Out through the night

I

You took us out through the night
And the sweep of indifference,
Toured the bright lights in pretty puddles
And sleeping city streets.

There was always a storm to tell.

Reaching out of ourselves we
Unlocked moments,
That ecstatic ride far from controls
And erratic neon shrouds,
Where no thing rises and falls far
From the pen.

How the rose brings many thorns
Like a careless invitation.

 

II
Leaning aimless, a blur of focus,
In dive bars and bazars we drunk some
Time to kill reason.
The relics and ashes of civilization
Belittle this poor excuse for debauchery.

That man is no Jesus.
Our procession has lost it’s sparkle
And in rebellion,
Too clumsy for magic or sage.
With one loving hand on despair,
Carrying cracked faces and books
Like an ambling prayer,

Filling each desolate steppe with romance
And foreign gestures.
Some are haunted by the word,
Most are cowards at the coal face of freedom.

 

III
Knelt on pews and crystal ashtrays
And slunk in dripping, nowhere alleys,
We rode on song and scraps,
Eating lunch off origami,
Taking shelter in the wind.

Poisoning fear was whiskey and piano,
Waking in a sweat of dew close to dawn;
So sick and shivering
In the scales of mediocrity.

When love and hate stare back
From the drained bottles,
When you analyse too close the tears in the labels,
Then heart descends, in fever and lazy to care
For the love plague and tiring colours.

Weak without umbilical urges the
Greatest tales of all-time
Fill the doubting waste paper basket.

The aching significance of our hidden language.
How discreetly we suffer the subtleties.

 

IV
The battered guitar and cheap candles
Guard the dusk,
Words falling between the gaps,
The mannequin troubadour escaping
The Grecian palate
For a splash of Ganges with familiar friends.

In those worn and polished gutters
I saw what this could mean.
I broke myself because there was no
Poetry in completion.

When I was torn at the loom you offered
A single golden stitch,
That kept me together, that made me itch.
You whistled like the weaver making patterns
With knots and coarse thread and all around a
Heavenly strain taut with purpose.

The ageing stains of wonder have circled us in,
Some call it life, some call it sin.
The inevitable ring of ignorance,
For what we have lost will never end.

No amount of tears will make it pure again,
No more wishing for easy forgiveness
Or homeward whispers,

Our human poem has the eyes of a child
Running away from resurrection.

 

V
You held my hand in the dead of night and
Knew those salty travellers tears,
The roots of my disbelief were not lost
In casual abstraction.

And now. Can you guess?
I don’t buy this depressive holiness.
Won’t carve out bile on a smoking crutch,
Won’t break down in flaming surrender.
I choose a raging isolation,

Irrelevant in this dystopia
I seek a reckoning with emptiness
To fill me heart with clarity,
The rider on those waves is lifted
Closer to reality,

You picked our wars
Without flaming crosses,
Your triumphs were the
Greatest mystery.

How will we find a way?
Without the harp and compass
To keep us from the rocks.

 

VI
So bring again the apple blossom to the
Shivering chills of Manhattan,
Bring the pilgrims papers and warm bread
Wrapped in memories,
Bring the mornings haze of forgiveness and
The scent of parks and hotel lobbies.
For I am sleepy and dawn is when I like.

Throw the curtains back and let me see the
Lines by your eyes that grow each time we laugh,
Your scratched compositions by candle light,
The subtitles of your foreign dreams
And silhouettes of perfect bodies.

No failures in longing for loves
Secret souvenirs.
Your gift was a sympathetic repose,
The way you made each tired glance unique.

 

VII
Now you’re raised
In some effortless simplicity,
What is, just is.
Was that you lingering in a sigh?

Out through the night,
Never weakened.
I hope the stars are kinder now
And your dancing away from all those
Yesterdays,

Wearing your heart in a knowing grin
Freed from the sadness in others beauty
And its faithful chains.

You took what you could,
You kept it close,
Maybe that is enough.

In a low voice, speak of glory.

 

For Leonard

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lee this was a magnificent poem

    “How will we find a way?
    Without the harp and compass
    To keep us from the rocks.”

    LOVE will always find a way… And I feel lots held within this poem..
    Blessings Sue

  2. 3

    This poem is a masterpiece Lee! One of your best. So inspired, vivid and sensitive. A beautiful tribute to Leonard


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