Monday, July 13, 2015

Inner Tattoos...

I had coffee & dessert
with my dear friend Laurice.
We hadn't caught up since
my 30th Birthday party
(back in 1998).

I told her about my recent
experience of mutual love.
She (unlike so many other
               so-called friends)
got it.

because we have known
each other for so long?
Or perhaps
because she is another poet?
Or that she has three daughters???

We agreed that over time
the brain forgets,
but not the heart
A tiny layer of scar tissue
might help with the healing.

But what the brain forgets,
we shall write it down! Capture it!!
And through
the act of writing down
(what us writers do)...

...We shall not forget.

And at that point
(not that my memory should be trusted)
Laurice quoted Buddha to me.
Or perhaps it was from Laurice?
They're (both)
much older & wiser
than I...

"Everything is already over
  as soon as it begins."

It made me feel a little better.
The chocolate mousse helped, too. 
Actually, it helped
a lot.


not that long ago:
I looked forward to sleeping...
...So I could (perhaps, if I were lucky enough)
see you again
in my dreams.

Now, I would gladly settle
for one full night
of uninterrupted sleep. 

Exhaustion & fatigue are setting in,
starting to take their toll.

You're out of sight, out of frame /
but I have a feeling you still hear my voice
when I whisper your name.

Did you know (or even care)
that when you drew your secret / sacred logo
on my chest (in Sharpie),
it would seep through chest & skin:
Stain my heart forever?

And from time to time /
do you still feel the tiny butterfly that I sketched
on the base of your perfect spine??

We were more than just lovers,
we were two lovers of words /
When I close my eyes to dream now,
they're filled with tattoos of birds.

My heart it was always on my sleeve,
but since that third morning when we kissed /
I'm seriously considering
having it tattooed upon my wrist.

"Everything is already over
  as soon as it begins."

And do I really need to remind you
that I never planned any of this /
From the lowest of lows
to the sweetest tasting bliss?

No. More. Secrets.
Your books are in the mail.
And some drawings for your nieces & nephew,
because I am a man of my word.

For what it is worth:
It really meant the world to me
that you noticed the new feather in my hat.

Hit pause and rewind / God,
I miss your mind!

it's so much harder to hide /
the tattoos we all wear
on the inside. 

Yes! Sometimes,
my friend
it's so much
harder to hide /

the tattoos we wear


(c) Brent Harpur 2015. 

"The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart." (Buddha)

"And pipes, they may break & milk may go sour / I'm still waking with aches in early morning hours." (Grant McLennan)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Trust, part seven...

And in the eyes
of every other woman I've met
I have seen /

The man I never was
or could have been.

But in your eyes
reflected back I see /

The good man I chose
and am proud to be.

(c) Brent Harpur, 17/5/2015.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

heart glacier / a little under the weather...

I have been feeling
a little unwell
of late,

a little under the weather.

Nothing serious.
I've just had a little trouble sleeping.
And I have noticed a slight loss of appetite.

I thought I had better check it out.
I recently made someone a promise
that I would take care of myself.
And I am trying. 

I really am.

So I made an appointment with the doctor.
He asked me some questions. He ran some tests.
The results have just come back.

I am sitting in his office.
There is a colourful printout
on the lightbox in front of me.

It would appear that I...
How can I say this?

I appear to have a

tiny glacier

growing on
one of the valves
of my heart.

Only a small one, mind.
Nothing too serious.
Well, not yet.

"How did it get there?" I ask.

The doctor asks
"Have you recently visited any places
where glaciers are common?"

I tell him that
I went home to New Zealand for Xmas.

He nods, mumbles something
about how I might have picked it up there.

Or perhaps,
I have always had it.
Since birth.

"Are they contagious?" I ask.
"Could I have picked it up from someone else?"

"Unlikely." he says.

"But they are common with creatives,
people in your line of work."

I glance up at the lightbox. 
I see my heart,
not quite the shape I expected.

