February 2016

Disappointment – by John Burnside, from the volume Black Cat Bone

Hope will predominate in every mind, till it has been suppressed by frequent disappointments.

Samuel Johnson

 

I turn left out of the rain

at Kippo junction,

the windshield clearing to sky and a skim

of swallows over the road like the last few

pages of a 50s story book

 

where someone is walking home

to the everafter,

touched with the smell of the woods and the barberry

shadows where the boy he left behind

is standing up to his waist in a Quink-blue current,

 

a burr of water streaming through his hands

in silt italics, touch all hook-and-eye

beneath the swell, and fingers opened wide

to catch what slithers past – the powder-blue

and neon of a surer life than his,

 

scant as it is, and lost, in the gaze of others.

pique-assiettes

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XVII

for Craig

walked among the wild comfrey and the weeds
naming fruit trees in nasturtium in the borage
bees worried and we about them on the edge
Craig in a collared shirt with an open face
of the day flung wide and garden earth
like the palm of a hand tilted upwards to it
as if accepting a gift held out in expectation
holidays coming to an end he said
the same disappointment when the doctors
told him he’d be going back to school
this time is not last time a moment came
in his clear enjoyment of our pleasure
excited to show him our place and company
between beds of bolting heads of broccoli
silverbeet racing to the sun we stopped
turning his glasses his teeth and belt-buckle
a slim man smiling with a similar excitement
of something that is always happening
still the bandage hope sickness gentle courage
and just to be in a good place like he was
he said how pleased to see us find our
good place too he was laughing
with joy just to be travelling
in the middle of his life
as at the end in the present
presence packed and holding out
a predicament like a ticket
because all ready
and on a journey

point to point

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XVI

imagine
and all I had to my name
these lines

a spider
knitting in cheese-wire

point to point

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XV

I have composed a list of bodies
entering the cordon of the homicide
the victim lying in his cold cocoon
I have included my own
without compassion without enmity
my childhood bedroom
my father’s coffin
I have compiled the names
of femicides
opening the present to
continuing mutilation

to direct a calm gaze
and not to turn away
from this world
what kind of hell
has literature become

point to point

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XIV

because I can be seen almost everywhere I go
and the information is attached to my person
so that my physical location is for all practical
purposes a mere indexical and the actual
presence of my head and hands heart respiratory
and alimentary organs is a dimensionless
point and feet and legs which permit my per-
ambulation in space and get me around
do not amount to much of anything except
like the other things I carry from place to
place head and arm breast and genital
exist as liabilities and targets I am
constructed as a site for data flow a
limited silo over a lifespan
occupied by contesting interests their
sum monopoly on the nothing
of mortality
because of this
age ethnicity gender
passport number
this credit
and the rating
your gift to me
I cannot be fixed
anywhere
I am
completely
mobile

point to point

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XIII

The love of the body is the longest lasting
because the body does not age
its breakdowns and desertions
where it was liquid now it is mineral
where it would move turning to stone
taking its leave falling ripening
sagging ripping folding in wrinkles
dappling blemishing dying to itself
and its touch deaf in its voice muted
by the noise of collapse shrinking in its
vision and its habits failing in its reach
and its holding dropping lacking in sight
of itself—foolish, its battles with disease
growing from its substrate its own senseless
vegetation wrapping organs in leaves
tuberous growths and wooden tumours
taking over the fatal defeat is not a process
to be managed because the body does not age
it is animated and has life at its essence.

point to point

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the distraction of nostalgia with a smell like marijuana the predatory dreamcatcher

anciency

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Audenesque by Mohammed Fairouz at Le Poisson Rouge

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LPR Ensemble play The Sinking of the Titanic by Gavin Bryars

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the balance right between bee and musician

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