Triple Point

As you draw closer to christmas, perhaps it’s good to post something that fits the time of year. Something depressing. The title is based on the notion of the triple point in physics, the first temperature at which water can exist in solid, liquid or gas.


there is a point
at which friends are neither
necessary, sufficient or useful;
let us call it the triple point
where one is woven in with the background,
stitched to the passage of time.

for example:
I still receive mail for Mr. Daniel Bertrand,
which I place to one side each day,
and which, each day,
the postman places back inside the box
with the gloomy regularity
of a pendulum
My ventures outside become anonymous;
I try not to recognize people or move suddenly
in case they recognize me;
inside, I dart and scurry in hallways lest I get trapped
by a neighbour or lost child.
I have become a rarely-sighted species,
hunting laundry by night and groceries on Wednesday afternoons
the laundry tiger

When one disappears like this
(I think of a chalky white pill dissolving
in a lukewarm glass of water)
it is a gradual process. First
one stops talking to those people who require
effort, those friends who are tiresome in one sense
or another.
Next come those who are far away,
then the unreliable
the circle constricts like the shrinking pill,
the shirts you could wear
when younger
which no longer fit right
you are simply a dot in the centre of an
expanding circle of whiteness
that eventually will average you out

Auden said ‘Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone’
Instead, I remove the battery from my Ikea clock,
accidentally dropping it down the side of the bed in the process;
my telephone cannot be cut off, only cancelled.
Too late, I will receive a large bill for my trouble.
And woven into the fibres of the paper,
so small that even microscopes holding microscopes
could only begin to make out the edges of letters,
are tiny words that reach out and pull me
into a womb of white noise.


Change Time

Changes to come
in metamorphosis we
like butterfly wings
cracking in the sun

coloured letters dry
you folded and cut
these promises into a vernacular
of absence

this empty space
the pictures zoom out
to vanishing point

as before
we must
build up from this invidious vacuum
build power and wire and glass
a monumental distraction


the phone’s half-dampened ringing
formed in rare vibration
moves in pressure
bounces like a toddler
to high empty ceilings
around cold corners
penetrates the covers
but not this blackness
of close fibres around
edged with the coursing red of deep arteries
it is no longer possible
to breathe in this tepid space
the physics of choking
force up with the air bubbles
break the surface
at the mid-Atlantic ridge
that frantic ringing
in frayed sound waves
clutches at a thread
in the lungs of bare velvet


A lot of what I write has hidden meanings in it. I am wondering if this one is too hidden for fear of being all surface no feeling.


Long straight road
Black mamba on the desert
Straggling clouds rise in sweeping curves
Over sand-coloured tracks
The road thins towards the vanishing point
Trickles out to nothing

The eye of the camera swoops overhead
We see a tiny outpost
Corrugated rooves ripple like heatwaves
Warp and weft
The air flows on
Smoothing the stones
Stirring the dust into something
Momentarily like a face

People stop
Sit in the lone cafe
Stare out across the wind
Silenced by the thickness of a window
The plains a shimmering red river

They pay for their meal and go
Their change rings on the table
They never stay
There is no hotel
No empty houses

Forever, here, is just a word

Day 23 – triolet

A triolet is a poem of the form ABaAabAB where A and B are repeated lines and a and A rhyme, as do b and B. I’m sure I could make all that into a poem but I don’t think I shall.

It makes me think of diamond rings

the house all empty and decayed

a lonely voice, abandoned, sings

It makes me think of diamond rings

All falling and precarious things

An eye so pretty, yet dismayed,

It makes me think of diamond rings

the house all empty and decayed

Editing poetry: Road Scholar

I wrote this piece about C’s father, who seems to wander the world according to his own timetable. He once lived in a cave.

with stratified hands
circlets of dirt
echo the blurred
whorls of his fingertips
he smudges the yellowing lignin
breathes as it oxidises
runs a crooked finger
over justified columns
thin colour diagrams
and broad pages
he is blank and wide as
prairie margins
this lonely
road scholar
retells the parable of the scorpion
shoes fading camouflage
with the bitumen
tree roots
cracks in concrete face
unsure which page to read
he stares into blank
like Picasso’s blue family
the moving finger
smoothes the creased pages
with a hard black fingernail
traces the scrawled notes
with empty pen
frail amalgam of feeling
his books are out of date
and the world turns
faster than he can run