Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A Challenge to Piotr Wozniak

You cannot learn paths
by incremental reading alone –

at least not the paths that change
before maps can be born – spaced

repetition doesn’t work in the woods
and can’t account for circles,

for walking in circles. In Sidmouth
one year we both danced a six-time

Breton dance that wasn’t altogether
a circle but still didn’t end or begin

in anything but an empty hand –
an un-ouroboros, a snake that has freed

its own tail and is lost. When, shitfaced,
I couldn’t find my way back and pitched

an invisible tent in the red lee
of Salcombe Hill, the mapless spiral

sea apportioned blame percussively,
and according to the exponential nature

of forgetting.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

After Charley Harper’s Twowls (Two Snowy Owls Perched Together)

Audubon’s are slow and moony,
big-breasted and restful ghosts
of Rubens’s ladies, slippered
and jaundiced, no more alive
than when they were painted.

Perky urns, Harper’s. His and hers
hearts. Unskittled skittles weighted
with a symmetry of snow, three-
eyed. Two Russian dolls
that cannot fit inside each other.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Famous Deaths of 1992

Ten. Said, ‘doc, I think I have
idiopathic pleurisy. Nothing
gets past these tiny lungs,
they’re infallible filters.’

‘Champion’ Jack Dupree
(or ‘Harelip’ to his friends)
had ten mini fists for fingers.
Stef Sargent was different,

The drain of, not of mortality
but the idea that panic
and prettiness could cease
to be observed (which was

she had syringes for fists
and pumped them ever
slower, slumped under
a shower. Mr Magoo (or at least

a good idea, but not one
I liked) first gaped at me
In 1992. Deathlessness
at the age of ten is this:

the man who made him
blind) died that year
too, reconciled with the family
of the Peter Pan Nazi

Standing over the stream
that fed the reservoir, pulling
down your trousers and smugly
pissing, knowing that the Poles

who paid him in frowns
and in spite. In D.C. Zoo
Ling-Ling’s gigantic black-
eyed kidneys turned to stone

used magic to poach carp
from under the pissy water
for their Christmas dinners.
I didn’t think then that

and panda diplomacy died,
whilst in a Southampton
cemetery Benny Hill’s bones
were moved by bandits

knowledge of death
would involve writing
a poem about the dead
guitarist from 7 Year Bitch.

who found nothing
but the echo of a laugh
that could have been a cough,
and two shrivelled kidneys.