I came here to work
but needed to stop.
That first day, tramping
up Bolus Head, mentally
pulling together the threads
of an unwritten story,
trapped between ocean
and mountain, eyes bent
to the road, sheep droppings
bunched like black grapes.
I walked as words withered,
eyes scanning the cliffs
and those sheep, improbably
balanced on a craggy incline.
Hooded crows fought the wind.
Then I saw her, shapeshifter,
iambic, limber, crossing the hill.
Frozen, lungs filled with wind –
a hare’s breath – I held it
a moment before it escaped.
Googling My Parents
When I Googled my parents there were no matching results, only
traces of others who bore the same names, living counterfeit lives
that failed to reflect the authenticity of monochrome days I recall
in that house by the railway line, where the sun shone all summer,
where huge ash trees waved their hysterical arms in March winds,
and a thin frost painted a dull world silver on the shortest days.
My parents don’t exist in the world, real or virtual, but are trapped
in stacks of wrinkled snaps; they look out at me with unseeing eyes,
perplexed, uncertain, frozen in a moment snatched from time. I know
there’s no option to reboot, no going back except through memory’s
patched-up matinee. From time to time, to kick-start reminiscence,
I read their names in stone among a host of other names on stones
ranged on a blanket of land that rolls down to the sea near home.
Perhaps the mind is a hard drive scanning the residue of lives
no longer with us, its circuits switching on and off, firing in dreams
where the dead arise, their voices talking out of the bright cloud.
“Every kairos is a chronos, but not every chronos is a kairos.”
Once upon a time in a land not very far away
I was a version of myself before I met a prototype of you;
two opposites collided in imagined space, auguring
a future harmony, unexpected but awaited.
We sensed an opportunity, a spontaneous knitting
of perspectives, gauche, sophisticated beyond the accidents
of birth. We shared a sense of quest fated in a sacred logos,
set forth upon an epic journey that took us back
to here, where we are now. The sense of so much living
crammed into moments that collapse, unfold in arcane
sequences, altered as occasion might demand. Dates
like fairy lights strung across a darkening garden when the party’s
almost over and the next day hovers in the branches; dim outline
of morning promising fatigue and argument, desire asleep
in bed beside you long after the alarm’s been silenced
by a hand much like the one that knocks, demands you meet
the future; a concept that will be elusive yet concrete, indefinite,
but growing sharper every day. It’s time to rise and rush into
that future, past the present, outrunning time’s arrow, outpacing
yourself in the narrow stream of things that constitute a life. Keep going,
you must be ready always for the moment when the stars align,
before the arrow falls or after memory unspools, a remnant on the floor.
Light dies, and when a different light emerges, more blinding than before,
you believe in magic once again; a child cries, an old man dries his eyes.
Copyright © Brian Kirk 2024