And on its surface,
about the size
of a ten cent piece,

I see the tiny glacier.

It is quite beautiful to look at.
From different angles
it resembles a
sometimes even a
dragonfly's wing.

Or is it a damselfly?

if I squint my eye
up at the lightbox,

all four at once.

I put my hand on my chest,
try to feel it
underneath my skin.

I can feel a slight hint
of coolness there...

But it may be just
my overactive imagination.
Or a slight hypochrondria?

Taking a deep breath,
I ask:

"Is it serious?"

The doctor leans back in his leather chair,
slowly removes his glasses,
looks at me sternly.

"No, but..."

He reaches into the
top drawer of his desk,

fumbles for something
without looking away from me.

"...they can do
a little damage
if they are allowed
to get bigger.
Or to move arou..."

I interrupt him.
"Can they be removed?"

"We have found
this to be a risky procedure.
Sometimes, it's far better
managing the symptons,
learning to live with it there."

My mouth is dry.
I am trembling.

"Have you recently experienced
a tremendous amount of joy?"

the doctor asks.

"Yes. I have." I answer.
"A little more than usual."

He smiles.
"And trust?
Perhaps even...

"Yes." I answer,
with a slight smile.

"Good." he says,
smiling back.
"This will help with your condition."

He produces a prescription pad
from the drawer.
On it he scribbles,
speaking aloud as he does so:

"Take mentally
one fond memory
of a time spent recently with a
significant & like-minded other.
Preferably a fellow-creative.
A memory that
or captures joy.

These should 
be dwelt upon twice daily.
Once in the morning,
with breakfast.
And again, at night.
Just before bed."

I get up, thank him.
As I turn to leave, he says:

One last thing, young man.
I think it would help alot
if you wrote
these memories down.
Immortalise them.
So as not to forget them."

Two weeks have passed.
I have been doing
as my doctor prescribed.

I have noticed
a slight improvement in my
general well-being
& under-the-weatherness...

In the last fourteen days,
these are the memories
from recent months
that I have reflected upon,
taken mentally, written down.
Twice a day.

The ones that have
produced or captured joy...

(in no particular order...)

(please read them in your head
in a Kiwi accent.)

1. My first ever (long overdue, legally-blind) car-driving lesson in the desert.

2. Walking down the street, arm-in-arm, talking like the oldest of friends (within an hour of meeting) and showing you a sunflower growing in the street.

3. Visiting the penguins at St.Kilda beach & the perfect full-moon reflected on the water on the brisk walk back to the tram.

4. A first kiss on the steps of Parliament / Hogwarts, as we huddled together in the cold, amongst the giant doors and columns.

5. Mutual face muscle and cheekbone aches for Ten. Whole. Days. Echoing to each other: "You make me so happy!" and meaning it. For every one of those ten days. Bliss.

6. The first time we held hands. And how it felt so damn right. Missing pieces.

7. Parting at Melbourne Airport. You having to go through security for a second time, really upsetting the guard, because we just had to touch again... One last time!!

8. Sitting opposite you in Olio cafe for the first time, talking, struggling to be heard (and to hear you) over a very over-zealous musician. But hanging onto every precious word we shared. And Sam (bless him) treating us like a Queen and King, even though he just wanted to close up and go home to watch the soccer.

9. Seeing the lizards & insects on your birthday. Feeling like a fellow scientist. Feeling intelligent when we talked about all things science. Re-discovering a secret and much loved subject close to my heart.

10. Dingoes outside our tent. Surprising you with your chocolate-brownie, complete with double-chocolate fudge sauce & cranberries - the most unhealthy birthday breakfast ever!! And later, blowing bubbles in your milkshake.

11. Watching your special "23" candles implode within seconds (after being in a hot car in the desert for nearly a week).

12. Telling you I wanted to "take you home and curl up and read poetry with you all night". And meaning it. And you trusting me. And us doing just that. And being so proud of myself that I was a man of my word.

