I hear the men with one voice
A frog, a frog’s voice
I hear them from the bedroom
Talking, talking into their blue lapels.

From my backyard stoop
From my sink and
From my cell
I hear them laughing

Have they found the girl?
Have they found the woman in the girl?

Where did they find her?
Why have they got her?
How have they won her?

There are eggs in the jelly
Words in the stream
The water’s always running
Fanning out

I heard the men behind the fence
Now they’re at the gate
They swore
They coughed up little frogs
Who came into the metal-tasting air

I heard the men along the steel sides
Of garages swearing to themselves
Burping in the grass and bringing up
Small packages of air
Reproducing down the wire

I heard them beating at the door
I heard their thin legs
I heard them slapping
I heard them bursting on the shelves
I heard the gas whistle
Through this tin diaphragm
Inside my phone I heard them

I hear the men with one voice
They fan out on the field
The field of being –
The anti-being
The package –
The anti-package
My lips are blue

Where is she?
How have they won her?

They play, they comb, they weave
In the grass
They watch the field

I hear the search-party fan out
Across the field

Being taken –
How can she hide herself?
Being hidden –
How does she hide herself?

They play at clues
They comb its hair, its hair
They wash the field down

They play at signs
They rake their fingers –
Hose them down

They spread out webs
Across the field
With threads that go in one direction
Lines that run in one direction

They string out strings
Of words which resonate
In the water, always running

I used to sneer
When I was healthy
I used to hear the men
Laughing at night

I heard them leaning out
Car-windows laughing

Then the drone of wire
The spider’s special home

I hear the men
I hear the groupings and
The intervals, I hear their
Antiphonal question and

We are at sea –
The anti-singing
I hear them in my room
The talking in their pockets

It’s deep deep blue the elegy
I composed
Blue down amongst the grass-roots
The stalks

To find her taken
Having taken her
In the same interval to have her
Having held her

To find her kept
And keep her

I hear the men talking
I hear them anti-singing
How did they hear me?

I heard them coming out into the metal-
Tasting air to find me
In the same interval
Between sight and second-sight
To find me,
Their sight, their second-sight
To find me

A word
And then the drone of wire –
The drone of wire
That is the answer

The strong wire
The voice, the drone, the word,
The wire –
One colour and the same

The glass wire
That sees everything
The filament and the fuse
And the life-

That is the dumbest excuse
I’ve heard and the worst
I’ve ever used.

(March, 2004)