Edificio de Luz, Andalusia

there were no imaginings of the sunset

as fiery abyss

nor its afterglow

deathly pale:

 

to enter

the edificio de luz

where endless day shines,

Dante says

 

Los Apartamentos de Pez Espace

the 8-storey stairwell of concave glass

changing colour by night

becoming a rainbow tower:

and the body is cleansed


 

hail the new day

giving emotional strength

psyche floats off to orchid clusters

where petals are flames that do not burn  

 

street tiles are cracked crockery

mystical-white


 

palm fronds are hair drying

sun umbrellas like woven mats

with a wispy border for combing

 

lemons are moon yellow

the limes sweat in green absinthe


 

go slow my poem, I only dictate so fast

 

climbing up to Iglesia de San Miguel (XVIII)

the narrow zig-zag street

of souvenir shops  

and a derelict casa

with black-paint graffiti:

 

nada te turbe, nada te espante

todo se pasa,

 

 

II

no clouds, sea of sky

sky of sea

 

the terrazzo high in Mijas

by the Ermita de la Virgin

de la Peña

 

the cave oratory

where the shepherds found peace

in a glimpse of their lady goddess  

 

fresh bread breaks into feathers

wine takes you to the slopes

that grew the grapes

 

the garlic melting on anchovies

 

the drunken senses rule    


 

III

 

room 510 Hotel Tropicano


 

a tree curving in a parabola

away from our fenced balcony of thatch

 

rock-sparrows perch on the railing

and whistle

without losing their nerve

 

 

and once the harlequin’s tangerine moon

drew back the curtain of night

from the whispering ocean

 

yr dress hemmed in stars

stars sprinkled between yr breasts


 

—and always high noon

the palms are leafy vertebrate

like fans along the coastline


 

in seven centuries

the waters receded

from the Alcazaba, Gibralfaro

 

the crenulated arches

sleek pillars branching upwards

in stone

 

the walls  

with braids of script encrusted in sacred text

near the patio de los naranjos

 

oasis of pleasure above Malaga blue

 

and cultures collide

 

the epic journey through the past

for better for worse

good and evil

 

windmills of Castille are tattered sails  

but the million drops

moved the Moors’ mill wheels

of stone in towers, steadily

 

each grain-seed marked by Allah  


 

their freckled yeast bread  

sliced square

like scroll pages

of the Quran

 

the central downflow channel  

cut into the middle

of each step

for gathering water

 

all growth is trimmed, ornate, symmetrical

 

their garden of Eden

Jannah

 

fountains dripping like birdsong

cicadas flying above snakes

 

until 1492


 

IV

through train-tunnels

and then El Chorro’s gorged rockfaces

 

shelf-walkways of backpackers

 

olive groves slope to the sky

lime soil, red earth

in sight for miles

 

goats shuffle upland

along a field

of no grass  

 

Ronda in the afternoon heat

narrow streets to wide streets to the great cleft

 

the haze boiling mist:

 

here the unknown is gentle

 

the river drying out far below

the high rock formations are cliffs

 

overlooking landscape carpeted to the horizon


 

air

warm on the tongue

iced water

a sword swallowed with delight    

 

IV

I am living a dream with you, not awake to any nightmare

 

life is wheeling

no sound of dissolution

 

skyline painted from your eyes

yr naked feet along the hot sands  


 

the backdrop of 72 sea-nymphs walking the seashore

above their sandgrains

 

thru sunglasses their breasts are lemon

green stemmed nipples

the ebb and flow of womankind

 

I can believe everything, the houri women in paradise

 

the deep blue sea is creating plumes

bubbles

 

and flowing, flooding

 

sandy edges with moving windows of ice

and watery lace along the bay


 

I want to hear your voice up to my neck

amidst the sea symphony

the salt glue soup

 

I watch you drenched, swimming, shocked in the waves

smiling before you re-immerse

inside the wholeness of water that flexes, remains intact

 

your eyes I will always see, anyway


 

it is torrid and tropical

dining

beside the blue bulbous swimming-pool

 

brim full

outlined like a zebra of sungold stripes

 

 

the bamboo decor

merges with your plate

green beans, peppers, saffron rice, sword fish, mussels

 

wine glasses seem to vibrate

you are the flaming wet colour of sunlight


rhapsody in blue for my brother

—There is infinite repair with the lady of the golden hair

who is sitting by the window in her reclining chair

 

above the river where the wine dark waters flow

without her I gutter in spirit, and life goes into woe

 

reflected as a snapshot in time, I sing the blues for you

Desmond, trying to make grief rhyme

 

reflected in every shop window

like torn clothes upon a clothes-line

 

the tide is out, the evening russet, the waves and corrugated sand

she told me: this is the same as seen in the veins of every hand

 

lucky to mourn in her house where blossoms are more than a dozen

I remember what you’d asked for—a bunch of red roses you’d chosen:

 

foretelling some years ago. Last night, I saw the cyclical-trillions individual

humanity in flower distinct, separated, isolated, residual

 

pluck a dozen from outside the window: bring your brother these roses!

she said, so I plucked two budding brother-roses on one stem, and bought another ten.

