page 2

Chinese Jade (fei cui)                                                                        First Draft                                                                                                  

1 Emperor Quianlong

“Heaven is jade” says The Book of Changes and the Emperor’s brush
is stemmed in apple-green, his ink is mixed
in the glaucous stone, stiff flowers of a brighter shade
illuminate his mourning for beautiful Fuchsan.

He writes poems to the dead Empress
or to fei cui , that rock of miracles, great boulders of which
he orders to be dragged from Burma 3000 miles
knowing immortality is in the Stone of Heaven -
as in the tales of sycophants and priests -
sometimes he  knows only that a corpse   
whose holes are stuffed with jade
stays sweet.

2 Hpankt

In the 1850s, in the Taiping Rebellion, 25 million died
but Quianlong’s dynasty remained - in the Middle Kingdom
both change and no change cost many lives.
In Burma, land of rubies and golden light,
the Chinese continued to strip the green mountains
and in 1860 the British under Gordon raped the Imperial palace,
trampling Heaven’s Stone and silk and porcelain underboot;
the trade of two empires was opium and death.
In the land of gold the jadeite mountains are levelled
but mining goes on in the city of  Hpankt, 500,000 opium addicts,
10,000 whores - the women need the money,
callous unprotected fucking - humans give humans
such pain - perhaps this way of effacing lives
is  a little lovelier than death.

3 The Poet

I have accepted my retirement to the hills  
there is a river at night to sing its own songs
or summon birds by day, migrating cranes
bring me fortune and a lucky wind
offers the scent of mountain flowers.

My poems are brief and in my paintings
empty spaces open out so that  every rhythm
may be clear, you will never see my landscape
if your eyes are fixed, as you will never make sense
of the million million nameless names of death
or the “numberless things” of the Tao.

The wind from the plains is fertile with slaughter.
When I am drunk I fish for the moon,
as elusive as true love;
I have heard emperors too employ the brush
as their empires fall.

The Paintings of Lisa G

Lisa is lying in the meadow she has painted,
eating an apple
- a new canvas begins,

A black unicorn in a moonlit forest,
a white girl sprawls across his belly,
they have outridden every horizon
except the imagination,

Her bright hand weaves
new intimacies
in his midnight mane.

It is all quite simple,
you can hold all this
in your arms and your eyes,
- all the gifts of the sun
all the visions of the moon

There are living temples -
- as real as a dance -
where the icons are
the shapes of love

In the meadow she has painted
Lisa's mouth lazily demolishes
the shibboleths of Eden.

Piaf - The Sparrow

You rose from the dirty street
and we rose with you too it seemed 
above the poverty the broken dreams

You rose from the dirty streets
and nothing was simple nothing was pure 
nothing was easy nothing was sure

And if you love you hurt
and if you soar you fall
- you knew it all

A sparrow sings a sparrow sings
with broken wings
And if you love you hurt

and if you soar you fall
- you knew it all

I am in love I am in your arm
snothing is easy nothing is sur
enothing is simple nothing is pure

Passion courage beauty joy
shake the little sparrow’s frame
you seem to sing my name

I am in heaven when you sing
and sparrow when you sing

There is nothing I regret

In the Valley of Durance

Fall and flow of alpine water breeds
chamois and wolf and pine
citrus and boar
olive and peach
swell of grape and full of wheat
gentle violence
of the flowers of spring

And the bipeds come and go
and the kisses came easily
in the lavender field
as we closed our eyes
to the world,

Though you mentioned the highest peaks
"so bright and pure,
like a congregation of angels"
I think you said.

I ascend the valley alone
high on the mountain I see
among the white signatures of snow
how everything begins again,
where the cold crystal tumbles

And the eye suffers

The beautiful pain of light.


Cost Of The Journey

The raven lays one black feather

on the old woman's chest

- the shaman's drum is softly beating -

no movement in her fallen breast.

The shaman flies her to another world

stars and mountains, seas and ice and blinding sun.

where birds and men and reindeer speak,

where everything begins and ends.

Before the shaman can return to us,

bears and wolves and hawks must tear

the wings and body from his soul

- the shaman's flight begins in fear.

Now the old woman is a girl again

beauty, banter, in those dancing eyes,  

the shaman smiles and cries and screams,

the raven rips the shaman's eyes.

Shaman information from:

Original Touch

The light from the window pretends to be neutral,
but the dreams burst her tissue, flooding apples
and serpent and all the new Garden?  Who cares,
she is out there, dancing on dewblades, intimate at once
with the growing and stretching of light

Over there is Adam, her shadow, but harder and leaner,
one day she will realise how this sunrise has seen 
Desire's first incarnation - mere body
knows body at last  - once there was nothing
but the rumours of God

All of earth's fruit is honeyed with danger;
lips on brown skin, she will only remember
how they made this first day, our first day,
golden and real with their kisses.

Next thing knew i was strapped to the railroad
Locomotive advancing in off-black and white
no way of calling for help  just a locum pianist
heavyhanding me gravewards  this guy's hasn't got rhythm
iI'm just fucking flickering  not twitching with life
Potemkin and Hardy Clara and Charlie
it's just a crazy collage  it repeats
as thin as it gets and sadly unreal

Now i'm digging trenches i'm sniffing the phosgene
o how the kings and the moguls hunted us down
yes it repeats    no it gets worse
heaven drones B52s dresdened and stilettoed wirh fire
not even Fred and Ginger could get a song and a dance
out of our loveless routine - they said the gas smells
as sweet as a meadow I’m made of celluloid and light
and a drifting of smoke - don't fancy your chances -

it will happen again



We had a little marmoset

we called her Bernadette

we fed her beetle legs and easter eggs

washing line and plastic pegs

elbowjuice and axle grease

runner beans and jelly piece

Soup with flies

and soup without

crusty rollas and tangerines

burger kings amd burger queens

armadillos and marshmallows

We had a little marmoset

we haven't help the funeral yet

We thought she was omnivorous

when she came to live

with us.