Fate’s Catalyst

You were Fate’s catalyst and now the moon roars
Out your name. The ground has shifted;
Tectonic changes;

The leaves have already fallen.
Nothing here can move quickly.
Constant rain. Perpetual drizzle.

This is the climax of brooding sky:
The world in an arthritic cast.
I sink deeper into my chair

And into nowhere, remembering
Our epoch opening like an atrium.
I sit alone. I separate

The night’s black veil to watch
A rabble of stars that slowly appear,
Submerged and drunk and melancholy

Tumbling out of the dark.
I think of you as though in seance
And our last night rises up from the air.

I have never heard a more
Honest and open cry
Than the rising howl you made that night:

Our last night, when I held your hand in the rain
And you held not just mine back,
But everything together –

And I never even realised,
All that time that I held you,
That you were a moment

That I let fall into nothingness.
You were the planet’s core, you were magma-glue,
And that’s why the happiness stuck to us.

If it was raining then the sky did not bother your tears.

Inheritance

Guarding like a totem, as my remnant,
His highlander-bottle keeps watch:
The paternal inheritance:
The whiskey-hollow harmonic echoes

From the neck of a dry riverbed.
But the bottle-man stands tall, peripherally, on the shelf;
A blind gaze, as solemn as one last breath.
He attracts dust while his old notes nestle

In the ears of the dead, captured
Only in the memory of ashes,
So that together they remember, pulseless:
The booming, stubbled laughter, the gulping thirst.

He watches it lurk in the veins.
The path wood-carved in the family tree
To be repeated like a shared prophecy –
My birthmark from the first schism.

Only rose-falls close the lifelong call.
Too soon we dull with Sunday bells tolling
To decay with our unshakeable faults,
Bearing them like gifts for an afterlife.

The Ballet

The light collapsed with the weight of dusk
As we went to watch the ballet.
We only ever went that one time.
A special performance. In fact
I had never seen ballet before
Or since – it wasn’t me. But you,
You had. You loved it, lived it,
Regularly. It was a childhood dream.
However you had missed the chance;
Apparently “You have to start when you’re young”.
The opportunity had departed
Like a missed train. No second chances.

But I remember that night because
It was the first time I found a bad evening.
We had left the bedroom overturned,
Littered with arguments over nothing,
But your barbs were like arrows
Craving the sight of a Sebastian.

Suddenly you didn’t seem like you –
Or at least, not one that I knew.
It wasn’t. The first of many.
A temporary distance.
Your face clamped shut to barricade you in:
Your voice hidden as a pearl.
You described it as your mind becoming
Untrustworthy.

We arrived and entered the theatre
Quietly. It echoed like a church
Without the crosses. Hushed voices.
It was already not going well;
We were always late and lost.
We searched for our places in the dark,
Repeating our seat numbers
Like the combination to a safe,
Relaying up and down the aisle
As though hunting for lost keys,
Until the right row finally appeared –
We had somehow lost a letter from the alphabet.

We sat down.

The ballet teetered on the precipice.
The curtains quivered like lips
Of the Red Sea. We awaited a Moses.
I tried to pry open the silence
But every time I spoke, I saw you
Shrug away my words
Like they were only air.
The lights dimmed further.
The music opened floodgates.

Dancers poured out from the wings,
Spilling onto the stage in a torrent
Of song-spun pirouettes, soaring jumps,
Blurring into more than humans.
Their black feathered costumes combining
And undulating like returning birds.

The room rumbled with awe.
The air swelled with approval.
The audience reinforced grace.
And I didn’t understand a thing –
Nothing more than childlike-mesmerised;
Open mouthed, as though held
By a magician’s watch.
Occasionally I tried to whisper
Something meaningful, non-elevator.
Mostly I blinked forwards.

