for Caroline Durieux
‘The old poetic rubbish played an important part in my alchemy of words…then I would explain my magic sophistries with the hallucination of words! I ended up by finding sacred the disorder of my spirit.'
- Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell
1. Harsh Tall City
This harsh tall city has a heap of concrete;
I live in concord with the coexistence of
coherent furies, lug my legs in a dead heat.
Lucrative as it is, more than enough;
no danse macabré then, I'll luxuriate
in the lurid twilight breeze it seems demodé.
I galumph among those hapless maelstroms, mulch
my dreams once they have been pelted demurely.
That Lucifer shirked shrill bars in a tool-shed;
I treadled and tried to ride him down by day.
My erudite gleanings winnow umbrage -
a presage of the turgid ostentation.
This is odious in the truculent city of maze.
A minx of mirth is credulous in the lawn
where grass as in a grange's has no grudge
against the city this is odious in the rain.
Analytic guy has a vicarious empathy;
sanguine that a cohort of the dwarfs will rinse
their dream narcotic as a drug, sough and sigh.
Throughout the night an electric moon shines.
A dissonant time has come upon the city,
grey all around; my jade has ivy on her dress.
The machine in the tool-shed mutters as a bee;
rusty pliers and ploughshares won't be turned fresh;
varied things are married at an office of registry.
2. Stony Red Earth
Is an art, like everything else.
- Sylvia Plath
I am a feeble sylvan in aphyllous hills,
and stroll a thousand acres of verdant sedges
and climb up the kame to watch an eddy of
dry foliage to imbue my self with gall.
How long shall I knead dreams in perky days?
The ludic balk canards and cavil with dolts.
I flaunt and flinch myself to be embroiled
in a gaffe and glower at gnomes who harp on gall.
I hew the jaunty gamut of my lackey
and jostle on the knoll loping as a lout.
I lumber to mulct yokel on the verge,
but never oust a nubile girl to be panned
in a rampart of qualms to shunt me here.
Who vaunts of weaning me from wry dogs' yelps?
Of yore I warble in venturesome zing.
My suffrage, flotsam of buoyant yore, debarks;
the façade of my hovel, aurora borealis, skimps.
Some vanguard hit my cottage by shrapnel;
a stony music slithers down the knoll
to mete chorales and opens an arch to grief.
My dreams are tossed by summons to be svelte.
I let an upstart scourge my aegis of dreams.
I like a flimsy sandhouse near a lough
much more than anything else on this kame.
Should I turn pallid in a parley of throng?
3. Eerie Blue Sea
I can see no way out except death,
which delivers us from everything.
- Paul Gauguin
At last I come here in this desert of glitters
bubbling with crests. Creepy gawks hoax
lime with deserts' dry breaths. The riff-raff wore
chiseled features for pantograph. I parboiled
viscid flesh with hearths switched into grief.
No sybarites were pelted with hawthorns
of ripple kiss. No forces de la liberté felt.
Mud flats & city turn blurry. Tell me prithee:
the wind gusts up to act as a vaulting horse
that would ogle me up in flight with fires.
Glued to dams, loons scoff at rock-heaps.
The riff-raff may be the parlous race.
Of massacre I show finesse instead of lucre.
Bogus griffin I grin long in the iron griddle.
I evoke sea's mom: gulp with sloppy glee;
your kids cry, hunger naps in your dorm,
viscid corpses get drubbed. Quit penology:
have a lien over riches. I chuck my pabulum.
Spillover novices need thrift. Jottings all out.
My rhizome-like grief lets roots grow fast.
Never being against feral notes of gaiety
so humane, I count grimaces on their faces.
Unlodged as sailors may live, I prefer going
straight to Davy Jone's locker at sundown
than to be savaged as I was in custody.
from IMPASSE (2003)