You want to know my deepest darkest
secret? Don't ask me at a table
of blithe people —
ask me with the walls up around us
and the doors locked.

My deepest darkest secret is
that I am a poet. Therefore
I am allowed no secrets
but to tell them I must make them
into art.

If you could see into my guts
you would find, not daffodils
in Grecian urns, not wet wheelbarrows
of chilly plums,
but the sun, the fusion forcing
the green fuse, juicing up
the portable panels
like the red sound
of a red guitar…

on the good days.
On the bad days you'd find, as black
as burnt bark
or tarmac
or a Melbourne coat
or a habit
or the dead face
of a dead laptop,
the hole
left by the nova,
a naked
enigmatic as fuck,
with Stephen Hawking
and Paul Davies
orbiting it
uncertainly, books
clutched in their hands,
while Louis MacNeice
performs a comic dance,
Bono quotes Bukowski
to anyone who'll listen,
Martha Wainwright
curses her luck,
Ursula Le Guin
dreams of utopia
and Stephen Daedalus
leans on his ashplant,
wreathed in a terrible smile.

My deepest darkest secret is there
in the bridge of the song, the volta
of the poem. I put it there
to keep from it squatting
under my ribcage
giving me hell.

My deepest darkest
secret is that I
think most poems
are crude oil,
most paintings
are coal,
most music
is diesel smoke,
most of us,
as we carry on
with our carbon reactions,
our hot oxidations,
have no idea, are afraid
to find out, are afraid
to behold
how amazingly
beautiful, valuable, diamond-
facet clear, diamond-blade
yet graphite-pencil
we are.

(First published in Regime)