My Brother the Mechanic

I remember he dropped a new motor
In dad’s old car that paid the bills.
Don’t believe there was a vehicle
My brother didn’t have on the road again.

He’d make the parts that make the part
Or the tool required for unforeseen jobs.
He could add horsepower to the hour
And make day and night both hum.

Watching him work, sometimes helping,
The engine in its dimension whirring,
Time idled like a dream rolling forward.
No repair was beyond my brother’s repair.

The Cost of Writing

Shameful to carve a falcon in granite,
To cage swallows in starless stone,
To mummify crocodile and Nile perch
And bury them in the desert, sacrilege,
To imprison lions in mineral,
Predators trapped in pictographs,
Prey powerless to escape pursuit.
The cobra has no spit in sandstone,
The bee has neither sting nor honey,
The sacred ibis sinks into sediment
And vultures weigh a ton a piece.
Scavengers face their own erosion.
Baboons gaze at stonework sunrises.
Sparrows eat the last grains of light.
Figures of famine begin to fracture.
Cartoons of war crack at the core.
All this weighs humankind’s entelechy
Against the weight of a feather.

Land of the Pharaohs

The time in Egypt is like a dream,
Cairo appears at the edge of chaos
And yet serene steps of moonlight
Climb pyramids like Egyptian princes.

Sunset on the Nile is like the dreaming eye
Of a crocodile sinking into the deep,
And desert winds at Abu Simbel
Obliterate the landscape over and over.

Buried under all the sands of the Sahara
My dreams merged with the dreams
Of those who travelled through sleep
To wake in the land of the Pharaohs.

Egypt

Traffic jam in the desert
Pyramid weddings
Satellite-dished Sahara
Empty apartment caves
Wi-Fi hieroglyphics
The adhan’s resonant heaven
Crescent moon felucca
The Nile’s green fringes
And reed boat missives
Atmosphere of essential oils
Palm tree hoopoes
And jingling sugarcanes
Sleep travels miles
Footprints through tombs
Sphinx bearing the likeness of time
Spice market hibiscus
And rababa of rabble
Man-made lake of wind
Dromedary vistas
Temples rising out of water
Lions emerging from stone
Stone-cutters turning to dust
Dream of a crocodile
Swallowed by sand
Camel cavalries on the march
The sun god’s sandstorm face

Glassworks Blowout

Of course there’s atmosphere
And compatibility
Preheating and melting points
Rolling and necking
Rods and reamers
Nippers and honeycombs
Balls and blowing
Frigging and forking
Grinding and humpen
Edging and drilling
Wrythen and tooling
Flaring and soaking
Hot fingers and imploding
Some annealing at the bench
Even paddles and punti
For people of that kiln

Fault Lines

Slave camps under the flag of freedom
Fanatics of freedom freedom fighters
Freedom blockades and freedom occupiers
Freedom of speech and religion
Born free but crying freedom
We can barely get through a door
Without contradicting ourselves
Let alone navigate
The narrowest straits between words
We shatter every mirror of hypocrisy
Before admitting to a fault line
It’s in the interstices the poison oozes
From the cracks in consonance
Exudes the grief called humankind
Our free will has free rein
Live free or die in chains
The chemistry of words contain
The toxins that destroy us
As long as we’re not free to print money
But others are free to get out of jail

Awake or Dreaming

I won’t know if I’m awake or dreaming.
I’ll be carried by water
A long way out into the open.
I’ll feel what the birds feel
When they plunge into the cold.
My bones will never be addressed again,
My ashes will cease all communication
With faith or doubt.
A star will alight on a leaf.
I’ll be at the birth of time,
The beginning of music.
The natal universe will embody me.

Clear Glass Demijohn

This large transparent globe
Drinks the liquid of the sun.

This vessel that contains
The elements of thought.

This horizon within an orb.
This spirit lamp of level light.

It floats on the vastness of presence
Like the stillness of the spherical.

A solar urn, a bubble of heat
Flaring into semi-permanence.

The air gone out of our lungs
Takes the shape of the unsaid.

Snooker Fluke

The player of a snooker frame
Asked to play without a name.

How a ball cued to its target
Supports evidence for kismet.

Spheres attend to a dimension
Of answers without questions,

Opposing their own direction,
Uncommitted to their motion.

What a difference a kiss makes
To the aftermath a miss takes.

If the shot maker is appalled
The audience is unresolved

Having witnessed chance
Careen chaos across remembrance.