13. Feeling goosebumps in my inner-thighs every time you read me your poetry. Even on the phone.

14. Reading to me "Oh, the Places You Will Go!" and it sounding so perfect in your gorgeous accent.

15.The first time my tongue found your...... Kissing you straight afterwards! OMG! And having to re-learn how to kiss with a moustache. It had been a very long time since facial hair had been a factor.
16. Lying under the incredible milkyway (on the boot of the car) & seeing our first shooting star. My eyesight was so good in the desert. Maybe it was just the company?

17. Skinny dipping in the waterhole together (my first time) - Exhilirating!! And how we had the entire place to ourselves... Holding you in the water, my head on your shoulder. How can one's body feel so cold and so warm at the same time? Never wanting that moment to end.

18. Cooking together, our second night, after moving you in for ten days. And the wonderful picnic we shared on my porch steps. Being amazed at how comfortable I felt seeing your "shit" (stuff) everywhere, especially your family photos & clothes. Hearing you sing in my shower would make me grin from ear to ear.

19. Seeing you in your brand-new birthday dress for the first time. When I eventually go blind again, this will be the memory on constant repeat in my head. It will keep me smiling and hopefully keep me from madness.

20. Taking you to meet my 90-year old friend Maggie. And her being so kind to us as we left. So unusual for her.

21. Damien Rice. Our song. God - those strings rip your heart out!! And the line with "blind" in it being so damn perfect.

22. Our first day in bed together. And how damn fine that Kiwi ice-cream tasted afterwards.
Peter Gabriel, you have never sounded so wonderful singing that song Lou wrote for Laurie. Two crazy poets. Say no more. I was really worried the "Monday God" would smite us for such a perfect day. Every start to the working week should be like this.

23. A random busker in the street noting "how in love these two are", going back to share some Beatles with him. "Hey! You've got to hide your love away!!" 

24. Discovering your bird tattoo for the first time... Gently tracing its lines with my fingertips and watching tiny goosebumps appear all over your back.

25. Nuzzling at your pubic hair with my lips & teeth.

26. Being so completely intoxicated by your smell every morning in those first ten days.Waking up next to that one in a billion smile.

27. Seeing God in each others faces.

28. You touching me on my arm for the first time at the Dan, telling me:
"Don't disappear." The best two words of advice I have ever been given in my life.

I am very lucky.
And blessed.

That in such a short time,
one beautiful soul
could come into my life
and share with me so, so many
wonderful moments.

And there are so, so, so many more.
This is not even the
tip of the heart-glacier...

Sitting at my kitchen table,
I close my eyes,
and try to visualise
the little glacier
there in my heart.

In my mind's eye
I see it surrounded by a
slight orange-yellow glow.

I smile,
cry a tiny, happy/sad tear.
Feeling the tear on my fingertip,
it is cool to the touch.

Part of my heart-glacier, perhaps?

I realise
that orange-yellow glow is:

And pure,
and tremendous...


(or should that be Heart-Glacier-note?
 Written that first weekend after we parted,
 for a second time...)


This glacier in my heart,
it transformed

into a beautiful (yet obscured)

blood-moon /

This is my silent wish / prayer for you,

That the glacier in your heart,

it melts into a deep & warm

(c) Brent Harpur, 2015.

- To Meremere,
for showing me the matching glacier in your heart.

You have changed my life. I will never forget you. Please don't disappear. For, wherever you are in this world...My world is a better place for having you in it. Kia Kaha!

"Wherever you are, know that I adore you," (Damien Rice)

"I don't want to change you, I don't want to change you,
  I don't want to change your mind.
  I just came across a manger
  Where there is no danger
  Where love has eyes and is not blind."
(Damien Rice)

PS: For anyone that is interested...
The glacier photos on this poetry post were stolen from the net - sorry!! If they were stolen from you, I am very happy to credit you, please don't sue me... They are photos of Fox Glacier, in Aotearoa* New Zealand - the most beautiful country on the entire planet!!! But don't take my word for it. Go and visit it for yourself... Better yet, let me show it to you one day.
Kia ora

*Aotearoa is the NZ Maori name for New Zealand. It means: "The Land of the Long White Cloud."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

a code that is meant for you & I alone, even during an absence of penguins...

I will always 
be thankful
that when I arrived (unannounced)
to say goodbye,

you took it very well.

I had come such a long way,
and all my female posse agreed
that I should surprise you.

I hated myself for the
white lies I had to tell to achieve this...

I am glad you liked the teeshirt.

Please never forget
what it says,
on both
the front & the back.

And it was worth all those hours of 
public-transport endurance
for the memory of 
sitting together
on the top of the red 'City-Hopper'.

I love being by water with you:
It is where we have had some
wonderful times.

Even when there are no penguins.

My little cards in the State Library:
Surrender, simplicity, love.

And for that other memory
that will always
make me smile...

The briefest of moments in a bar:

(after some of the best
 wings, blue-cheese sauce
 & American dark ale in the Universe):

When you boldly took
this fellow-introvert by the hand
and led me through a
parting slow-motion red sea 

of alcohol,
& Economics students.

In that particular
fleeting moment,
I felt we were right back in our
very own movie again.

And I personally feel
that even the
crappier scenes of the last two days
should remain
in the Director's Cut.

I remember now
my friend Rosza & I agreeing,
over coffee
(and before my 2.5 day marathon
 of public transport):

"Two hundred dollars can
  buy you a lot of groceries,
  but it can also buy you

  a good* good-bye."

(c) Brent Harpur, 2015.

* well, mostly.

"I don't want to change you, I don't want to change you, I don't want to change your mind." (Damien Rice) 

"You cannot save people, you can only love them." (Anais Nin)

Monday, May 18, 2015

a permanent state of Spring // for tree & bird

Little bird, how can it be
you fit so comfortably in the branches
of this old tree?

I've waited here so long
for someone to come & offer me
such a familiar song.

Winter puffs and blows,
its icy bite threatens to sting;
but with you here in this tree
I'm blessed by a permanent state of Spring!!

Hear my leaves hiss in the breeze,
& your birdsong speaking my secret,
sacred language of trees.

Your song, your plumage
is like no other I've ever heard or seen.
While you're near these leaves,
I'll always try to shelter you,

No other feathered creatures'
fine advances
have felt like your feet upon these branches.

And it's true, I cannot offer
the freedom of von blue skies,
but I think we're of a kindred nature:
You and I.

Always know, when you're
needing to hide from the storm:
these leaves & branches of mine
will (try) to keep you warm.

I wake this morning
to find an empty roost, a couple of feathers,
you've flown again too soon /

But later this evening
I delight to find you've left (just for me),
tangled here in my branches...

...a full & yellow moon.

(c) Brent Harpur, 2015.

“We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, me and you.” (Sylvia Plath)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

childhood slowly returning // varying ghosts...

Late at night:

If you press your forehead
hard against the cool car window glass,
you can feel
the stars' slight fever-fire,
crackle & sparkle,
gently burning.

But all the houses & streetlamps
are a little too bright
to notice the
constellations & planets
slowly twisting,
unfurling, churning.

But by dawn's
first early purple light,
you will bear witness to the finest
of Venus' miracles,

And your innocence,
magic and
(reflected in her
 soul, body, shower song
 and eyes):

Are slowly, surely


I curse
these ghosts
that still haunt
my sheets
and bed,

my dreams, too.

But I really miss
the ghost
that used to sing loudly 
in my shower...

And leave all her
wonderful shit
& family photographs
strewn about my
living space & bedroom. 

(c) Brent Harpur, 2015.

"Love me two times, then go away!!" (Jim Morrison, The Doors.)

“A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eighth of a second." (Salman Rushdie)