Autumn [a character sketch]

[22 October 2019]

And the fire has dwindled down to gently smouldering embers.
He lies back on the dark suede couch in a nest of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap, everything he owns in front of him, spilling out of boxes and forming little piles here and there across the living room.
A car drives by. Light in the window. Tyres crunching lightly on gravel in the dead of night before fading into the distance.
He sees the coffee table: chopsticks and grains of rice, a pizza box, paper plates and used napkins. Two wineglasses with half a pour for each left in the bottle of red.
The sound of the watch on the chair across the room tick tick ticks, a staccato syncopation carving space between the rhythmic breaths beside him.
He reaches out to pour a glass. He stirs behind him in his sleep. He lies back down.
Tick tick tick.
The clouds part, and, for a brief moment, the moon peers in between quiet curtains and basement windowpanes before slipping back behind the curtains and clouds, light playing briefly on wineglass and a plastic fork and the gold on his finger.
An arm reaches out and wraps around him and pulls him closer.
Eyes closed, breathing in sights and sounds and memories and new smells and familiar smells.
Tick tick tick.
ただいま。He says.
おかえり。He says.

St. Hilarion, Cyprus, 371

[21 October 2019]

And so we baptise our longings,
Transform our desires,
Give up from them that which we can no longer ourselves give:
Selves, whole selves, holy selves,
Selves worth saving;
We breathe –
Each word, each moment, stands as a testament to itself:
An icon of abstractions, a temple of fragments,
A shoreline of things consigned to memory
(Or best left forgotten – I tried, once, a long time ago,
But I found it harder to live without them
Than to live with them): A whisper, a word –
Pushing, giving, surrendering,
An aching, deeper into, a coming to taste, to see, to know –
Offering of self to self, asking nothing in return but that
We go back –
Back to the time of sleep and sleeplessness,
To the time of loss and longing,
When the rivers ran white and the sun streamed gold
Drawn from need, drawn from desire,
Drawn from pools and fonts and reservoirs
Old and new as life itself.

夢 / A Dream I Had

[18 October 2019]


I once had a dream.
I had a dream that I was walking on a white line between two mountaintops.
As long as I closed my eyes, I knew it would keep being true.


You saw me, dancing between here and there, weightless, suspended.
You watched from below, me, a tiny speck.


The sun never set below the horizon, it circled me and held me up.
When I felt tired, I lay on the chest of the crescent moon at my side.


It was there that I saw.
I saw the life-blood of the earth and the moon and the sun, the veins that pump and move and flow and push breath from one lung to the next to the next.
I saw the measure of our days weighed out in the palm of my hand.


You grew old watching me and I grew old watching time slip by.
That’s when I woke up.
But surely that’s not all there is to say about that?
Is it?


The Silent Pilgrim

[17 October 2019]

Stay with me a while longer. I hear
you breathe, slow, steady. Trapped in a lazy
bower of arms and wills
intertwined and enmeshed
and indistinguishable from one
another. The headlights from a
car passing through the night shine
through the window, white curtain diffusing
light glow, casting long shadows over your
brow and on your lips – a pilgrim, a silent
sojourner, a wandering priest too wise to peer in the face
of a holy. Your lips part, make room for the
grail and between them I pour
wine, red wine, running down your
throat and down your face and down
your neck and arms and hands and fingers, droplets
pooling on your fingertips and drip drip drip drip
dripping onto the white bedsheets. Stay with
me a while longer. The moon is out tonight. Full,
clean, bright. The light catches in the dark hair
on your head and the dark hair on your
face and the dark hair on the back
of your hands. Illuminates it. I breathe
in, and hear the sound of the
tide rush up against
the moss and the rocky cliffside just outside
your door.

Thoughts, Unremembered, Unsorted, n.d.

[16 October 2019]

Don’t let me forget. Don’t let me tell
the truth slant. Don’t let me say it
was anything other than it was: a

seismic shift, a cavalcade of kinds,
a mingling of mind and
body and soul in the dawn of self-


I watch the ivy climb up the side of the brown brick house on the corner where I liked to watch the sun set. Every year, the ivy climbs up the walls. Every year, it gets beaten down by wind or weather or an over-eager property manager. Every year, it climbs back up, as fresh and alive as the year before.

