CAMERA OBSCURA

HOCKNEY

 

shots of light

mesmerizing the surface of the pool

 

his LA exile

looking like bad photography

 

surfaces bisected

by light and shade and colour

a flat pack world

 

not as you might imagine

unlimited blue water

reflecting the vast sky

 

a static take

on that vibrant splash

 

his real interest

the intersection of that boy

with this water

the way the white bottom bobs

 

CAVAFY

 

the barbarians are still needed

a century on

Xenophobia justifying itself

 

his quest began

looking into the eyes of old men

and ended with the splendidly oiled body

of that remembered youth

a journey without end

as if that were the meaning

Alexandria a way point

to exile   Ithaka an ideal

 

loss and longing

 

(his Fourteen Poems illustrated with

line drawings by Hockney)

BRILLIANCE

water like glass placed over white sand

 

scores of hermit crabs move at your feet

in borrowed shells    soon outgrown

smaller crabs grateful of the hand me down

the way of ideas

 

on the shore   shells flattened and uninhabitable

slowly disintegrating    replenishing this beach

you wander for hours

looking at dross    the dregs

and detritus the sea spits out

avoid the lumps of congealed oil

volatile under your prodding stick

avoid the gaze of mutton bird carcasses

bloated on the high tide mark

avoid their anguished beaks

 

in the haze the beach becomes a concept

you struggle to make sense of how

water and sky intersect    and where

the distance like some unknown future

tapering to an unseen point

sun disorders your senses

that smell of sex and ozone

the way you wish this time would extend

like the best of intimacies

 

footprints in the sand

steps like a crazy dance

to your ambiguous future