for Courtney Pine

 

Head held high above

this pirate’s throne

this barren river

of glass beads

and broken mirrors                              here lies the clay pot handed

                  down after a storm

 

Old litanies expire

to inspire the incendiary

melodies of an Atlantic

sea turtle

 

No regrets

home is heaven

carried with ease

and grace to anchor always

near the confluence of rivers

and trade winds

 

Feet firmly flat across

this no-man’s land

the acrobat

with lockjaw and club foot

is surfing in the twilight                       without passport or apology

                                                          in spiral flight

 

The skylark rides

the waves as always

resisting the force

feeding

 

The empire

in-breeding and the vulgar

‘Lawd what a Saturday

night’ feeling to reside above

the borders the boundaries

and the ball and chain

 

Breath bold folding over

the carpet goat-skin

the rocking chair of sorrel

petals shaped for comfort

in the dry season                                 here songs are sealed to furnish

                                                          every room

 

The other stories

must be told

 

Always once upon

a time a journey

 

To where the urge

within must feed

 

And memory is made

from a web of razor grass

 

When speaking in whispers

or whistling the mystery of salt

 

And in corridors where

snow-filled tears have sat

entombed in paraffin fumes

 

There is always in the ebb

and flow

 

There is always a slant

a style a swing

 

Time tall eternal outstretched

the impossible is conquered

calling healing

calling healing

in the eye of the creator                     here the welcome

                  mat in place

                                                         takes a chorus

                 to the bridge

 

 

From Without Passport or Apology (Smokestack Books, 2017)