I Is the River (Meantiming)

You feel it, of course ⸺ the tension
implicit in attention. What it registers
flows
nowhere fingers begin to get a grip on even for an inch.

And if you were the river
streaming forever with no fixed point through the course
of a liquid lifetime
what would you struggle to try and say to yourself
just so the predicament
was that little bit easier to bear? ⸺

Make no object of the current
and by all means let the torrent of “each moment” flood-light you
whole
.


Photograph: Evette Kwok (2020)

Ice-white and Shining

Barely dressed above decency’s minimum
in shorts, socks, runners,
he hugs himself hushed in intense conversation
with an eager next-door neighbour ⸺
his late afternoon jog still flushed crimson on his chest.
As I pass by self-compact on the footpath,
I notice tucked behind one ear like a stray afterthought
one shining ice-white frangipani flower:
how they match, whorl to whorl, in that grainy hour of twilight!
There are gestures ⸺ MICRO-GESTURES ⸺
which complicate so much for the better
all our caricature notions of character,
though with age, the uncatalogued repertoire
shrinks substantially to a few odd edges of the infinite
to haunt us absent-mindedly ⸺
God-sent to challenge timid autobiography.
What we know we know for a fact
definitely deters but does not prohibit
spontaneous occasional ventures into “fiction”:
down in the yard at the bottom of the drive,
across a line of wind-lashed sheets, I glimpse
that play-act; those folds; those shadows;
that make-believe . . .


Photograph: 唐人溪流:模糊黃花 Blurred wattle flowers, Chinaman Creek (2020)

Skirmish

 

Sunflower & Bees LANDSCAPE_21 MAR 2020

I am writing this down, drop by drop, just as it falls from the sky ⸺ a gentle rain, again perhaps the start of a Summer storm.

Faint thunder detonates the distance and growls down mountains, triggering an avalanche of decibels.

Small, unopened sunflowers stare sightless up into the overcast atmosphere, while the heavens’ only sol-bloom shies blind-ed behind dense acres of cloud.

A whole world between words upsets a particle or two here and there of some absolute boundary inscribed in the dust; plummeting water sculpts tear-drop-shaped craters in sand-drifts banked along the road.

Now there is no eagle to stand the sky on end, and no fox to set its dirty orange fire to the gloom.

Suddenly, I am jumped out of my skin: all the fault-lines in my nature are analyzed both with and against the grain by a forked strike of instantaneous X-ray lightning and, almost in the same split-second, thunder deafens (and defines) the length and breadth of my fragile auditory nerves.

Lost in the moment, one large white cockatoo feather twirls ⸺ gloriously ⸺ back to Earth.

 

Photograph: 澳洲唐人溪:向日葵 Sunflowers, Chinaman Creek, Australia (2020)

Muzak at the White Lion, Aldeburgh

Big White Stone_Tung Ping Chau

The muzak, like thick carpet,
soothes the attention — silence,
magnet to all thought’s
discomfort, provokes

only aggravation. Yet for no good reason,
I am jolted out of numbness
by one odd track to the full
sound of music. Suddenly,

from the backdrop, airwaves
submerge my indifference.
I can no longer concentrate
on food, on conversation.

Something fundamental
is rounded up and counted.
Like a beam of shadow
revealed in incense-smoke,

this sketch of melody
is a forgotten note
I can just make out
to myself from birth.

In an accident of fine-tuning,
I am roused and composed
to the life of my sonic twin:
NO-BODY-NEXT-TO-NO-ONE.

 

Photograph: 香港東平洲 Tung Ping Chau, Hong Kong (2016)

Lifelikeness, Autumn

2018-07-12 Moss 4

The moss comes back, grass
comes back
into the rock-hard, sun-burnt earth, as Autumn
tilts us away from warmth,
aligns us
shivering with universal ice. Skies
unlove us. Winds butcher
the butcher blades on knives. And night
shrinks us stiffly in our skins,
reproaches us with outward-looking stars.
Now, futile enthusiasm and all our known know-hows
know nothing
and we hunker down clueless,
forgetting to Summer, forgetting to be
something the season is not. Yes, every season
has its own sense of occasion: this one’s
for mood and melancholy,
for shifting outside ourselves a distance
to peer in at what the light years’ light yearning
cobwebs as consciousness
some call “self” — a broken thing
life can’t like — and that others learn not to call,
to go without, to leave be
till wild first flowers come back at the world
and the grass of feelings we no longer inhabit
grows up its vivid signal in us whole.