Mark Tarren is a poet and writer who lives on remote Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.
His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including The New Verse News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press, Spillwords Press, Tuck Magazine and Impspired Magazine. He is currently working on a collection of poetry and a novel.
Write as if You Were Dying
Write as if you were dying as if the curve of her cheek would stop you from leaving as if her lashes were the last leaves of your life. Write as if you were dying as if one strand of her hair brought all the worlds water to fill your next morning, as if all the ashes of her words were birdsong. Write as if you were dying as if the darkling that you hold was lost in the twirl of her dress as if all the last days of your regret were kissed away in the summer of her eyes. Write as if you were dying as if her dancing could stop you from breathing as if the skin behind her ear could stop you from bleeding. Write as if you were dying as if her love was your first heralded doom and your last small death. Write as if you were dying down the nape of her neck into the choral of forgetting into the grave of your heart. Write as if you were dying and live your life as you love her into your last small breath.
The Weepers Breath
The shadow of a mast blankets a child’s body — a sliver of shared sky and ship, for the girl that sleeps beneath the moon. Her tiny, breathless body submerged in a barrel — deaths quiet womb, is placed at the bow. A child forever now, in the eye of memory. Each and every night her mother approaches the wooden shroud and weeps over her child. There is no ghosthouse here — no fare tupapa’u. There are no sharks teeth to pierce the heart of grief, no blood and tears on tapa. Only the sound of sorrow — a mute, blue, cold stone that hangs and drips, in the black air. It circles and swims, swimming tears — the swimmers are sea mist and water, rain and the ashen faces of frightened children, who do not understand that the dead do not remember the living. That the greatest terror of their lives will be these desperate, desolate separations. The slow hum and moan of life into death — death into life. The weepers breath. For griefs silence is the deafening beating heart of a mother. —— On this, her last night, before she returns to the beginning, Mary makes her final walk in darkness towards the bow of the ship. Her face, a wreath — as the sea sings a requiem that anoints and kisses her bare ankles and feet. She dips her arm into the black air — feels for the shape of the barrel, gently places her palm on the wooded womb, and waits for the warmth of movement — to sleep beneath her hand.
One Thursday in October
In the life before, the boy was given a name. He was born before and beyond borders — below the watchtower and within the walled garden, the first-born son of the seventh seed of the summerhouse. Four black feathers fell from his mother’s hand four black feathers carried away by The Winds of Ellan Vannin — beyond the gate of Moreland Close over the tender boughs of The McCrystyn Tree across the eyes of The Irish Sea through his father’s body to take refuge in his mother’s womb. This was The First Migration — that traveling wound in the blood to land softly at The Border of Passing Clouds. It was a Thursday — a Thursday in October. —— A singular world nestled briefly in the embrace of a name. Words spoken where we carry with us all the terrible beauty of the past. Teraura kisses his heart through the veil of his chest — her lips carry the fragrance of identity that always travels with us, in the collective memory of being. Mauatua places four black feathers on his dark black hair. Four black feathers his crown of thorns — four black thorns for his crown of hair. This second Christ, fallen from the Deemster of Man his naked body descending into the sea beyond borders — our paradise lost. —— In the life before, the man was given a name. He died before and beyond borders — he died the first-born son of the seventh seed, his death beyond The Border of the Moon — long since sunk beneath the ocean of dreams. It was April twenty-one eighteen thirty-one — It was a Thursday.