wherever we’d dared
to be before.