You understood like it was home.
Awakening gradually,
Eyes like sparked coals,
The dancers pulled you out from your depths
And lifted you up like one of them
To the surface on the tide of red velvet.
Your face beamed; sunflower joy;
Turning to find the sun
Just as you couldn’t imagine
That it would ever reappear.

Eventually the curtains closed
And I found your smile, resuscitated
Inside of some clothes
That you don’t usually wear.

Hawk

Nothing owns the air like this hawk
Before this here kill. He commands the air
Like a sovereign to a subject.
The cloud hunter, outstretched

Feathered fingers holding back rotations.
He waits for the death moment –
No thunderclap, an ominous cloud
Of silhouette congealing above

Carefully hung from the sky,
Blowing in the breeze like washing.
This is his birthright.
He is honed by a million egg-cracks.

A hovering executioner;
A sprawling of God.
Steady as a surgeon’s hand,
Shadowing death like a drone.

He surveys his surroundings,
Readying his eye like a strongman’s muscle,
And prepares to conclude life
And roll away the world in revolutions.

He toys with the perfect kill.
The evening is alive with anticipation.
The heavens breathe in.
Seconds pass like tremors

While he makes us all wait,
Bobbing and brooding
On the sky’s surface like oil –
A black buoy.

He holds my gaze like a prey,
Ricochets against the wind
Like the swing of a hammer,
And then plummets only to make the skyline fall.


This poem recently arose after travelling through France when stood by the car during a petrol pit-stop, I saw a bird of prey (I believe it was a hawk, although I’m not completely sure) seemingly levitating out above a field in the near-distance while hunting. It was quite something: motionless. It could have been hung from the clouds. It was probably quite an ordinary sight, however the image of that bird, stuck on the sky, also stuck with me – following me over the next few days like the predator that it was.

Consequently I tried to capture the suspense in that moment, the tension in that air of sky, the metaphors that lurked within, and the power of that hawk as it controlled the air – it became, unavoidably, my own Hughes ‘Hawk Roosting’.

Enjoy the poetry, and don’t forget to like and follow for more new poetry every Friday.

Luca

Our Winter

That winter looked too good on you.
It adored you, like a mother –
Birth certificate confusion.

The summer was almost obvious.
Winter was better. Lurking.
You could camouflage in the cold.

But it was also something more profound:
Months followed you, mirroring.
The skies seemed to shiver.

A world hiding in hibernation
While I watched your cheeks blister;
Dimpled red apples, licked by frost.

The tarmac crunched like rubble underfoot
As you spun away, plucking out the air
With the premonition of blossom

Concealed somewhere deep in your smile.
You knew the eventuality of change
And I opened each day like a gift.

God. You were gut-punch beautiful.
In the devotion of those short, dark days
Nothing could stop you.

But like the snow, tumbling
Down altitude’s umbilical cord,
It all soon would be fallen.

You Sleep Between the Sighs and the Sunrise

You sleep between the sighs and the sunrise:
Scratch marks running down your back like train tracks,
Chasing the curvature of your pale spine,
The memories of the moans in the black.
You wake each day with fresh finger traces,
Repeatedly healed in the night until new.
Different; distant. Slowly, you are time-changed –
A concertina of hands holding you.

But not mine. Now I just stitch the remnants
Of what is left in the dark of my dreams,
Wearing your aftershocks as a pendent,
Oscillating wildly between extremes.
The doctors would call my love a crisis.
My lips condense heartbreak into silence.

False Idols

I see you, hiding
As a face in the puddles
Of this street;
Dark and dense with wine
And ghost memories.

You look at me,
Full of tremors and echoes,
Like you are still a hole in my earth.

A wet murmur.
Bright craters, glassy imitators
Shine like mirrors
In the rare, rippling light
Of the urban night.

A cloudy veil around the moon;
A river of streetlights;
A semaphore traffic light
Illuminating you with primary colours,
While, beating your eyelids,

You jump from water to water.
Briefly disappearing like a hot storm
That remains in the muscle memory
Of the air, still twitching –

And similarly, you stay with me;
Accompanying, following
Like a sticky religion, like honey
Between your fingers on hot days.

