Write Poems, Fear Death


It’s getting late, and words
won’t get you anywhere my friend
except for late

so flounder with me here
and with the moon, always the moon
waiting to wane

let me count the hooks
that fix our cheeks to thrashing
in schools like these.

At the breakfast table this morning
reading cereal, I came upon a note
‘in three stanzas or less, complete this phrase:

I write poetry because…’ – ok
pleasure of making and the made thing
to finish and never to finish!

desire to be desperately loved
how emphatically phatic!
also, acute fear of death

ha – as if all this scribbling
of estranged little icons
makes me any less scared!


I’d rather be floundering
out here with you and always the moon
it is beautiful, but

made-up gills are pierced
with real hooks. Look, the moon
is waning

let’s – we can neither
have breakfast together
nor breathe underwater.

O to be dead and eaten
to be only the steam rising from my own guts
to be wholly and utterly caught

(if you want to disappear
you have to learn to do it
so that somebody sees)

or, to lose the hook, wholly and entirely
to be same as ocean
to be full as moon

(if you want to destroy something
the only way to do it
is to make it yourself)


We’ve floundered so long
the moon’s become hidden
by morning becoming

a box, a bowl, a spoon
milk. There is a happiness
possibly breathable

except for these gills –
will you please be the one
to go and get milk?

I’m sorry. I’m no more
sensitive to these things
than you are

or less so. Please
take an ordinary breath with me
before you go.

Write poems, fear death
is a kind of motto. It isn’t new
but it’s all that I can do

to utter it again

Published (as ‘Poem’) in Know Yr Stuff: Poems On Hedonism, available from Tapsalteerie Press.