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Pitch

The sky is grey and warm,
just a smog hiding
the true blue that suffers
with blood at dusk,
and out of the great mountains rises
a furious pitch piercing

the vale - singular, held up
to the heights where it echoes,
crashes the sound
across the crag
and bursts above the tops;

I think it is a thin song,
clear and clean,
cold and cosmic,
perhaps a perched voice
alone on a precipice -
it has the feeling of sheerness
that if it fails some awe will
drop;

the weight of silence
bearing down upon
wings and water -
both will shatter
beauty over pebbled riverbeds;

it wavers with the weight,
knows its own mystic cosmos,
and the trembling breath in the tone
causes the leaves to question
their love for the cypress tree;

I sit and wait for the world to stop.

J.S.

Under Stars

My white boot thuds: sends up
an easy shoot in low gravity.
It tingles in the weightless space
before my widening eyes.

So here we are
under stars in a tranquil sea;
I am drowning in big humility.
Here is the barren ocean
of dust, of dreams, and

Mine is the only heart thumping,
the only blood flowing
the sole mind knowing.

It’s much like a textbook desert,
though infinitely different whilst I
stand looking. Cutting the uni-
-verse in two, the great invisible
Axis shifts and my purpose is
Reconsidered.

Suddenly I am the riddle.
Philosophers debate existence.
What matters my geometric boot
if not a single eye will ever testify?

I am one with the dust; I see it,
it sees me. We both tumble,
meaningless in (absent) air.
I keep forgetting.

I rotate to anchor my eyes
on something safe, something
stable.

There.

Whirling blue, semi-spherical
distance (bulbous with life)
making its way around.
Soon it will sink and I will be
alone save for that blinding star afar.

The depression stirs deeper
than fear in my core
but here also rises
the engulfing sickness of awe.
Turning to face that faint haven
I find I am a man no more.

J.S.

Stairway

on a stairway i don’t know who i am; when i see the whiteness of the wall and grey modernism crushing us in block lines straight down.

writers can fail when their eyes no longer have colour. they become scientists, cutting up the minutiae of life and measuring each piece. it makes it all meaningless.

i take a book from the library shelves, something to weigh my bag down and remind me i have a choice about:
which writers i read
which art is worthless.
i take Bukowski, just because i’ve heard. add me to a ‘type’, i don’t particularly care.

on buses i try to write myself back into being. blur windows clattering with the warm buzz beneath my butt.

we wrench forward at a stop and a woman nearly divulges the inside of her skull on the board. how easy memories are lost. to crack it all open might be a crime.

now my art is worthless because i don’t think as i make.
apathy fails my metaphors.
the trees are dull, and now we are all lost in an ocean of the pieces that break away from life as we live it.
what a way to see.

J.S.

on Earth, under Sky

after a day the scent is
perfected,
mixed in the sweep
of wind rushing the grasses
to lean westways
yearning
for the golden pinnacle;

i can’t conceive that
it might end, the summer light
and the gentle greeting from
the green, gesturing
politely, ‘come home to nature’.

you can try and find fault
in the ghostly ribcage
whispering to the sunset
white
but these swathes
are gentle and serene,
and threaten no war
with the humble peace
that contents itself when
the sky is full and rich
and regal
and firm placed above us:
an ideal spot
for a heaven to build.

you can try to fetch a trouble
from the treeline,
detect an itch in the dirt,
birth a bumblebee’s
small hurt;
you can try, my friend,
you can try

but there is nothing left on earth.

J.S.

Winter In the Garden

In the garden the leaves are dark and frosted. They pinch my toes where I walk in thorns, scattering the cool beads, dislodging silver from black, and the neat chain lines are disordered.

There is a glass about the air that threatens my soft cheek.
The cold cuts.

In this garden a living thing has died, where the sun is a distant murmuring of light behind mistveils. It droops.

I tread towards a fallen tree: black, it would have once crawled with mites. They too now form part of its dread mass.
Wet bough, rot glistening, a single pink petal dies under the precious sheen.

Ropes and vines snare the spiders. The cobwebs have turned in- structures of minuscule precision wasted. Care and worry and devotion of time all amount to a dying thing here in the garden that no careful touch will save.

Onwards there is a pool with a stench and a skin. Beauty’s silver riches can no longer hide the flaccid slack when the thing dies. Cannibal water corpses skim the unbroken film underneath, their bodies upturned. The dead eyes roll unfeelingly.

The last sighs of life breathed from the petal dissipate and I am folded back into the garden walls by the vines. It is a delicate abduction from life, and one that I won’t resist.

The dud light shifts and the garden shivers with a weight,
but it is bright June outside, and the winter is in my heart.

J.S.

The Chasm At the End

i feel the dread of it

and the terror of its pull, this chasm, and inside it, the moon,
reaching with its curve for the edges,
only ever slicing the black-blue bruise for a sky
like a knife easy through soft fruits in the morning,
on a breakfast table in the sun somewhere,
somewhere long away from here
lost in the past beyond the horizons of happiness,
beyond, somewhere at dusk,
fading with romance 
and nostalgia, that comfort of a washing river viewed from the banks,
and then that bitterness of the clean cold that cuts your chest in two
when you wade and make the most of your time out of the chasm
before you fall,
 before you sink
like silk into air wisps, whispering
with sleep secrets that cradle you in darkness whilst you wish to hold on,
hold on and grasp the last clutches of blood-sun, of the steep grassy bank that hides the sneaking adders,
the strips of skin that peel away at the table in the dawn sun.
hold on, it says, hold on even in sleep, but the dark has no ears and one by one
the stars blink themselves into nonexistence, and there is
only ever enough time to wish for one second more.

J.S.