States of Poetry
after David Brooks
of Poetry, black
the sun into us,
seam-rip it asunder.
On the Fitzroy's
bank at midday,
cracking seeds of eucalypts
that outrank Council, a hundred
Banks' black cockatoos,
a paroxysm of commas.
With their subtler
the real sea snoring half a mile away
the scrubbed brick walls of the double lounge and its
samples of african drums flood the speakers
Is that your shadow, weightless,
a smudge of grey dust
in the black trickery of the she-oak?
... it shimmers, it does not stop, and I think it wants me.
—Sylvia Plath, 'A Birthday Present'
Here's some activity you may have missed:
pompadour-lure hung three days after I
'It misses me.'
The fourth: A ...
cat fed squeezing like the morning
fog between oxidized barbed
wire and gorse
with an older cousin
with a slug gun
booting sheep skulls
stripped by gusts, our fathers'
1950s snares swooped by plovers,
daring: 'yellow spurs! forearms
up!' shooting star-
lings for laughs
From his ebony eyrie
the moon is salubrious,
round as the white lotus' root.
The desert's his adversary.
The moon is salubrious
with his godly left eye.
The desert's his adversary,
spiteful, like a hippopotamus.
With his godly left eye
the moon is neither ossuary,
Unexpected on a day like this—
sun shuttling through the 125th Street bridge,
plastic strung in Harlem's elms like tattered wreaths:
unseasonable, unreasonable spring.
Under the red shadow of the Grant tenements
lunchtime noshers clatter china at Bettolona,
dogwalkers spread out on the grass in Sakura Park,
men from the halfway home
drag their deckchair ...
How fine it is to mutiny
against my tired mind—
say self, you are through,
to smash into a mirrorball
of echoes all scaled
in dizzying Nordic blue
feel the universe tilt
and infinitely rebuild
like a skerrick of spindle silver
and never be held—
this is the freedom
of the uni ...
—for Vera Pavlova, in Mexico City
On the bus to Teotihuacan, we turn
a new god's name on our tongues
like a charm, jagging past
chocked over the motorway,
grey pixels stacked so high they merge
with the smoked white Mexican sky—
then a guitar player in the aisle
begins a song whose only familiar
Bebop sparkplug spurred in withershins,
loop-de-loop interloper, he hop-steps
ravines of bark, shirking faultlines,
going solo, headstrong, scion of impatience,
juddering like the stalled engine
of prop-plane on tundra runway, skirting
and skimming up, peeling out,
reeling in spiral, spy, scout, prematurely
thrusting into the unknown, Magellan