Week twelve. The special effects
guy has quit, citing insensitive
subject matter. Asshole. $300k
down. Maryland is no Pakistan
but between the minaret-necked
cormorants and hillbilly locals
I cant tell the difference. Week
eighteen. The walk-on playing
Pearls Taliban executioner cant
hold the replica scimitar steady,
doesnt believe it wont cut. I press
the edge against my right arm, point
to the dent, shallow as a GIs crew-cut,
that it leaves. $500k down. The man
is still shaking. Dick. Week twenty-four.
Some pathetic loser has left a fake head
drooling ketchup outside my trailer. $2m
down. My head is already loosening itself
from the neck. I dont need a gimmick to tell me
this is the worst death Ive experienced yet.
There was once a man who claimed hed been assaulted
by a womans underwear. Invited back for coffee,
hed walked into the kitchen where ranks of brassieres
and panties hung from a ceiling trap in readiness
for ambush. Stockings brushed his cheeks, hooks
and buttons snagged on his hair, straps and ribbons
tied him to a place hed longed for always without knowing.
As a fine layer of lace wrapped itself around his eyes,
he was breathless, helpless at the pink coal-face
of femininity, and fell into a beautiful swoon.
When he woke, he was captive. His life became
a sweet, slow undoing and re-doing of those fastenings,
and – or so the story goes – the coffee never came.
As runoff to a Srinagar photosphere
the plush larynx grasps high nosed
at Lucy Claytons Finishing School.
Scissors in the running stitch of years
back-tacking Jean Muirs trim –
leggy, lissome, blonde, Bond.
Satanic Rites Of Dracula, Coronation Street,
no morphotic priming besides
how to sky-kick balletically.
Last night I dreamt of Trumped-up hair
on a Nimble unbuttered pillow.
was fleshed out, fluted and studded
with buds, thrushed-up and furry - and
belonged to a ten-year-old boy. Though
medical journals cite it in reference to many
conditions, there had never before been
a manifestation which was quite so clinical
– the boy scooped daddy-long-legs, wasps,
and house-flies from the walls four corners,
funnelled tea by the gallon; nor one so, er,
linguistic – he knew the words for pesky
house-fly in twenty-seven languages;
nor so stretchistic – he could flannel
a face at ten paces, mop a floor with
that flap of muscle and coolly slap
off the sweat, from his own or
anyone elses brow; nor,
so social: he was a
Gorged & vexed
hand over fist
of our Lord:
A complex number doesnt have to be truer than binomial theory, right?
Continental philosophy doesnt have to be truer than an inward turn, right?
The sound of a bass clarinet doesnt have to be truer than the sound of a sitar, right?
In The Little Shop of Antiquities, she wrote about relics and artifacts, touching them, letting their glow go to the riverbank and send back their sparkles. How the material object moves the spirit. The incomprehensible magic, the shapeless wonder, the familiar history in a middle to high passage.
Their irresolute beauty like an oiled and torched mirror. Slowly crumbling, then shattering.
Was it a wink or a squint as he scraped the bacon bits off the top of the bun?
Was it a duck or the snow or buttons of bark flaking themselves off?
Was it a shout to hurl itself over to the other side of the asphalt?
And who returned the question like an echo into the wind and orange dust?
Collard gave us a load of trundlewheels and took us out on the field to measure distances. I went over the fence at the back and kept trundling.
Theres no discreet way to steal a trundlewheel. You just push it along in front of you. If anybody asked, youd say it was a project. But they wouldnt ask.
I reached the Spar at the corner and turned into the estate. Counting. Every time the wheel goes round it clicks, and thats a metre. Wrapped round the edge of the wheel. Collard showed us. I counted three hundred and twenty-six metres to the Spar from the school fence. Fifteen from there to the post box. Post box to Woods house: thirty-seven metres. But you dont say metres. You say clicks.
Thats what they say in Full Metal Jacket. I watched it with Woods cousin at Christmas. Contact with Charlie. Forty clicks. And so on.
