The big bag theory

When the cat is let out of the bag
all teeth, claw and spit,
it blinks, pupils shrink to pins.
It slips down blind alleys,
fur leeched to the colours of here.
It yowls.
Only those in the way of secrets hear its story.
It tells of the beginning,
how it curled in on itself in the dark
listening to it until it understood
silence, then sound, the roar of light
slashing open the threads
the white throat
of something yet to become


The order of things

Furore leeches to combustion,
springs from sprung elbows
to hurl lit bottles into blackness,
an explosion of light against brick.
Knotted strings puppet
lips, a chorus of echoes
that bruise ears, welts blistering
hearts and twisting guts.
DNA whispers tried, tired answers,
blood sings with it, pumps
check lists to brains, feet, fists
the sword ticking each box with death.



You hung it behind the door,
no movement
only openings and the closings.
You never liked it,
found it a dead wood thing
and never named it, unusual for you
when everything was named
with the careful rites of a priestess.
Fierce Barbies, languid stuffed animals
a bed corner gang of jumble Action Men
each one could be called and summoned,
all moved smooth as fish through the world,
pretend was as powerful as sinew.
You said that it could not work on pretend,
someone had to pull the strings
and life was already full of make me, have to.
You cut the strings once but it never ran
no matter how you willed going into limbs,
breathed leaf and wind back into its memory.
Years later on a visit home
you tied the strings together again,
so it could be hung back behind the door.
It took hours; head bent over clenched knots,
your tongue poking out in concentration
as if this was a final act of some connection.


The snowman

You said it couldn’t work on pretend
as we push snow into sculpted men,
ice cloud whistle choir boy songs
until black blankets our yard.
Chins balance on fisted hands,
lean noses flat to frosted windows
and the moon unearths diamond fields,
a solitary figure in suspension
waiting for animated picture book magic,
a scarf flying in the wind as we,
like the pyjamaed boy, circumvent city parks,
narrow streets, our empty cupboard house.


Snow beauties

Found poem from the works of Wilson ‘Snowflake’ Bentley 1865-1931, a Vermont farmer who took the first photograph of a single snowflake

Every crystal was a masterpiece of design
and not one was ever repeated.
When a snowflake melted,
that design was forever lost.
Just that much beauty was gone,
without leaving any record behind.
What magic is there in the rule of six
that compels the snowflake
to conform so rigidly to its laws?
Six rays or parts, there always are
yet what an amazing variety
these parts exhibit among themselves.
I have been studying it all these years,
it has brought things that were new
and beautiful to my hand.
I have never yet found a time
when I could ever entertain
an idea of relinquishing it.
Sixteen hundred photo-micrographs
of snow crystals alone, and no two are alike.
It is all most marvelous and mysterious
these changing habits of growth,
the perfect symmetrical way
all this is accomplished.
Bits of pure beauty from the skies
will soon come into their own.


The six

Separated by time,
stretches of salted water
and changing cultures,
the days we meet we solidify,
crystallize into cascading
sextets and move in tandem,
our beat technofying existence.
We dance around strangers
steps varying six-fold, incomplete
without prismed partners, mirrors
of chromosomes trading places,
linking us completely to the end.