a line of faces borders the strangler’s work heavy european women mist blows over dusty tropical plants lit from beneath the leaves by a spotlight mist in my mind a riffled deck of cards or eccentrics was i a waterton animal my head is not my own poetry is neither swan nor owl but worker, miner digging each generation deeper through the shit of its eaters to the root – then up to the giant tomato someone else’s song is always behind us as we wake from a dream trying to remember step onto a thumbtack two worlds – we write the skin the surface tension that holds you in what we write is ever the past curtain pulled back a portrait behind it is a room suddenly lit looking out through the eyes at a t.v. programme of a monk sealed into a coffin we close their eyes and ours and still here the tune moves on
They didn’t have much trouble
teaching the ape to write poems:
first they strapped him into the chair,
then tied the pencil around his hand
(the paper had already been nailed down).
Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
“You look like a god sitting there.
Why don’t you try writing something?”
There are no handles upon a language
Whereby men take hold of it
And mark it with signs for its remembrance.
It is a river, this language,
Once in a thousand years
Breaking a new course
Changing its way to the ocean.
It is mountain effluvia
Moving to valleys
And from nation to nation
Crossing borders and mixing.
Languages die like rivers.
Words wrapped round your tongue today
And broken to shape of thought
Between your teeth and lips speaking
Now and today
Shall be faded hieroglyphics
Ten thousand years from now.
Your song dies and changes
And is not here to-morrow
Any more than the wind
Blowing ten thousand years ago.
We don't belong to each other. We belong together. Some poems belong together to prove the intentionality of subatomic particles. Some poems eat with scissors. Some poems are like kissing a porcupine. God, by the way, is disappointed in some of your recent choices. Some poems swoop. When she said my eyes were definitely blue, I said, How can you see that in the dark? How can you not? she said, and that was like some poems. Some poems are blinded three times. Some poems go like death before dishonor. Some poems go like the time she brought cherries to the movies; later a heedless picnic in her bed. Never revered I crumbs so highly. Some poems have perfect posture, as if hanging by filaments from the sky. Those poems walk like dancers, noiselessly. All poems are love poems. Some poems are better off dead. Right now I want something I don't believe in.
savage country poem’s light borrowed
light of the landscape and one’s footprints praise
in the close
that is strange the sources
the wells the poem begins
neither in word
nor meaning but the small
us in the stones and is less
always than that help me I am
of that people the grass
and touch in their small
distances the poem