Lampposts every twenty-five clicks. Eight clicks up the garden path and eight clicks down again when no one answered the door. Six hundred and twenty-seven clicks between my house and the hospital. Four hundred and eight clicks from the hospital to the police station. Nobody stopped me
Ninety-two clicks is how far I ran from Biggsy when my sister slapped him. I reckon the trail of blood was forty-five clicks but the rain washed it away so I had to estimate.
Nineteen clicks past the last house the tarmac ends. Seventy clicks of dusty track. It was hard to keep the wheel steady through the tussocks, but something like thirty-nine clicks to the bottom of the field.
I climbed up on the fence and wanged the trundlewheel into the river. No more clicks then, just the trickly sound of the water. And thats just right – the river moves but it stays where it is – the trundlewheel goes downriver surrounded by the same patch of water.
deep in the valleys of the pyrenees
he constructs his tesseract
inverted cubic cross
collapsed into the mundane
four arms to the four winds
driving back the devil
from some perfect world
this is the house that alexander built
this is the category of the incognito
this is the metamorphosis of the sane
this is the geometry of the vietcong
this is where travellers stare into the sun
and write their quest across the sky
across the sky
Copper elements conduct an electric symphony:
dark undertones swell to a chromatic cadence
a shock of auburn strings and burnished strands
textured chords flowing over obscured ears.
The arrangement of your autumn locks
refracts late-summer sunlight
an amber glow frames your face:
Your hair looks nice today.
This senseless steering has led you to believe that all skies are created equal, that this vagabond Sunday will last you a lifetime. Whenever you touch down with that daredevil contraption of nylon flapping in the wind behind you, you pretend as if nothing happened, as if there are no broken bones. The half-light you cup in your palm is in the peculiar shade of a stubborn watermark. And just like that bakery boy guzzling sugar when our backs are turned, you make sure that nobody sees you hunched like that, that nobody sees you in pain.
A jack-in-the-neck, a flick-book
blackout starts the tug o war
with the under-robin, the auto-robin,
the high-clutched grubber, battling
on a mirror, both gripping the tail.
To win is to fail; to fail, win. They throw
their heads back, one in glee, one
in mourning, sharing a gore-soaked bib.
The worm-tongue, swallowed alive.
Dear Robin, what tidings you bring this day,
what faceless creatures inside you.
Vile Birds fried to the wires - electric funambulism
Violins played by the jaded weaves of a rainstorm
Violins steal sautéed voices trapped by melted claws
Violin-stealth – the surprising street-corner orchestra
Violins steal the vows of a shackled bandstand of brothers
Violins steal the voices that have lost the page and wing-it
Violins steal the voices-off with some gin-soaked inspiration
Violins steal the voices of whim but Ive seen how their jaws open
Violins steal the voices of women under stress
Violins steal the voices of we men too mechanically
Violins steal the voices of women to put in there as if they had fried in their
Violins steal the voices of women to put in their cage of shoulders and hips
The artifact had a cool clean grain, like the stuff
which embellished my sisters wedding dress
on that night of our mutual disgrace,
on the very cusp of winter – although,
strange to say, everyone wore cool summer clothes,
mother a pink hat, father a pink suit.
One shouldnt be the first penguin off the ice,
they advised. The last plate is always emptiest,
others countered. The saddled horse need not worry
I said to myself quietly – and no sooner said than
my mother saw that, with one sordid gesture
all her fine expectations had dissolved
like the last leaves of autumn. My solace?
amid the chaos and the inevitable insurrections,
I reach down and thumb the thingy
in my pocket with the cool clean grain.
in this field
and the next.
to be forthcoming
while their children
along the lanes.
This one is of,
Is of metal
Parts the top pops off.
Within it there
Their other bits are there.
Is of metal.
Pushed down and turned
It out pops this
Bit, all horses braying and
Biting at their flanks and
Turn it and
Is of metal.
Throwing up great clods of earth.
The flaps fit if you clip them into the
Slit either side
Is of metal.
Under this a disk or ticker tape strip that dit:
"When you were
When you were old