4 poems by /Tim Murphy

THE GREAT SHIPS

One summer night,

under a radiant horizon,

my voice was born.

It was born like an enraged wind

made of flesh.

This sobbing head, this tender stone —

an open lobe that dawns

like a dolphin.

Your name was a shadow

between two medallions,

your cry of love

was the same as mine.

Now I’m all alone,

talking with your smile.

In front of me, arriving,

the usual certainty.

A hope is going to shove the moon

out to sea.

The great ships are without limits,

like hollow skin and trampled air.

Waves that mean nothing

roll around in the light.

The shoreline is a caress,

suffering without trying.

Happiness,

restrain your sullied foot.


Tim Murphy is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Art Is the Answer (Yavanika Press, 2019) and The Cacti Do Not Move (SurVision Books, 2019). His poems have appeared in Blatt Blað, Frontera, Ink Sweat and Tears, Otoliths, and Snapdragon, among others.  

HIDDEN BOW

While I rise with my dream

from the chest of certainty

that teases my eyes,

I am as quiet as a naked arm.

The bright light

flashing between my teeth

troubles me more severely

than your knocked-down memory.

I kiss you

between the eyelids,

you, the most beautiful of all.

Overhead,

a piano drowns

and you kiss the frozen contraction

of nothing but my hope.

Your lips keep my balance

against the dawn.

Ignore the dead water,

open your recent mouth,

forget your sinking harp.

In this taut paleness

the music of torrential silence

is the shape of two skins.

I do not know

if the sky’s hidden bow

sees what strength

it takes for me

to say a few bright words

to the shining dawn.

Why do you keep insisting

when you know I can’t respond?

I deny everything.

APPLE GRAVES

There is no cure for dreaming

of the open mouths of dying canyons.

It is useless to look

through the shadowy faucets

of magnifying glasses —

even obscure names frighten

the vigilance of the night.

Landscapes full of graves

yield tiny apples

because of a silence

that has no roots

and no tears.

The violent moon spreads fire

over the entire arch of the sky.

Facades of smoke

wait in ambush

for a single corpse.

It does not matter

if we have to journey

where equilibrium loses its way.

INJURED BEACH STAR

The sand says to the cork float,

“I am where the retreating sea

stores up fossils

in a pink vapour.

When you were a child

I crafted standing stones

that flashed out

in all directions.

In the glancing light,

along the dynamited mountain,

every dazzling thing

is reputed to have dried

into the sky.”

And the cork float says to the sand,

“Shapes, with eyes half shut,

stretch out to dismember

the padlocked caves.

Tempest eggs stream out

as if by enchantment.

To rediscover

the immemorial deity’s

castoff limbs

or its spine

of incandescent thorns,

it is necessary

to caress

the dagger’s edge.”

But the shepherd says,

“Memories of childhood,

polished by kelp,

may cajole like a cat within.

The silver bullet,

with its myriad

of closed eyelids,

rebounds

with a dizzying thrill.

Injured beach star!

Upraise yourself

like an effigy

with an electric smile

and cry out obsessively

towards the trees lit from within!”

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