No 12 - Autumn 2007
From Above the Leaders
I saw the sick man again, tall and unsteady
he got on at Bolivar, exited at Buttes-Chaumont: a white man
gray-haired, thin, with small cheekbones. A week ago a black woman
dressed in beige and dyed blonde hair, thick beige powder on her face,
beige stockings and shoes, got on at Gare de l’Est and descended with me
at Louis Blanc talking to air. But I want to
stare at these people, fearing any connection I might establish:
she a little crazy seemed to want to follow me. Because I was warm
and intense? knocking on her mind’s door, out of curiosity
Or she may have been a transvestite. Sunday morning at 8.
The plump young boy helps the old man, who is
nonetheless a tourist with a backpack, find his way through
the Gare de l’Est which being remodeled lacks signs
All the chestnuts in bloom in the Buttes. The yellow tulips
weren’t there anymore, inward with their red stripes.
The owner of the Boulangerie dislikes my wrinkled
five-euro note: I say, It’s not very elegant … so she laughs
and accepts it. No politicians know what we say.
On the rue de Rivoli, Friday, it was muggy with bursts of grey
in different gusty intensities, some verging on purple.
Recently I dreamed of the arcaded passages as a tunnel
with uncanny lights. If you touch our bruised selves
it’s sky on earth; such treasure, wouldn’t you join me?
But I’m so afraid of you. She was young, with her friend, and suitcases
the cuffs of her long pants ragged, she’d stepped all over them – is it a
I’m not really interested in anyone else’s point of view.
Hallucinate lips to chest
it happened at the time of the black dress. I contracted
a disease, undetected for thirty years,
doing something socially unapproved. I could have died,
or worse, passed it on.
No one knew the disease existed. Then was what I did bad?
The monitor lizard sits on my vintage black dress.
You should have foreseen the future; I am deadly serious, Reason said.
There are always threads around my ankles, tripping me up, from
her tattered dress, dark
today; though sometimes gold with knowing. How would I
have cast light on the deepest mystery if I hadn’t defied society?
For I now see the workings of Fate in my hand, spinning a
wheel in blindness, as I chant words torn from my own hem
words I don’t at first understand. In that Fortune deceiveth she instructs
I have never know so much. What difference does that make?
Singing the song of These, my ever united lands.
It’s a narrow silver pathway – a slide. Shadow wedges blowing
Grains of mercury mind. Child pushed past
Shadows all over me. The mystery of forgotten
civilizations. The stars in the leaves are better than you my enemy.
The yellow and grey ball whirls and travels across. Guitar is strummed
balconied geraniums, Hôtel le Petit Manoir, an enfant pigeon knows to do
the pigeon neck strut thing. Recall a definitively terrible poem in
the New Yorker, words in rows as tombstones for the visible.
Woman in pale lime tee weighs too much looks happy.
Child runs – her daughter. Chartreuse leaves shimmy; a shiny red
tee on the woman texting. There might be a major recession.
The Socialists will offer an abrogation of all the Right’s done – little –
creating jobs without trying, because their wish is correct.
Very light the top green enforcing the dark within
that is, a tree. All together the sparrows sound insane; this poem
outgoing in the old
manner, written on graph paper, beneath my own emerald tee.
Several women rise up from their bench and leave. Man stares at me
for the merest instant, because I’m the writer.
There are the roses; You are the roses. I have nothing to tell you.
Taxicab for another floats past on rue Pierre Semard
Union militant gunned down the 7th of March 1942.
How many faces do you have? How many heads?
One in the chest one in the eyes one in the spit. I am somewhere else
falling out of love in our exemplary parlance. Your crab’s legs
are wrapped around your second head the silver moon is a
jaguar. Famous appearance of the Grid God
and the cosmos falls to pieces. Everyone thinks you are an animal,
not several of them. How long have we been solving murders?
The fad was handed to us by that dummy, conjugal man.
Organ transplant man is more what I refer to.
Jealous of the ravaging emotions of the heart, I am the liver.
I am the bat no trail to the stars, in the intimacy of the true cavern.
I am the shrimp with my mediocre career and delicate costume.
I am the generous, enraptured snake.
I am the shorn spine; the parure of glands.
Don’t you fucking talk to me like that, none of that Shit!
the American shouted on the métro to a quieter family member
who seemed to be part of him. If we could just keep our
aspects clear of each other for analysis.
I am the legendary downfall of your house.
I am Vengeance whom no animal hath known
I am the lava trapping you forever in your garage
I am the butterfly carved on your funerary urn.
Each head wore its own gold jewelry, earrings breastplate and crown.
I am megalomania with ten different sacrifical knives.
I will kill all fancies save for the one I deem Correct.
Your elegant eerie spells will no longer work
You will perish and I alone have eternal life.
The light accuses you – everything does but the light
in its concentrated repetition of singling out rot, stone, and stress
is subtly wrathful. Does it exist or is it a religion?
It is a drugged perception; it needs you; in your northern sleep
you ignore it and speak of desire. I prefer to speak of
treachery. An entire country is sadistic: this is the real
though there is no country as there is no goddess of philosophy.
A woman asks me for money, I have enough for my morning paper
She asks other people in turn, in the car of the sept bis train
she asserts she’s just left the hospital; younger than I
brunette, not unkempt. She keeps scratching her arm
No one gives her une piéce; she places herself next to a
man and addresses him grumpily. He is polite
This incident less economics than connection – what
are you part of? The light continues to accept you
as your tongueless fellow creatures witness her practice.
I am the light I give you definition.
I bestow my influence as far as your folly extends
Your shoulder is too close, the man would say to her.
I want to look at her
She wants me to look at her, so she can disdain me
The name of love. But not Aphrodite, this name is the light.
From whom I am divided within: it might be you, one of us not conscious
The economy in our faces. During a period of historic migration
when I too was an immigrant, and couldn’t find my power, still
I wanted to find you. The dimensions were in tatters, the weather
provoked and bitter: You’ve already had your good times, it whispers.
Someone younger projects a fabulous ghost against the hot dark,
past and future, carrying half a necklace of Nevada turquoise.
I allotted you, one of us says, a heartache or two;
the other says, those enemies became me. I forgot
there was such a thing as an evening dress. Which of us remembers
so professionally severed? If you tell me what to do, I won’t wind up in jail.
I still miss you when I wear lace in the granite motif.
Sparkling flowers promulgate gaiety, even if you don’t
have a dime you can look. I call you unpredictable,
you call me brave. We trust each other for there is some structural
integrity to this millenia-old arrangement. Red and blue precisions
indicate I’m awake, while you are looking for a job in California.
You socket of lurid postcards, you zipped-up eye.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The