nthposition online magazine

The wide tropic, Mostly the world waits, Reminder of blood & A silent film


[ poetry - november 04 ]

The wide tropic

The future floats foetal through a landscape
of broken teacups and toppled salt pillars.
The past's wide brush paints a master's portrait
of each generation's sanguine leaders.

Dreaming, a wife lets lions into the house
to pad down the narrow hall's isthmus,
nose through doors, peeking into her dynastic
cribs, sniffing her husband's sleep-soaked neck.

The wide tropic between what we recognize
as us and what we suspect as other
gets wider with time. It's hard to recall
whether we knew we were becoming all the same.

Locking the doors in waking won't save us
from what sleep admits: future's tense, past's expense.


Mostly the world waits

The vandals here paint with fire, masters
every one. If only that which stands
before us is true, no wonder old men
marshal armies. Mostly the world waits

patiently. Mostly people get on
with things. Mostly they are unaware
of waiting. Mostly they find themselves off
in a desirous space of conscious

hope. Mostly the end arrives and leaves
without notice. The sky is not falling.
It is a suspended canopy,
hung from high-tensile airplane cable rising

into spaces we can only see at night.
Sit still and enjoy the art. Your turn is today.


Reminder of blood

What's to excel at but lying? We love
the affair for its wet reminder of blood;
theft for its similitude with desire.
The yearned for apology lacks humour,

unexpected forgiveness eases
a moment's panic: if you can't talk now,
just say so. Take comfort in luxury's
new clutch, assess the consequences later.

There are two kinds of rain in the jungle:
that which does not pause on its way to the ground,
slipping between leaves before hitting the earth,
and that which takes its time in the canopy,

collecting on the sky's second surface;
gathering mass, before plunging to its depths.


A silent film

If he comes to the rail like a child called
to mother, like a trireme's marine spying
land after the panic of losing sight
of the coast; if he comes thus when beckoned,

is he still to be punished? Someone shows
a silent film against a billowed sail,
the storm gives up rain and lightning in sheets;
on orders the oarsmen watch and refuse to act.

The children make chalk outlines of themselves
on the pavement, what would be called angels
had they been made in the snow. Guardians
and parents look on, each filled with the selfless

love expected by their televisions.
From the sea, a call for help comes by radio.