Man who lived under the spiders – John Stokes

From Drowned Haven

Three girls and a boy pass a dark man on a headland:
  Yeah. He lived up here.
Weird when Black Uncle
pressed his face against you,
When that famous girl-girl fancier
 takes your space; when he begins,
you know, when he begins
 to believe in the evolution of himself.

Remember how the Sisters whispered
               he could never go back;
that he evolved without thought out of his ti-tree
 lean-to under the spiders
above the beach, the new city
  flickering across the harbour
          burning his old eyelids
  and passing softly under edgeless dreams…

But he did not survive, he devolved.
      He was simply missed, falling
between the shift of the light
and the strange dark falling.
  Not knowing where he was
(in the white hospital), he was classified
  as an innocent. Not having bred,
he was classified as guilty.

The truth is simpler: he decays
   in the memory. His hide sloughs
into insubstantial passions,
old lies losing their reason,
the voices from the cliffs over the water
   used to be his girl-wind
and now, naked of memory, p.2 of 2
his lush dreaming is ebbing …

      The white quiet is shining
above the beach. The silence
of the waves becomes his last chant.
  And he simply dissolves, at an edge,
an edge of no-one. His passing
   will not be marked by his Makers;
his passing will be marked by a constant,
                                       constant, constant sea.