Tell it to the birds


My shadow is a black
fold of earth

a sudden downpour

a pylon made
from shining rings of steel

there’s a wedding underground

below the dirt.

dressing is
so much
of an occasion.

blocked pores
a finger curls
to insert a wad
of cotton wool

The road has trees on either side
it looks more like a bridge
than a road.

from the cemetery
hawks rose from roadsides
all the way home

a blackbird was in the shop
we heard
when we returned

the world is pregnant
with him again.


I’ve come to say it to the birds.

cancel appointments, see diagramme.

death that
keeps life visible,
making it

the beginning is not.

Crushed in advance
the embryo doesn’t function

A bizarre clattering sound
not heard before.

unmade with quills
and feathers,

seeing for the first time
through a small window
at the top of a tall tower
his son

a deadfall, beauty
on his face
in his hands

in my impatience to talk to you

he bleeds
in his small cell



and I still,

I will celebrate
in the usual way

at a cost

and where is the blood
coming from?

A year with the birds
without pills of any kind

hollow bones
air flutes
heavy bones
earth folds.

It is unlikely even for an instant
that we flew at all

Absent presence

abjection can only provide
a particular proof
no suffering is exemplary

Angles of sun
on the clouds

How much shadow?

The swallows come back

a blackbird was in the forest
a blackbird was in the forest

even if it is not true

A third angle opens

I went with grief in my heart
Feet running.

the skin swells
the limb drops

cultivate exotic states of mind

We would laugh at the smell
in the house,

Rain at night.


I still I

How sing for the dead
not to shame them

The weather clears.
A white dove watches
from a building opposite

the funeral director’s.

No more play,

No more pain,

for an instant
a precarious form …

flies to fate.

sons are born with news
of the earth,
a wedding underground.

Perhaps it is my mistakes
setting my words apart
that mark them as mine.

He laughs. We look.
Writing is stammering.

that finds justice in its own

a thrush is singing close by

Don’t tell the words
where we are going,
No sense telling them,

The door is open.
A sparrow is in the house.

letters that stir
the fire

I went to help.
It disappeared
before I could.


I was drunk

I was so relieved
there were common names
for everything

because there’s nobody left
who can correct them.

I opened my phone
and found nothing.


I will say it to the birds

in the forest
Where they never ever go.

Kahu stuck
to the road
in guts
threads of rubber

or skin
eye onyx
the jewel
of death
on a ring.

cicadas singing
in the gardens

I’ve never felt any different.
I will never feel different.

in sharp, sudden focus
the edges
private and true
the unknown life

you cannot control

A cold, original pleasure

It’s the only time I’ve been

You tell me
whether I have broken
the impasse

to bring news
of the earth, that’s why
sons are born

You couldn’t
do what he did now

You couldn’t
do what he did
in his lifetime,

even in his lifetime.

I’ve so much to say

shall I escape on foot?

sunk into time and
emerging into timelessness

He folds himself
As close as possible

an absence,

I held him
I held nothing
because he was my father.

You’re no longer in a life
where you can change
the slightest thing.


So much to say
I will say it still

a year
among the birds.

a thrush is singing
on the white rail
of the deck.

What you are looking for
is not there

Stand. Lower your voice.
Nobody knows enough about
where we have come from
and what we really want.

I can smell cigarettes
The scent
inside your shirt.

Funny he died.
I feel funny.

Lead ribbons
are so flat

with no visible means
of support

we would laugh at everything.

to lie in his bed with him
to be a captive bird
a drop or two of water
dripped on its beak.

I am alone among equals

and sparrows
flew into my eyes

until my eyes


each time you reach

clogging clay
we had not counted on being wet


love will end

I know about birds,
she said.

black seed
white skin,

how will we be
in touch?

the word.

I mean it

different kinds of time.

The fantail’s gone.
High cloud.
Rain at night.

so much

Last night I turned
to stone.
I thought,
How will I make love?

Be good I mean it
Kiss my lips

In death we say
there’s a wedding underground.

To live,
live the life
of the dead.

come to nothing.

(I can say something about this. It is meant in part as an answer to possibly the only piece I’ve ever written that’s a poem, which is not my work and that I didn’t write, but only half wrote. So, it is a piece written in part answer to a half of that which as a whole is possibly a poem, A Piece of Fabric.)