Tuesday 23 June 2015


I wrote this poem in December 1986, in New York City, though the particular circumstances escape me. That may have been the time I did a reading at The Ear Inn; I'll have to find my old diaries to check. It was published in New York, in a New York poetry magazine called Giants Play Well In The Drizzle, and in December 1987 (in English) in a special jazz issue of Hollands Maandblad, published in den Haag, which remains one of my favourite poetry appearances. Its inspiration was the Jan Garbarek song/album called It's OK To Listen To The Gray Voice, which takes its title, as do all the songs on the record, from lines in poems by Tomas Transtromer. So it's a third-generation inspiration. I was particularly looking to reflect the sheet-like wave of sound David Torn's guitar makes on this album, the only one on which he played with Garbarek.


The bright recurring dream whose wings glow with fire finds
A place behind your hands, moving as they begin to move,
Shadowing every splash of light their flapping reveals.
You are the surface of a mirror that has started
To fragment, a single crack reaching out to all
Four corners of the glass, without disturbing the reflection:
Either you, or me, or parts of each, or either, scarred.

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