Antidotes


Gold is not the first word. Gold is not the last word.

the desert dust-fires in autumnal colours; a sky blue sheen, Sahara, a sudden flash oasis or mirage, this is not the number, these are not the colours

no weight, no shape, no clocks in the waves, these are not sand dunes, no, we are not there yet, we are alone, we are not where we are heading, the car is speeding through dreams alive with pixies and clarinets, nightmares, yellow ribbons chocking oak trees

I have never seen the gold coast or its gold when it is a deep stream roaring down the throat of gold sunlit roads, kissing the lips of the orchards in bloom, kissing diamond lined valleys, kissing the young girls in love, kissing their kisses, brides made of paper boats marrying hurricanes

I do not want to hold you I do not want you to hold me

stare at the pavement and disintegrate, as you walk shadows batter your eyelids and the blue veins of a river bubble into your blue veined wrists, walk from the station to the sea, there are often cracks or ghosts walking eyes down, do not look up until your feet are lapped by water, walk out, walk further, walk forever

Florida is open, her petrol will burn us through winter

the stars might crash into stars to make new stars

when I arrive I will be dripping with passages of time, I will taste of America.

a taste that is deafening, a taste that is blue

red and black, but not the numbers and

not the colours

*

I have antidotes for when the clowns collapse with hysterics, or if

we are buried like squares in circles of squares, I have spades, royal cards, I have the answers in lilly-white riddles, mad hatters and jam tarts, I have laughing gas, agent orange, chloroform

evergreen, holy like a hand grenade, the smooth dip of the Granada plains, the cats in the alleyways drunk on champagne, the refrain, there is no refrain, there is danger in the sandcastles built like blemishes on the moon's skin

the empire grows overnight, umbrellas and umbilical cords, parades and parasites, elves chewing paracetamol, salad for new lovers, parrots for old lovers, a willow tree leaning into a lagoon strung with jewels, the wind through the willow whispers a name, it is a name I do not want to hear

when the jewels drop they illuminate the lagoon, in different colours, one by one, lit up like goose fayre Sundays, it is not the Northern lights

it is not soft like when I whispered 'I love you', it is older and broken, a hymn to empty space, fine wines shelved in green bottles, a resolution to move forward, I don't need her

and if I can't stop loving her, I can stop wanting too.

*

Terror: the terror of creating, the terror of the ideas of others, the terror of being alive

Huge clouds swirl over waving cornfields, visions of a lost era, of freedom by beach huts and prayers to the candle light, midnight oysters by the swings, under the stars

I sit alone at night staring into grey distances, which direction does the cigarette point? What direction is the morning?

I wander down roads as they grow older inside me

(a hall of mirrors) (reflects) (a hall of mirrors)

(one day everything will turn back to dust)

'New York was beautiful late summer, by the East River, there were whole acres of light'

'New York will still be beautiful for others'

'I remember when you would arrive home with the sunset on the breath, your lips would let out butterflies, your eyes had something of the autumn evening in their fire'

I've carried all of these words since birth, how else could I speak? Every word is built in the melody of the past, words cannot exist without what has come before, blue songs bitten by rainbow children, come, I know where to find the pots of gold

unfulfilled lovers eating salad by the Seine

the bells of Notre Dame ring, all is not over, the bells will ring again

*

White cherry blossom outlined by a white sky

if we ever married our wedding would not be white

the sun would not shine, the trees would be black and all the children would cry

but it might be better than being alone, only,

to not be alone,

look how the sea comes alive Spring: waves of weeping treacle, glittering indigo, wind chimes chiming by the window, the flames of madness in the meditating mind, spinning zodiac signs, breakfast in Versailles, the palace garden yawning and open, boring after the second time

life begins with water, life ends in a wave, the endless sprawl of the city mapping its decay, ghost towns and abandoned arcades, the loneliness of empty lawns, every blade of grass crying

new moons frightened of old moons

figureheads in lunchboxes, hunchbacks on parkbenches, love songs and bitterness, where will you go when you have boiled your tears?

I walk out the streets to their call, there are no choirs here, the hemisphere ends or begins at Wall Street where I eat soup surrounded by grey, blue, black suits, I am oblivious to my surroundings, I am a world they cannot see into, Manhattan aches with what it wanted to be, not New York

New Amsterdam, the waves breaking against a lost America, the pearls are bled in porcelain, propane, phenol, Walt Whitman wandering away with a shovel, this is the street where Crane met Lorca, they didn't understand each other, this is the street,

where I sat in the park imagining blank clouds, neon light fixed the hole in my head, now I can sleep sunburnt until summer, now I can scatter uranium dipped seeds and drink tears of gold

my cup is for vowels,

the colours I learnt in French, perhaps they are the numbers, for

they gave birth to the colours

*

What do you see when you stare at a gravestone? Do you know this is your future? Does it make it easier, having a destination?

I do not mean to be bleak, I was in the Hospital where he died, in Marseilles, I have a photo, I have no idea where his body is, probably sent back to the North

do you know that in Africa he wrote much more, and of such brilliance, so much better for not being read, only: I have read it as I moved through shades of night

a secret history that saw the desert in autumn's colour, sky blue Sahara, joyriding through constellations, asteroids for chariots, all the moon's white paint waxing in wonder

eighty thousand heart attacks. Brooklyn will dance no longer, Kim Novak Grace Kelly Marilyn Monroe, all ages and ghosts, the velvet screens, the city has changed

the human heart has changed, the direction I gave, to walk naked from Tulsa to the garden state, there the night is heavy and red, there there is a look in your eye

I know what is says: 'forget America, the American dream is an empty shell', lilacs blow and bow in the doorway, and if I disappoint, I apologize, there are thrills

that come as I approach the coastline, there is a tingle in my fingers as I step out on Mulholland Drive, I know about the poems in me, they are antidotes

charms presented to be viewed at your leisure. Alaska, the game is up, I reach the water and it drowns in me, one by one the words disappear. I swim in the ocean, it bursts with new life.

   Charlie Baylis 2015