two poems: 2

I am here.

The clock is ticking.

It is a double tick one-one two-two three-three
and so on.

My eyes are closed and my arm is long
over my face. I am lying down.

And then I am no longer here.
But where I am I cannot tell.

The black inky night was aérien and plump
and yet becomes metalled languor,

the dull copper reflects
a flattening space

it is shimmering.

I am here.

I know this because I suddenly
hear the clock breaking into

the metalled world. And yet
I have not moved, my arm has not

moved, and yet the world is
thickening again and filling with

air, and yet one-one two-two
it doesn't quite seem right and yet

my mind has been slicked with
the dully copper flections and

yet I am aware of my awareness and
that's not right, as far as sleep goes.

The clock ticks.

The tinny echo of a swelling sound is
coming from one of four buildings

whose windows face onto mine, but they
are far away and I am on the sixth floor.

I treasure my privacy.

This swell is swelling and the melody
has bloomed from its very ubiquitous root.

dah da-da-dah daah daah
dah da-da-dah daaah daaah

happy birthday da-da-da-dah is what I first
imagined because I hear a tinny echo.

I can not make out the words.

And yet, even not making out the words, it
should not be birthday but anniversaire.

There is a moment I think it might be in
a language completely foreign to me, that

it might be in congolese or senegelese and
once I heard a senegalese man downstairs at

the market say to his companion, for godness
sake and it was true and he was right.

This is not about the tomato at the market
or the apple in the metaphor, but godness

because I was in the metalled world
and it is how I imagine god must feel, not

hearing the tick of the clock, and yet
I must return to it, and I am here now,

and the clock is ticking

and it must be midnight for they are

Published in Belleville Park Pages 11; Mike Waser

two poems: 1

He shaves his jaws every Friday morning during a gap; nine slides into ten. 
It is at this between-hour that he soaps and lathers his chops
at the squared white sink in the downstairs female bathroom of
a dark red brick building whose crenellations seem to me
to have jutted up from sacred Mali. 

A bathroom is a choking space, too easily do slide from walls
the trappings of human excess, while cold white tiles do little to
persuade us that we are not indeed inside a warm and living form.
And each Friday, at this sliding hour, his low-pitched wooded smell
accords with the putrid delicate variations and shifting harmonious
bands of female vanitas and shame.

It is I who am waiting in line behind you, old man, who am
holding in hope and wavering at the edge of the fir green fabric 
at the edge of your darkened skin. A deep round scar, no bigger than
a five cent piece, at the fold of your right eye, alabaster soap and dark 
hands, life-darkened like my father's hands, they too have been lathed too 
often, by thin - one might even say innocent - blades of time and
solid matter, to ever come clean again.

I have felt the possible weigh upon me.
I have seen the becoming-spherical of the object.
I have been shown its curving-away face.

There is noise now. The scraping blade in the sliding hour whose,
for a fifty odd of Fridays and all the ones that count, metal has done 
battle against persistent sons who rise are mowed who rise again. 
I hear them all.

published in Belleville Park Pages 11

asagiri no miko

The sound of the Gion Shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; 

the colour of the sāla flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. 

The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; 

the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind.

The Tale of the Heike; 12th century, Japan.

West of the Blue Mountains, Oz; winter 2013

vanitas and freeform nothing

I think we are in rats’ alley 
Where the dead men lost their bones. 

“What is that noise?” 
                      The wind under the door. 
“What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?” 
                      Nothing again nothing. 
You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember 
        I remember 
                Those are pearls that were his eyes. 
“Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?” 
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag— 
It’s so elegant 
So intelligent

Is whispering nothing?

Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting noses?
Kissing with inside lip? stopping the career
Of laughing with a sigh?--a note infallible
Of breaking honesty--horsing foot on foot?
Skulking in corners? wishing clocks more swift?
Hours, minutes? noon, midnight? and all eyes
Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs only,
That would unseen be wicked? is this nothing?
Why, then the world and all that's in't is nothing;
The covering sky is nothing; Bohemia nothing;
My wife is nothing; nor nothing have these nothings,
If this be nothing.

"On Margate Sands. 
I can connect 
Nothing with nothing. 
The broken finger-nails of dirty hands. 
My people humble people who expect 

      la la 

To Carthage then I came 

Burning burning burning burning 
O Lord Thou pluckest me out 
O Lord Thou pluckest 


You are the last I recognize; return,
pain beyond help that sears the body’s cells:
as I burnt in the spirit, see, I burn
in you; the wood, that for so long rebels
against the flame you kindle, comes of age;
behold, I nourish you and burn in you.
My earthly mildness changes in your rage
into a rage of hell I never knew.

Quite pure, quite planless, of all future free,
I climbed the stake of suffering, resolute
not to acquire what is still to be
to clad this heart whose stores had become mute.
Is it still I that burns there all alone?
Unrecognizable? memories denied?

O life, o life: being outside.
And I in flames—no one is left—unknown.

Vanitas still life with portrait; David Bailly (1650), Naked Lunch, Wasteland, Winter's Tale, Wasteland, Komm du, du Letzter; Rilke.