Doing It Again, 1988

Shattering dream of the distant
Rising pain of the familiar.

You dive in the old sea gladly, expecting
the fish to be the same
But here are new fish and changed fish
and someone’s moved the rocks.

You get lost in it
but not lost enough
Enough of it remains unchanged
to send the knives of the forgotten familiar revisited
Slicing and spiking into you.

And the distant —
where you have been all this time —
the distant with its other ways,
other clothes,
other weather,
other people,
the distant lurks as a lateral lance
waiting to push you back into itself
And you know it will happen
(your flight is booked)
But you shield yourself from it with
Brazen black
and haunting, dragging smells

And you vow
(yet again)
that next time you fly
from the distant to the familiar
next time you do it again
You will stay
and shatter the dream of the distant
Satisfy the pain of the familiar.

untitled (‘I drove to your father’s smoke-stale house’)

I drove to your father’s smoke-stale house
Helped you pack your excess baggage
Shared a last coffee to delay the inevitable;
Mustered your excited children and envious parents
Convoyed to the airport.

Followed your treasure hunt from check-in to departure tax
to refreshment bar (milk for your baby)
Sat on stained, burnt airport carpet, awaiting your boarding call
Monitored your dancing children and nervous parents
While you rested in a blue chair.

Waved you through the door of no return
— Bye! Enjoy yourselves! —
Watched you dive skyward in an iron lung on metal wings
Parted formally with your relieved parents
And drove home dangerously, Jimi Hendrix screaming, home to nothing, crying.

I Want to Climb Inside your TV

Your TV glows.
Beautiful colours
A kaleidoscope of warmth and feeling.
I watch it closely
Too closely
Mesmerised by happenings on your screen.
Your TV beckons
Invites participation
Begs me to join a circle of linked hands
Yours and mine.
An inner circle
Alight with a vital, thoughtful radiance.
Behind a clear barrier
And I want to climb inside your TV.
I try and try
But I’m torn and bleeding
On the glass front of your screen.