1 ON THE
inside punctured pockets, I'd decamp,
Patched jacket to match the summer moon -
Stride scanning iamb, spondee, iamb -
The Muses's lackey, senses in a swoon.
My trousers had reached the point of no repair.
Fugitive Tom Thumb, with rhymes I'd strew
Each wayside. At the Inn of the Great Bear
The original All Stars plied their sweet frou-frou:
I tuned in, a galactic France Inter.
To cool my brow there was dew's elixir.
Yet still the verses swarmed; nature or art -
Shadows now like Bacchae now like Graces,
As for want of a lyre I plucked the laces
Of my boots, one foot clasped against my heart.
dining room was brownly grandiose;
Fruit and varnish perfumed the air.
I was downing a plate of Belgian potatoes,
My body dwarfed by an enormous chair.
The clock sounded a minor symphony
On the hour. A rustle on the kitchen stair
And with a sly dishevelled hint at why
The maidservant entered, mane of auburn hair
Tumbling about her shoulders, little finger
To her lips. She cleared the plates, then lingered
So close that my eyes couldn't help but stray:
As butterflies of desire fluttered and flew,
Her downy cheek touched by the sun's last ray,
Her decolletage a dream come true...
Are you a hill-billy or an upside-down flower?
On the tongue you are sweet vermouth,
To the eye a wigwam initialing catatonic plains.
To think you started as a fly escaping some ogre's mouth;
Look how you have changed.
E: The bird is green. With jet-black eyes
It peers out from a backdrop of sunburned yellow
A continent of grass ago -
O aerials, derricks, smokestacks,
Or are you a Martian's hat perhaps,
The tresses of Mimi?
I: 's the colour of railroad tracks,
A robot's cryptic smile. Bold as a tree
In whose branches a phone rings forever and a day
Striped with rain, mercury stands at attention,
Its cap an inky extra
O: The mouth monocled, shape and essence of surprise itself,
Where would we be without you?
Exit and mysterious entrance, so large, so small,
Porthole onto all our words cannot contain or say.
U: Owl's favourite, this one conjures foghorns,
A cavern's gape, sagacious beards -
Bright-scarved skaters flashing across lakes in Finland -
Turquoise twisting in the dark...
north suns have dried their skin to paper.
Do not make them get up. Here movement spells loss.
Their trouserbacks spinnaker toward nowhere.
Voices soft as felt bolster precedent and rule.
Tap-tap-tap, go the flat arpeggios of fact.
The windowsill harbours concussed insects, a cross-
legged cockroach, hecatombs of hyphens, commas, stops.
And yet their seats exalt them with leathered gravitas!
Such shrunken certainties, rustling righteousness,
Prickly, strictly earthbound Thou Shalt Nots
Now in the tunnel of their gaze you wait and sweat,
Prospects hanging upon a single blink,
A twist of lip...