Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Petty Ornithology

This park a tabula rasa where in any season
I have approached you you always see
in a man taking bread to a Canada goose
this particular type of on-edge trepid-

ation, the quick drawing back of a hand
into a knot that has anticipated lunge
or at least fierce sneezing. The trigger
movements of fish catching themselves

looking at themselves in the green
sunlight. My coot’s-nest a volcanic island
lair made, maybe, of torn-up blue magazines,
an eyeful of ice-lolly sticks on which

the jokes have been worn funnyless by sheet
erosion. Your wing retains the head
you have snapped back and away from me.
An unnatural duck; egg-shaped body.

Beak under feathers. Rival prams
stir up pigeons. Your reclusive eye
sets. Children dam a stream, a path –
scatter of unhealthy sticks. Primaries

and other feathers. Mud; stalks. In time
an egg becomes a person, instantaneously.

Friday, 20 May 2011

A Tall Building

It was not known until then how much
a human day can be affected by a dream
of a tall building and the view of a town
that had not been experienced before -
there are pleasant areas of green, photoshopped
oaks, the smell of cricket where there was once
something else unremembered but clearly an ugly
symbol of a large urbanised population -
really it is this: a highly functional modern
skyscraper in the middle of an English village
and all that is beautiful about that. What
I also became aware of at that moment was
that I had never imagined you wearing pink,
or sleeping, or voting, or jumping. The building
is 80 storeys and the lift creaked a little
despite its German newness on the way up
to where you are wearing pink. There is
a touch of orange, which reminds me less
of the colour of salmon flesh and more
of the fact that I must finish the Lydia
Davis collection I have borrowed from someone
not in the dream. Oh, the things I could do
the things I could imagine doing to you
even in the creaking framework of a dream
where all I can imagine is subject
to the formal constraint of not-being-
awake. It feels like a tourist attraction
and an office at once. The conflicting strands
of being-awake (itself a constraint)
and not-being-awake converge in the needle
of a tall building. There are relatively
few Germans here. I wanted to practice
my vocabulary (Ich liebe dich. Noch. Immer.) But
in my dream you do not speak German
and my only three words are like a dirty
old man. You speak only in pretty wonky
binary sentences of one letter, or none.
One closed eye, or asymmetric eyes. A flatfish.
This one has no sound. I don't know if I can
dream in sound. The constraint of the unconscious.
It was being made aware that you enjoyed a second,
in the Spanish restaurant. But I don't think
it was said: rather hooked from the universe
or the universal. The fact is I still have this love
over you, in a way, and a dream reminded me of it
or made or remade it. I cannot paint,
or I would have travelled more. The tall building
is like a drill. The speckled country has fallen
all around it. But the Spanish restaurant
is in a different place altogether, not Spain
though. How in conclusion this particular constraint
has been enabling: in a state of being-awake you see
more often than not in the shapes of clouds the outline
of your own country. Because I can do this
to you, I will: evening she would see him typing with finger-
less gloves - less a riposte to the cold and more an accord
with the place that is a reilquary of sorts: a type
of space in which other spaces lie low and breed
slowly. When he couldn't write or think he invoked a dream
by inventing fantastical inept beasts: tailless lemurs
and toothless caimans and titless mastodons
and tongueless mosquitoes, or he would attempt,
knowing or hoping she watched him, a study
of the biological importance of asymmetry
in the narwhal tusk and the dolphin lung.