There and Back

One irony of all that imparted newness
I thought I had gained from is its ancient origination,
The rote of a classroom relict and his one insistence –
That the method for change is the remorseless
Permeation into the everyday, as a dye on its stratifications.
News is, the soldiers in our camp aren’t properly
Uniformed or shod. They sit prissily, polishing their arms.
Not noticed until too late are the reversals contoured
On our map, the map’s changing strategic lines,
As an enemy astute bureaucratically has adopted our practice
(Why yes, it has), but mirrored, with accumulations of its own.
Result, the only permeation is this masquerade,
This show of national unity, where deals are done
Privately, sealed in the silk camouflage
Of unrecorded handshakes, under an outflow
Into everything of white-hot light, the colour
Of heated glass.


It’s Only Temporal

I cannot tell what time my life clock
Chimes, and how to wrest the hour hand
From its history of defeat. I look out
From the rear of a rented house, in the pendular round
Of my mortality, in a departure from the path
That’s anything but direct. Letters I write
Are a circuit of misspent mail, sent as an endless
Readdress. I set a written tempo
As I listen for the tide, as the keystroke of its ebb.
There is a rise and fall of song the ghosts around me
Snatch at, and resume. It retreats on a shoreline
Breeze, and carries to the grave the cadence
Of my only clock. Shall there be renewal?
Or recovery of my rhymes, in a metrics
Not calling on another’s fading out?
The softened language I have used
As furnishings is drawn from a catalogue
Of chattels, last worldly goods of a widower living
In a painted clapboard house, and now deceased.
Objects, followed by their nominalising words,
Then words we treat objectively,
Are what I make my meanings from.
Acquired, in the particular order
Of my whims—

A battered cardboard chequerboard,
Its greyed and frayed and yellowed squares,
In semblance regimented,
Bound to rules no more than a repertoire of cliché,
Its founding an ideology, its demagogues
Megaphonic with its ground plan –
Or so the politics of the diminished.

The chair I got at auction
Has an upholstery of fake leopard skin,
And is angled at the window,
My frame on a world of churches, dogs
And chickens, and the tinkle of wind chimes.
Rougher music is a country crossed with words,
A hubbub on a stave,
For how I squirm when solutions down
Negate the clues across.

I grope for facts and cannot see
Beyond a mass of clouds, and an unsealed road
In a zigzag into the clumps of indigo pine,
And up to the mountain’s ridge. I ask myself
What time, what era I have entered.