 

—After the weeks and months of chemo-crucifixion

you had a few jokes thru such affliction

 

beyond labyrinths of memory, time spools with singular speed

childhood photographs replenish my plaintive need    

 

you wore a logo T-shirt, floating on a sea of morphine

your hand already dying, the summer in full sunshine

 

day later I tried to sing along the Foyle’s Westside

listening for Dylan’s Watching the River Flow upon the tide

 

so I offered you to the earth and to the sky

to the immensity you know, to the highest of the high

 

I stalked into a church that softly wailed coincidentally

to Soul of my Saviour (you’d have said) sentimentally

 

remembering brings extortion in arrears of tears

my lighting candle (among many) in the holder made of brass

 

some fading lilies adorned the catafalque of Jesus

and the stone banner proclaimed ego sum resurrectio et vita.

 

—When did you sip from a glass, and tell me about your gesture

(it must resurrect me) your body donated to medical research

 

no religious funeral, or the pomp and piety of a church

except for a ceremonial testimonial memorial

 

I shall keep you near, nor is there anything I fear

for you free at last, the battle won in death, the past clear

 

I put some background music on

Prelude in E-minor op. 28 no. 4 (Chopin)

 

we march towards the fight in which we lose our life

sorrow hearing your name, seeing your daughter and your wife

 

I drove past road-kill carrion, traffic skimmed by out of habit

a dog, a cat, a badger, a blackbird, and even a rabbit

 

too late for the taxidermist these remnants that remain

today all questions startle, I am trying to explain

  

do we form these roots for a few seasons amidst the joy and pain

in order to lose everything through this consummation again

 

the lovers kiss and dissolve within each other’s presence

within close reach of their original quintessence

 

the thistledown, the skeleton leaf, spiders, cobwebs, dust

the planets dance like Mars, the sunshine looks like rust

 

I meditate on sand: the equivalent amount of your body weight

letting it fall through the air—when we’re humane, our love is great

 

so grief is for the living, and the dead see how they go

O bury me down in the deeps of Dante, Whitman, Lama Gyatso

 

the ways of impermanence lead to the bar counters of heaven

angels serve the liquor there a long time after eleven

 

I tried to hide behind sunglasses, my voice was broken and low

but still I need to sing for you, I want to sing again for you, bro.


The Office on Serious Street

1.

Once upon a see-saw moving high and low

outside the office on serious street

the child is staring at a rainbow

 

bars on the windows, the bank-safe is locked  

it looks like a steam engine with a ship’s wheel

the red burglar alarms are primed and cocked   

 

a story-book hand points on the wall

the doors with gleaming glass are locked

it is cold near the brass handles in the hall

 

here come policemen with their guns

across the chessboard tiles

and out the door the child runs

 

crammed into school among the horde

the teacher’s music is a bunch of keys

how many slates make up the blackboard

 

3.

his mother returns from Gamage’s

after coffee with the ladies. String

is tied around parcels for everything

 

the kitchen is a shop inside a museum

a jam factory and a food factory

a playhouse, a bakery, and a party  

 

his father is talking on the big black phone

and smoking. The golden letters

on the door can spell his name

 

the mahogony desk, the ink-wells

like eggshells, pens: red, green and black

the blotting paper is a map

 

with a leather triangle at each corner.

In rolls the starched-white paper

and oily carbon, the sound of the high-backed

 

typewriter—keys are pressed like gunshots

they echo through the ticking clocks

here is the mail van in circus red

 

here is candy from the seaside red

here is red ceiling wax that melts and burns

 

4.  

Out in the yard, evening glints with lights

in jagged glass, the high wall has such teeth―

cheque-book stubs and a match ignites

 

in the rusty barrel that stinks of petrol

a genie quivers in the smoke and flame

the child sees apples on every tree

 

the Carrig-a-Rede is a hammock across the sea

his brother and sister know Hantsel and Grettle

and the little match girl goes to heaven

 

Humpty Dumpty falls down laughing

hit by a snowball made of icing sugar

the office is high on serious street

 

half-frosted glass on three windows

the name in look-through letters

childhood is a pop-up book

 

it is a public park falling into a time-tunnel   

as the carousel takes you around and around  

look at this pop-up book of the town

 

an old man with a white beard

wears a red dressing gown

a tall tree in front of the Central Hotel

 

is growing coloured lightbulbs

for Christmas and all shall be well

through the smoke the genii swells

 

from the chimney pots on the roof.

‘Stop your dreaming,’ say the church bells

a silver crown all angels wear

 

the office on serious street flashes in lightning

and what disturbs you in the night

and why were you born according to fate

 

in the six sectarian counties of hate

the Giant’s Causeway toy is flung away

the brown hexagonal coins are falling

 

the rain is always falling

it comes with thunder and is frightening

the magical tree is taken away


Kevin Kiely (Selected Publications): Quintesse St Martin’s Press, New York 1985; Mere Mortals Poolbeg/Odell & Adair 1989; Plainchant for a Sundering (poem-sequence) Lapwing, Belfast 2001; A Horse Called El Dorado O’Brien Press, 2005 Bisto Award; Breakfast with Sylvia Lagan Press, Belfast 2006 awarded the Patrick Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. US Edition 2007; The Welkinn Complex Number One Son, Florida, FL., 2011. wwwkevinkiely.net