But I should know
Not always to believe what I think.
To value conversions, clean hands.
This is not you. You were you.

You were once too human.

And this is just a drunk creation,
Nostalgic self-flagellation,
And thoughts like biblical arrows.

My imagination has remade you,
Summoned and raised you,
And I have created something new:

A love, worthy of a pedestal.


Falsi Idoli

Ti vedo nascondendo,
Una faccia nelle pozzanghere
Di questa strada scura;
Denso con il vino
E le memorie come fantasmi.

Guardandomi,
Pieno di tremori ed echi,
Come se fossi ancora un buco nella mia terra.

Un mormorio bagnato.
Crateri luminosi, lucidi imitatori
Splendono come specchi
Nella rara luce increspata
Della notte urbana.

Un velo nuvoloso intorno alla luna;
Un fiume di lampioni;
Un semaforo
Ti illumina con i colori primari
Mentre, battendo le palpebre,

Salti dall’acqua all’acqua.
Brevemente,
Sparisci come un temporale estivo
Che rimane memoria muscolare
Dell’aria, ancora spasimando –

E allo stesso modo, tu stai con me;
Mi accompagni, mi segui.
Come una religione appiccicosa,
Come il miele tra le dita nei giorni caldi.

Ma dovrei sapere
Di non credere sempre in ciò che penso.
Per valutare le conversioni, pulire le mani.
Questo non sei tu. Eri tu.

Prima eri troppo umano.

E questa è solo una creazione ubriaca,
Auto-flagellazione nostalgica,
E pensieri come frecce bibliche.

La mia immaginazione ti ha rifatto,
Evocato e cresciuto,
Ed ho creato qualcosa di nuovo:
Un amore che merita una medaglia.


So, this poem had a very interesting life. It started off in Italian with the first line, which I came up with and really enjoyed the internal rhyme, however I got around halfway through and hit a bit of a brick wall. I translated the poem into English to see if that would make things easier and fortunately it did, with the “path” to the end becoming much clearer and different language choices suddenly appearing. Then, once I was finished, I translated the final few verses back into the Italian.

There are subtle differences between the two versions, but mostly for language purposes. It was my first time writing a poem in this way and I liked both versions a lot and thought they both deserved publication – also I’ve been threatening to publish poetry in Italian for a while so this seems like a good place to start. Writing in Italian is much more of a challenge for me personally as it’s not my mother tongue, however I really liked the interplay between the two languages and testing my own poetic abilities in this way.

Revelations

A blue dawn, summering storm
Wakes you with a clatter
Of colliding clouds and sideways rain.
But then you look down
And see her,
In a dream sanctuary

Between the sighs and the sunrise.
And suddenly, sleepily
Your legs, arms, fingers,
Thoughts are intertwined
In the disappearing night;
Coiled around each other
Like loved-up snakes

While she continues to be
Safe and self-contained.
Oblivious. Twitching subconscious
Words on the cusp of her lips.
Tired eyes tightly shut
Like two imprinted, inky little stamps.

You are not affecting
And she recuperates
In the night like a deprivation chamber;
Inhabiting parallels.
You keep watch like a guard dog.

Her hair shields her face
From you
As a separation,
Like a wall of palms,
And she becomes more miscellaneous
The more you look.
It could be someone else

Again. Bury the feelings
Deep like a guilty bone.
You smell the morning breath
Brewing in her cauldron mouth,
Watch her limbs out-stretched
Like a content child;

She is often beautiful.
You decide to retry sleep
And redemption,
Covering your bodies
Under the ghost-thin sheet,
Laid dead like pharaohs,
Waiting for the inevitable alarm

To unveil you.
With your heavy
Hands, you hold her
Close like an undeserved gift,
Like something that hasn’t been broken.