Don’t laugh at me. I see you
laughing at me. It’s there
in the corner of your eyes. I
see it. Don’t tell me it’s not
there. Why are you laughing
at me? What did I do? I don’t

I heard a story once about two people who died for love. It’s probably not that uncommon of a story. Is it? What would I do for love? What would I do to be in love?

If I say it was a lie, will you learn
to forgive me? Take stock of
where you are and where I
am and where I am in relation
to you. Dusk creeps in around
and among and between us.
One and one looking to
be loved. Seeing myself
in his eyes. Hearing myself in
his voice. Finding myself in his

Thoughts on the Edge of Llyn Cwellyn Just Before All the Lights Go Out

[15 October 2019]

A foghorn rounds out the early twilight. Low, strong,
smooth. A deepness penetrating and permeating and
carrying the lighter blues and greens and pinks and golds.
I hear your voice, smell
your smell,
taste your taste lingering
on the edge of my mind, filling
the space between my
fingers with a strange, lonely
comfort. All that I didn’t see,
all that I forgot from them
till now, all that I didn’t say
building and building and building
and building till the lump in the
back of my throat is so large
I can’t remember how to swallow. I take off my
glove. My hand is cold. I feel the cold
come close and close in and settle down. I hear
the wind and the waves and the sun
weighs heavy down somewhere,
somewhere between the pier and the sky and the day’s last ship bobs on the horizon and gently falls off the side of the world’s

For One Moment, You Shone Like All the Stars

[14 October 2019]

But why, why do you say
that this is all there was, and
nothing more? Your hair,

your skin, your voice pull
something deep and primal out of me,
stir the waters, interlace

your fingers behind my head
and draw me in.

Ocean, tide pulling
_______________ and me towards

Moon, stooped low over
_______________ and sunsets

One day I’ll tell you what it’s like to forget, or at least to be forgotten.

Mad. Mad mixture of men. And marshwater.
You saw it, didn’t you? You saw this.
You see the future with those hard,
gentle eyes spread out
laid out in between my two palms.
I buried you. I feel you move underneath.

Sunsets over the _______________.
Shooting blanks. Fill in the blanks
with whatever seems to make the best story.
You’ve already seen me, crowned and
_______________ under the light of the
heavenly bodies swimming in the ocean
in your eyes and in the palm of your hands.
You can’t forget that easily. The way your
hand felt when you _______________ has
already permeated my skin and become a part of who I am.

Like Hyacinthus, we shed our skin, making room for something new.
Like Hyacinthus, we shed our skins.
Like Hyacinthus, we _______________.

The whole world is contained in the petal of a flower

[4 October 2019]

The whole world is contained
in the petal of a flower – so said a
voice older and wiser than mine; yet
still we push, we strive, we strain, we
stretch to peel back the curtain, to
peer behind the veil (ironically made
empty by comparison and distracted),
our loftiest aims and highest thoughts
remaining nothing more than sifted flour
or shifting sand or silent footfalls
down the old wooden stairway at dark.

There are three states

[3 October 2019]

There are three states, three modes,
Three beings that look not at all related,
Yet grow forth, one from the seed of the next:
Each state offers unto the next something unquantifiable,
But essential to not only their natures,
But to the nature of that which proceeds forth from it:
Impermanence, dissatisfaction, estrangement or dislocation.

Born somewhere in their midst, hung just beneath the surface
(Something I am never quite conscious of, Yet I rely on at every point and in every moment) – A juxtaposition, woken from solipsistic sleep And etched forever on the face of a dusty hillside
Between two olive trees: a timeless moment:

I sleep, I touch your face, I sleep again.


[2 October 2019]

A craving for something
more, a hunger for beauty (consume
or be consumed), a denial of transience,
pinning down the ephemeral, a growing
restlessness, quiet through the
night, an note elongated
a moment too long (I heard
it once, long ago),
a drop in pitch, wavering,
dissonant, suspended, leading
to a change in altitude, a moment
of weakness, a moment of regret,
dissatisfied, an always
searching for that which
is never mine.

Other sketches in this series: