Sunday, September 22, 2013

in the heart of the nautilus...


and in a dream
(but perhaps,
 not a dream)

you take me tenderly by the hand...

And you gently lead me
(without leading)

into the entrance

of the spiralling shell
of the nautilus...


we slowly descend
in an ever-decreasing circle,

working our way ever-inward.

The outside world is still visible
but at the same time,

as if by magic,

it has
been left far behind.

Step by careful, deliberate step,
we giggle, filled with

wonder & abandon...

We continue further inward
until at long last 

(minutes, or perhaps
centuries later)

we find ourselves at the centre:

The Heart of the Nautilus!!

There, before us
in the dimming light

lies a large pearl-like rock.

I remove my overcoat,
throw it over
the rock's hard surface...

And we carefully help
each other
climb up on top.

We hold each other for balance.

From my bag
I produce fresh strawberries.

Like naughty children
raiding orchards,
we feast
on our late night dessert.

The redness of the berries
stains our fingertips,
their strong perfume
makes our noses tingle.

Outside, the world continues around us,
possibly hasn't even noticed our absence.

But deep down
inside the depths of the nautilus,
in our own world, anew

we are alone,


filled with reverence.
no longer afraid.

You feed me a strawberry.
I bite into its soft flesh.
My mouth is filled with joy.

I carefully feed you one back.

My ears are filled with the
sounds of our breathing.

I clumsily lean into you,
against you,

so as not to topple
from the stone pearl
we are perched upon.

I touch your soft blonde hair,
I press my nose into
its soft tangles.

It smells of honey & vanilla.

I breathe in deeply,
all of my senses in rapture.

off in the distance
(perhaps from another world),
we can hear a Latin band playing...

In our dream (but perhaps, not a dream)
this all feels so perfect,

so familiar, yet not. But so right.

I am not afraid.
I rest my hand
upon your hand.

I try to kiss you,
but our glasses

get in the way.

If I were to remove them
(yours or mine),
there is nowhere

to safely store them...

I push my head gently
into your hair again,

and this time I press
my strawberry-stained lips
upon your

soft, white neck.

You taste faintly of salt.

It tingles on my
strawberry-stained tongue...


And for the second time tonight,
my mouth is filled with joy.

And your sighs /
they give this blind man

back his eyes.

Braver now

(but strangely, I have been so brave
since the moment we met):

I carefully navigate around your eyewear.

My lips find your lips.
We kiss, gently.

One of my hands is on your neck,
and the other

is tangled in your hair.

All of my worldly cares drop away.
I sigh now, too.
I am giddy. Lightheaded.

You hold me,
stop me from toppling
but I still feel like I have fallen.

I kiss your neck again.
And you, mine.

You sigh, and giggle.

I catch a glimmer
of your nose ring. I touch it,
and you smile,

& we kiss some more.

You sing to me, then
and I shed my skin.

You sing to me, then
and I sense

my life will never
quite be the same ever again.


Nearly a week has passed.
But I wanted you to know

that (since that song)...

I am still down there.

Deep down
in the Heart of the Nautilus.

Where, perhaps
I even shared
your sacred, perfect

Cancerian shell.

You sang to me.
You sang to me.
You sang to me,

and my heart:

  (for the first time
  in such a long time)

...perhaps the first time?

it opened, like a flower.


Faraway, or close /

I still feel her waves
against my coast.

I am lost, yet found
somewhere underground...

deep in the
Heart of the Nautilus.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2013.

"Let me in, unlock the door. I've never felt this way before." (Chris Martin)

"I'm watching the water, watching the coast, suddenly I know what I want the most. And I want to tell you, still I hold back, I need some time to get my life on track. I know that look on your face, but there's something lucky about this place. And there's something good coming for you & me, something good coming, there has to be." (Tom Petty)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

excess baggage (a long overdue sequel)

I just realised today:

My new passport
it was issued, my dear /

on your birthday.

So, every time
I travel somewhere in this world,
by land or by sea;

I will take a
part of you /

with me.

And, if I am asked
at Customs:

"Do I have anything to declare?"

I will answer
with a straight face
and a lighter heart:

"Only the tale
   of a mermaid that got away..."

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2013.

"Sending out an SOS to the world..." (Sting/The Police)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Presence of Wonder (little strips of land)...

And yours; Yours was not the quake I was expecting. But none the less: Your smile & your hand in mine, brief as it was, they shook me to my very soles. You are gone now, but are only really as far away as these clumsy thoughts of mine, they are from thinking. These words, they are my message in a bottle for your shore alone.

And yours, yours were not the fingers I were expecting, I find them more beautiful than you'll ever know: Oh, to feel them tangled in my own again, and to taste that supernova afterglow. If you should feel the earth continue to tremor in your Northern Hemisphere, it is merely my heart learning to breath...

It is merely my heart
learning to make a shape from your absence.

And you have reminded me /
we are little strips of land
surrounded by the sea.
And braille,
it sometimes resembles starlight /
but perhaps (yet again)
I have that the wrong way 'round?
(c) Brent Harpur, 2013.

"Never lose hope, my heart, miracles dwell in the invisible." (Rumi)

"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder." (E.B. White)

(For E & M.)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Believe In Magic...

- For Liz.
(c) Brent M Harpur, 15/6/2013.
"A smile is to humans what sunlight is to flowers." (J.M. Barrie)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

a little magic in king street...

“(What makes this world so hard to see clearly is not its strangeness but its usualness).
Familiarity can blind you too.” (Robert M Persig)
I'm just looking
for a girl that don't mind
that I don't dance so good /
Who am I
to promise her the moon?
I've stopped looking
for someone on this crowded dancefloor
who will
let me lead.
Scientists & doctors
are injecting stars
into my failed
second-hand cornea
while I pretend to sleep.
And for the briefest of moments,
I can see strangers at bus stops
in broad daylight;
offering each other
familiarity and a little magic
in the middle of King Street,
under painted Martin Luther
dream & moon.
Who am I
to offer you the moon?
Mere moments
or a lifetime;
Amongst the chaos & bustle,
we talk like old friends...
Finding salmon pink,
and memories of Mt. Victoria bus tunnels
in a distant, shaky Capital
at the bottom of the world.
I too
left more than a little of my heart
in that tunnel.
Not once,
 but twice.
 (perhaps even three times)
Who am I to offer you the moon?
Instead, I offer you
a tiny jar of Nutella.
You offer me tobacco,
I decline.
I am enchanted.
I close my eyes after you have gone,
picture your last dance
at the doors of a big, blue bus
that came at just the right
magic moment.
Or perhaps, too soon?
Leaving me with a painted
Martin Luther
dream & moon.
Words tumble in my head.
I think of
lemon stained words blazing
on ignited paper.
Art can be smelt & tasted, too.
Perfect for this legally blind artist
to appreciate.
Go out there
Gem Girl,
Girl of Light & Magic!!!
Make your
(no longer of this plane) Nan
& white-furred feline friend
Armed with
only your art & words
and tobacco
(and damn fine smile)
set this earth on fire!!
I too
have left more than a little
of this fierce,
fast beating
artist's heart
in dark
Mt. Victoria bus tunnels.
I even spent my last
three years in Wellington
living in a tiny bedsit
in Scarborough Terrace...
...just two minutes walk away
from that very same tunnel.
For a brief moment,
two artists danced
with words and hearts and heads.
And just for the record,
just before you leapt up
to catch your bus,
I was just about
to lean over
and whisper in your ear:
"When you talk about your art,
   my dear,
   I can smell and taste
   beautiful & pure
   white-light soul..."
I have just survived
a long, twelve hour train-trip
It is morning now.
I am somewhat sleep deprived.
The lightbulb that blew
in my lounge room
the morning I departed for Sydney
is just as I left it.
Yes, the lounge is dark.
But my kitchen
is bathed in pure light!!
I sit here
in my tiny,
sun-drenched kitchen,
birdsong and Autumn whispering
through the
open back door.
I am practising that
beautiful ritual we discussed
of the
first coffee
of the morning...
The mug
warms my fingertips.
I think of you /
somewhere in the big-ness of Sydneytown,
starting your day,
and your
magical morning ritual
of coffee too.
I look at the tiny
sample jar of Nutella
on my kitchen table
and I smile.
And I begin to ponder,
to wonder
where (and whom)
I've left
in this world
my well-worn & read copy of:
"Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
(-for Paloma)
(c) Brent M Harpur, 13 May, 2013.
"Artist! You are a magician: Art is the great miracle!!" (Peladan)
“We’re in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it’s all gone.”
(Robert M Pirsig)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

tiny heart / shell...

while out walking by the sea,
I found a tiny shell on the beach.
I held it up to my ear,
and heard
a tiny heartbeat inside.
And at that beautiful, yet brief
 tender-like-the-tide moment
I realised
it wasn't a shell at all,
but a tiny heart.
Your heart.
And as I held it to my ear,
I heard the sounds of:
tail tangled seahorses riding on waves,
distant satellites chirping & chattering, serenading the stars,
waves laplaplapping on sea-worn hulls,
lighthouses guiding but not assisting,
hermit crabs moving house for the sixteenth time this year.
And I also heard
amongst all these other
sea-like sounds,
(in this tiny heart-shell)...
my heart.
And the sunset tonight
is the brightest, most intense orange
I have ever seen.
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2013.
- For JKH.
"Please / Man ain't supposed to live alone / No that ain't what he needs / He needs to find a home /    With someone else that needs a man / A man that needs a home / Man ain't supposed to live alone."
(Josh Ritter)

Monday, April 22, 2013

coughing up feathers...


