Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Some Poems


Be graceful and experimental,
the exact opposite of those who fail
of those who stay in the shadows.
The day awakens and thinks
what shape it’s going to be today,
then it’s that shape. Sometimes it’s difficult
to work out what the shape is going to
be when you look at the day before breakfast.

I looked out of the day this afternoon
and the sun was hidden by clouds
but I knew it would reappear
if not today then tomorrow or the next day.
I knew it was there, and only hidden.
The world is graceful and strange and
ugly and familiar sometimes and sometimes
it surprises you but there are things
that can be relied on. The sun is one of them.

And now it’s the night and the day
is going to graceful sleep. I am awake
thinking about several different days
and what shape they were. The days were
long ago, and although I couldn’t see
them clearly then I can now make out
what shapes they were. I am beginning
to understand what those days were about.


It’s all very well,
the disappointments penetratingly understood,
and the long chill evenings
with their sweaty fitful sleepings on the sofa
are singularly understood,
and how the water is always warming
but never brought to the boil,
that’s enlargingly understood,
as the placing of a cover or lid
on the simmering pan is thoroughly understood,
and the caged bird in its frustrating riot of colour
is analysed then glaringly understood,
and the witch in the wardrobe of the apartment
empathised with and maddeningly understood,
the day’s long drawing out so physically,
substantially, and debilitatingly understood,
and the singing of muted swans
is swellingly understood,
and the slow and gradual appearing of ice,
that’s piercingly understood,
and it’s all very well.


Some days are blighted, some are blessed. And now, now cast upon
the waters, how can you ever know why to be, and how in the world?
Everything is precisely cut and dried and they (they who fell trees,
who cull sweet pups, who slip cordons, who are married so cheerily,
who everything condones) will ever seem as starry constellations
in the big heaven. Today the electric tram almost took out my life,
and the mob didn’t fall into a swoon as I exclaimed about a swan upon
a pond of calm I imagined as twilight fell. How can all this not be
connected in some way to the fact I was disguised as someone who
three times fell into the sea and each time was rescued by coastguards?
The pinnacle of my life was a recent season. Sun shone and ocean sang.
A decorative plate a moment ago smashed on the floor. I don’t know
which boot sale I got it at but it doesn’t matter as I stoop to clear it up.


This is a time of joy and adoration and adulation,
physical pain, agonies even, and sleeplessness.
It is also a time for good advice, the giving
and the taking of. Here is some:

when the baby is born, keep it around
for a couple of days so friends and relatives
can prod and poke it a little, then
send it away to a boarding school.
The best are many, many miles away.
You will then be able to resume your career
as telephone operator / actress / model / super-
market check-out girl (delete as appropriate).
Arrange for the child to be returned
when it reaches its majority. Arrange also
to have, by that time, changed your name
and escaped into the backwoods where
nobody knows you and where you can disappear
like a girl, a wish, a hope, a dream.


And so they searched for the umbrella
but couldn’t find it. What was Mr. Weather
planning in his mysterious cave? Everybody
had lots of information but didn’t seem to
know anything worth knowing. Never mind:
as soon as they’d adjusted their clothing
they went for coffee, a beautiful couple
in the eyes of The Lord. It was only
a modest café but it suited them to a tee.
Someone had tied a horse up outside
and left it; perhaps they’d gone shopping.
This was, after all, a city renowned for
its superior retail outlets and not only for
a lot of gang-related violence. A waitress
was pretending to be a moment
of extravagance in a tawdry day but
like all other failed attempts she failed.
Great legs aren’t enough. While they sipped
their coffee, a window cleaner cleaned
the window, a traffic warden wasted
a couple of words on the horse, a crocodile
of schoolchildren trooped past the window
headed for Valhalla, a postman collected
mail from the box on the corner,
and it started to rain. The drops of rain
were big ones: it was that big drop
sort of rain. Low sky got lower.
Members of The Umbrella Club, had
there been such a club, would have been
so fucking smug. It seemed like
a good idea to order more coffee.
He used to think it upset his stomach
but now he wasn’t so sure and he liked
to drink it. It helped him stay awake all day.