Artemis variations


Life is impossible
To live is unattainable
For one who’s killed another
Or who’s uncertain –
My enemy divides me.

I’m both here in a voice
I’ve found and despise
And gone.

Once is many times
One word, one thrust
One open afternoon
Its promise is every act of love,

One note and statement of belief
One reaction destroys all music
In its potential to substitute for feeling

Two or three
Animals – you choose
The one that runs and shoot it.

The noise stays with you.

It means a shadow –
The nickering in the palm
Of the tame as you approach
With sugar and field-nights
Hauling the body beside the fence
Home to abattoir

A radio, a calendar
A family, the oil and wired hooves
Of the faun hung in its membrane
With the smell of scalded milk;

I crawl my knife over the sand’s mounded silica
With only the wound of noise –
It’s hopeless but not yet jesus
In the miracle of a half-life

Split between the lizard’s
Photographic eye
And the style of hate
And survival, both

Needles of tender beasts
Hurting as they mend
An unsuturable cleft
With these threads
Of tongue.

It’s only the third you’ve killed
Losing her caramel skin
Shouting at it and
Trampling on it
Like a shadow with you
You want
Pressed to your lips

Because it’s my enemy
You want
Because love
Is reasonable and just
Completes the half.


Life is impossible
To live is unattainable
For one who kills another
Or for me
Who loves another
Like an enemy, my lover
Divides me into parts

I’m a voice I’ve found
I’ve found I despise –
It’s the piercing
Shrill tone of the sea
The decay and collapse
Of will power

It’s the dissolution
The reverse of the lizard’s
Photographic eye:
It’s a cavity of the image –

It’s the skin within –
Skin cannot be touched –
Skin isn’t touching skin –

It’s the eye and actor
It’s the sex of the eye
That sees and sloughs off a still
Like its own dead skin complete
Complete in its orbit everywhere

And I’m a raised voice
As if I lifted a curtain
Behind which a character gesticulates
With desperate language
And indicates the Mother
Screaming terrorised
In twisted metal

Who plays a role
Bears a child
Who in turn
With the delay
Of a miracle
Echoes, echoes cry
Down the years
And corridor

In a cascade effect of gravity
And light
The serious child
Has those Greek arrows
Which, arrive at the bow,
After the target,
Last at the back of your head,
Compelling to an end
To the math and tautology.

The soul who observes
The actor and eye meeting
Who bleeds and smokes
Who takes in and allows –
Like an enemy
She splits me into positions.


I’m a word, a thrust, a promise

And in the promise
Of an open afternoon
Every future act of love
Divides every past
Act of love
By itself

And itself an object
Of possession
The voice I’ve found
Stays with
Like a subject of rights

Who taught herself to read
Listening to rain
From the mountain
From the sea
On the corrugated iron

When salt and cloud
And another snow
Three visitors will come in
Wiping their boots
One bringing food
For the other two
Will sit down

Despite he might hope
To be read by her
The one who stands
Won’t be leaving

Because belly and sex
And his eyes will stick out

Like they did at the schoolgirl bar
In a way beautiful easy

On the backs of his arms and legs
The skin loose
The joints uncircumcised
Swimming underneath

They’ll hump in the bare flat
In his adjoining room
The needles will come out

It’s cold without the fire

(August, 2005)