Last night,

(in a dream
and with my permission)

you cut me open...

And from out of me poured
 all the world's oceans.

Last night,
you cut me open...

And from out of me slipped
 a silver crescent moon.

Last night,
you cut me open...

And from out of me crawled
 a giant black snake.

Last night,
you cut me open...

And from out of me fluttered
 ten thousand tiny red & blue butterflies.

Last night,
you cut me open...

And from out of me fell
 every single star in the Universe.

Waist deep in sea-water,
I watched as the snake
writhed & weaved 
& basked
in the salt-liquid & stars.

They stuck to its scales,
in the gentle light
of the crescent moon.

And the butterflies,
they all flew skyward,
blended quickly into
a giddy, heady blur of purple.

Some of the
lesser fortunate ones
got stuck
in tiny holes
where stars once were.

as usual for me in a dream...

I had perfect vision.


Since that dream,
colours and shapes have
changed a little

in my slightly expanded universe.

Some familiar faces & names too.

And I've been trying of late
to speak your name,

I try:

I just seem to
 cough up feathers!!

There's some black ones in there
(from a crow, I think,
or maybe a magpie?).

And some orange/yellow ones too,
perhaps from a canary?

There's even a couple of
blue butterfly wings hiding in there
amongst the feathers.

I was thinking of scooping them all up,
and making something useful
out of them...

I thought I could
sew or weave them all together

into a blanket
or a parachute
or maybe even a big pair of wings?

because I am now awake,
and no longer dreaming

my sight's not the best.

And I have
way too much
male pride & stubborness
to admit...

Even to you - especially to you!!

That I might
a little help

threading the needle.

So, instead,
I'll just keep trying
to say your name
a little bit longer.

And coughing up
 these beautiful (but useless) feathers...


It has been a while now.
A helpful (yet unhelpful) friend
has suggested

that if these symptons persist,
I really ought to see a doctor.

Or, at the very least,
in a shallow attempt to make some money
from this strange ailment,

that I should consider
opening a mattress & pillow factory.

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2013.

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul /
 and sings the tunes without the words / and never stops at all."
 (Emily Dickinson)

"Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time." (Jean Paul)

"Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers or wings,
 it is, for that reason, to be of no account?" (Jean Paul)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

artist's statement (fire and water)

You love someone else.
Perhaps I do,
But maybe this is
still a good thing
to celebrate?
Like fire and water,
there is something
more ancient, more primal
than merely the heart.
I felt it the very first time we met,
and we weaved & moved
around each other,
and when the drumming finally finished
you gently touched my hair.
You started a small fire that night.
I am not the same man I was then.
And you are not the same woman.
We have changed,
yet we remain
the same.
What was it your chart said?
A year of change...
Fire and water,
water and fire.
I have shed my skin again,
but I have learnt many things
in the last year.
Your smile is still
one of the most beautiful things
I have ever seen,
but I would love to see your tears, too.
I lay claim to being many things,
but never, ever a saint /
I do most of my painting (these days)
with words, not paint.
Things, last year,
they got a little messy,
didn't quite go as planned /
But I'm hoping
if you saw the bigger picture,
you might begin to understand.
This is a heady mix
of lust & longing on my palette,
on a sable brush /
If I were to tell you
what I long to do tonight,
your canvas
would surely shiver,
ignite in fire & blush!
We could talk (my dear)
of love
in pastel shades,
and yet! /
Tonight, of nights
alone with you,
I long to paint you
Fire and water,
water and fire...
The sun, it may yet rise
in those eyes,
but let me be /
The swollen,
pale, fullest of moon
that sinks into your sea...
These are not words,
they are my artist's statement /
They are written on your skin
in starlight & honey,
so profane,
yet so sacred.
You reached over,
& touched my hair again today.
It was all so brief.
I wished for it
 to stay there just a little longer.
Water and fire, fire and water.
It has been
some time
has set
 this watersign on fire.
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2013.
"There are some days that I feel I may die from an overdose of satisfaction." (Salvador Dali)