The Walls About Samadhi
Freshly broken out from that shiny plane
I sink in a Delhi floral negligence.
Our cotton skins trap air like patient fishers
this place is on fire. We are calm, well-fed.
There are manners & lines,
bottled water passing spilt lives.
A terrible smile from beggary at the traffic lights,
we all look away as instructed. Avoid pain.
When we were both teenagers Robert started sitar lessons &
I thought I would fly. The rain fell instead on our dumb suburb.
A bulging passport now passes for knowledge
the stamps are proof I am not lost.
Take me away is my prayer for this day. 30 years ago a 16 year old
Jadav planted seeds on a 550 hectare desolate sandbar in Assam, he shames me
as elephants, tigers, rhinos now roam his daily tended forest sanctuary.
His people invented numbers & the light. I bend
with the inevitability of ants,
carry this small sack of thinking to the readings...
those hopeless carts of reputation.
Monkeys raid the city park rubbish,
they are the teachers, the excuse
on this mound of shopping. So polite -
we flee, embrace & falter
before the blinding glare of consequence.
Christmas & the Bicycle
An underrated tribe wishes you well.
The intricacies will curdle in the brain
so just scoop, this
record breaking summer but we’ve been there before.
On the intersection of Mi Mi St our bikes are immobilised
by a flowering gum. We wave to each other.
By Forest Rd the cars are howling like dogs
but it’s a kind of ritual, everyone
understands & ignores it...
less dire than other weapons
we elude mortality for today.
Global warmhearted, people have marked everything
but the courts won’t sit till February. Forgiveness
is beyond the budget so a pair of sweat absorbent socks
& a slip of mind is giftwrapped.
I have no problems with boats,
Jasmine does, after all, water ski.
Booking your holiday
3 dimensional online all included
puffer fish & chips... everything with alien egg.
We live in the future, science fictionalised.
You can speak into a microphone
& electricity will make you amplified in selfness.
We are rich in buttons & switches but
words are chucked in history.
Robots riot about democracy, all my friends
age against the machine. Tumble through wormholes
to worlds where birds rule (but have never been toilet trained).
Their pet humans scrape guano & prostrate.
Another planet has aquatic gas intelligence
but explorers only saw bubbles.
So much flatulence,
it’s almost like home.
Kepler-22 dresses like our lump, takes
to the sunshine, falls
within scientific parameters of life.
But does it have pools? Beaches? Bars?
The universe is a nail in the boffin –
so tiny, it sits on a finger
& spinning beyond the edge of our glass
spreads our heads like dynamite.
An atom will take us past galaxies.
We can travel in a blink. All around there’s the
teatowels of black holes, embroidered suns
& Cern is picking at the threads.
No doubt the future will arrive.
Gravity leaks into the 4th dimension,
our spaceships are already there,
hovering in the curl.
Back home in the dawn of now
I bend like the tiger lily
towards any slutty sunshine,
restless high on the sunlounge of promises.
How to cope with insomnia
- Find the place
They’ll tell you stories of washed up hands
And fingernails that smell of your grandmothers soup
Don’t waste time investing in such dark illusions
This is the hour of no man’s land
Where you need to realise the quantity of your space and breath
Is far more important than the quality
The way you can roam for hours on end
Like a gerbil in a wheel
You need to uncover your hidden motors
And learn how to feel
When the hours stretch down to tree roots
And your beating heart is the branches, the trunk,
And the reason you move, as if there were a reason at all
- Forget your reasons
You may have heard tales of sad men wandering
Down the same laneway, approaching the same gateway,
But it doesn’t matter if he opens the gate
And witnesses his soul gone off past midnight
It does not matter how you got here or where you’re going
All that matters is that you are here
Train contentment into your wilting branches
Feed your mind, not on clarity,
But on the food you need
Learn to be alone with the questions
Embrace them like old lovers
And contort their reaching hands to latch onto your vapour like frame
- Try your best not to go insane
Build a shrine around your sanity
And recall the person you were during the day
Repeat your name, out loud, to the mirror,
To the blank stare of your computer monitor
And feel the buzzing of your sleep hungry mind
The white noise that is both your time and place
Here is where you build your sanctuary
And allow the split to take place
Accept that your mind may no longer match your face
Accept that this is all part of the night time game
Where you run in circles until the moment of your rebirth
Calls you to the bed that belongs to a much younger you
- Allow yourself to be renewed
Forget everything but how you digest the hours
In the small gulps of your replayed memories and outdated fantasies
Recall the one who knows you best
And try to keep your heart steady, breath steady,
Make use of this lottery of time
Nothing counts here, nobody keeps score
Allow yourself to fall deep into your subconscious
Where the men run with scissors
And the children’s laughter becomes the rhythm to a song you know so well but cannot place
Don’t try to categorise or rationalise
- Be grateful you are alive
Even as the night spins rollercoasters
And you want to scream with frustration
This is the fate that has been gift wrapped to you
Untie the ribbon
This is the moment of your awakening
They will tell you you are a tragedy
And have you make lists of all the people who have died at sea
Remember you are that old oak tree
That has been here for longer than we can possibly know
You are not being beaten down
Your branches will continue to grow
- Let your story unfold
From the grip, from the barrier, from the control,
Dance the hours away with a smile
You are not shipwrecked at sea
You are not drowning or drowned
You are a survivor
I have the face of a tortured woman
One you wouldn’t want to meet
The face of a brute, tight skinned, red
lined savage unlikable and
Stripped of sincerity
I gained my reputation in how I failed to raise my children
Brought these stalks in and refused to tend to them
These weeds of mine hide out in dirty railroad lines
And I can’t stop shivering
What they take from me is my hate
I am left cold and at home in my cold
No one wishes to look long at me
All they see when they see me is:
A wisp of grey air
A cigarette smoke burning,
Burning I hide,
Burning I lie,
Burning I try to heal these children of mine
Who bear my haunted lips and haunted eyes and I feel ashamed
as I feel them die
Borne of a white tempered rage
That hovers in the air
Turning me insane:
Turning me to the dark,
turning me to the bottom of a bottle,
turning me bewildered until I find myself on my empty street with my empty self, with the dark light, and a ground littered with butts of cigarettes, that I smoke and smoke so feverishly, hoping and praying that they’ll work, that they’ll be the magic that will fix me,
cure me, burn red hot logic into my wiring, instead on this street
I sing my mad woman’s song as the night lingers on,
failing to move on, failing to carry what I need carried, leaving me open eyed and smoking and exhaling and and and...
Nobody looks at me
Not even the alleyway judges me
Nobody has a thing to say about me
The children play by the railway lines
Starving and homeless they leap from track to track avoiding
the shuttling trains
They don’t come to find me but I know they’re there
The moon shines down on my alleyway tonight
Brightening the tips of my untouched body
I have stopped shivering from the cold
My tortured woman face melts into the crevices of my skin
It is mine to own
To own alone.
Les Wicks has toured widely and seen publication in over 350 different magazines, anthologies & newspapers across 28 countries in 13 languages. His 13th book of poetry is Getting By Not Fitting In (Island, 2016).