The words don’t come. The page intensifies in its whiteness
Like a freshly laundered moon, and I resent its purity.
The pen is obsolete, a poetical firearm with a critical
Shortfall of ammunition. Perhaps a sharp jab through the
To allow the words to tumble out, or filter in.
The blood may at least stain forever the bleached
Sheet that scourges me, flays me with stark evidence
Of nothing. Nothing! It might even coagulate
In such a way that it creates a verbal universe
Within my evacuated mind. It disturbs me
To think I’m relying on the soul-blot of Rorschach.
The days, the planets, slide past.
Time has tiptoed away to a distant flaring sun
Fuelling a world of linguistic motion,
A place I despise at this infinity of now,
Where all thought’s directed toward the paper,
That milky rectangle, but the words don’t come
And my frantic hands, at last artistic,
Start to assemble an aeroplane.
The Piano Man
Black and white is too severe sans ascending gradation:
Fingers dance a rolling jig, spin a magical sensation:
A language alive in the digits alone speaking a sonorous tongue,
The music he conjures are songs never written, but songs that
can always be sung.
For the words we seek are form poor communications,
Verbal trash can’t replicate Antiquity’s vibrations—
Hammers fall on tense strings; springy smiles in the hospital room;
Twinkling chimes, repeating rhymes bardiche through amnesiac gloom.
Before the rings round Saturn scarred the universal calm,
An infinite thing, if ever there was, held sway on an infinite arm’?
Before “Let there be light,”and the paths that afterwards were trod
The darkness whispered savagely, “If you must, let there be God”.
Tom Jayston © 2010
These poems are excerpted from Tom Jayston's new collection
Reverie and Rude Awakenings (Creative Future, 2010)
A Losing Game
Melting into a mattress composed more
Of corpuscles, platelets, urea and sweat
Than fabric, stuffing and springs, I swat
The switch that kills the light.
A comfortable, blinding gloom settles
Over my coffin. I am alive.
The image that always drifts through my
Death-cluttered mindbox is laughable in
Its irony: with nothing worth anything
Around or in me, I dream of winning
The lottery—not of what I’d do
With the money, but with the feeling
Of winning. I’m still alive, dying of sadness.
You knelt upon the cushioned grass and
Prepared yourself for prayer;
Larks hung, dipped and fell, and in those
Avian missiles a deity revealed.
Pursing your lips to breathe in their wisdom,
An unending thought of embarrassment
For you addressed your own knowledge
But called it ‘God’
And the larks pitched, banked and rolled and you knew
The betrayal was not total.
Tom Jayston © 2010