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Title: Mascara-Viscera
Author: Brown, Paul Cameron
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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MASCARA-VISCERA By

Paul Cameron Brown



  CONTENTS

  Flashpoint
  Marzipan
  Santo Domingo
  White China Plates I
  White China Plates II
  Mail Drop
  Headdress
  Airbrush
  Swords and Roses
  Moonrock
  Smokestack
  Tickings of a Clock
  Flashpoint
  Equinox
  Penny Wise, Pound Poor
  Metaphor
  Embers
  Skin
  Asgard
  Old Brompton Road
  Street Scene
  Curse of The Downtown Trade
  In My Books
  Made in Space
  Godiva
  Pelée
  Pelée: May 8, 1902
  Electra
  Sideway Look
  Lolita Gardens
  Unpaginated
  Sequin
  Yellow Hair
  Piltdown Man
  Spanked
  The Crowkeeper
  Cuando-Cubango
  Onomatopoeia
  At the Red Throat
  Shamrock
  Lost Patrol
  Blackamoor
  Up from the Floor
  Men of Shade
  Knight-Errant
  Water Fast (The Pearl Fishers)
  Tales of a Brave Ulysses
  Inside Seam
  Debriefing
  Naiad Trance
  Pyromania
  Tide Charts
  Village Idiot
  Clippership
  Flood
  Kipper, Tea and Oranges
  Tank-top
  Viewer Mail
  Seagulls
  Imagistic
  Living Room
  High Roller
  The Garden
  Canvassing



  "The voyage of the best ship
  is a zigzag line of
  a hundred tacks".
  Emerson



  FLASHPOINT

  1
  The moon has a larder
  and a kitchen,
  wears a nightcap
  as Father in the Night Before Christmas.

  2
  The moon hoards pistachios,
  marzipan
  commands the shadows
  is mustachioed
  sleeps in a sloop
  (at least when I look)
  like the boat
  owl and pussycat
  took to sea.

  3
  And on country nights
  in high summer
  fishing nets seem drawn
  about his face,
  reveal ribbons of light,
  eerie panhandlers grubbing quarters;
  a sinister sailor with a sack
  on a pitch black wharf.

  4
  Between clouds,
  leafy barques
  the hinge reflected on the
  thick, ashen door
  the moon will pirate
  your senses
  set them adrift
  amidst twilight islands
  in the mind's Outer Hebrides
  where mystery is king
  and the hem of robe you kiss
  is an envelope pilfered.



  MARZIPAN

  1
  A thick hole in the dark
  from which
  stars pour silver
  as in pails
  their runny divide
  ink-strewn scalps
  torn from the roof of the sky.

  2
  Padded footprints
  giant ferns blooming
  constellation prints,
  the wind an athlete
  pacing about a track
  drying thru fingerprints
  thin, nectarine light.

  3
  Sand down whitest skin
  moving past your hand
  a gown, mauve to green,
  iceberg lettuce,
  the black festering
  across a ribcage;
  while night arranges
  moths to dusting powder
  pucker-lipped
  fronds from afar

  4
  Afar, the word a gypsy
  tangled in the waves,
  foam from a medicine bottle
  agitated and strewn,
  bubbles calculated in gasps
  light into the distance
  forlorn
  tree-frogs, the cricket
  sound round deep
  --movement of night as
  a rumbling in the ground,



  SANTO DOMINGO

  In the crypt with Columbus
  in the crypt with Giovanni
  of Genoa, the diaspora driven Jew;
  watching flecks of the cathedral floor
  jade-eyed and mica afraid
  yawning down brown the abyss, his skeletal coffin
  thin accae wood,
  phlegm coloured
  flamed ointment
  of the saints
  in holy water
  bridging the little centuries.

  2
  Serpentine heavens
  in coiled stars
  heaving like passion fruit
  hung down piano wire.

  3
  Meteors douse the light
  of black stems,
  eye holes cut of old Spanish
  sailors; thin ghosts
  plundering night.

  4
  Melange tableaux
  peut-étre les étoiles
  sont oiseaux.



  WHITE CHINA PLATES I

  The moon hummed like a refrigerator,
  light thru shadows
  --the solitude of dusk closing in;
  black scars visible across
  the moon's face shaped like
  mountainous hands, all
  silent, the occasional leaf rustling.

  2
  My fork at plate's edge listening,
  listening to the haunting one eye
  on the staircase wall white
  as the numb light outside palest night.
  Caught off-guard, the musty settee
  and armchair acting as hallucinogen
  to the nostril, the calendar of events
  playing ghostly tag with sheer curtains
  hovering, shroud-like, on the family Bible
  big and brown as the Lord's foot stool.

  3
  The unravelling tale slowly much as
  thick yarn with a kitten
  batting it, one event at a time
  in sepulchre movement down a
  linoleum floor. Two twins burning,
  fever scalded in frigid water only
  shock setting in, dying to join
  the black creek water from which
  her unwilling buckets borrowed
  this liquid crucifixion and bitter vinegar.

  4
  Or the drive-house door, silent in precision,
  unseen hands before marauding
  hoofs in unison dark from windows' edge
  to better hear little poke of
  sleigh bells or harness rattling grim
  with a sick man's cough.

  5
  This admission of spectral animals
  somehow more unsettling than
  the young woman next combing her
  hair at the foot of the bed scaring
  the daylights out of me picturing
  the whereabouts of stockinged feet,
  these tricksters from another world;
  drum and kettle corps gypsy fife
  with harbinger doom to rasp of
  falling broom--
  old and yellow silky straw witch's hair--
  and a cat dark
  as the Devil's very bread.



  WHITE CHINA PLATES II

  You could have driven
  a pick-up truck
  thru spokes of that moon, so big and radiant
  this upended water chestnut--
  ground mist weeping
  in the shadows
  flutter of an old woman's shawl,
  the clammy smell like
  a child's fingers to the face,
  a little unsettling
  crickets and dew in brigades
  running tears on the old
  shoe leather.



  MAIL DROP

  A boat sits on the very shallows
  of a lake
  in egg-cup fashion,
  a tea-cosy covering waves,
  orchestrating the bob of colours
  in white enamel blue
  inverted water.

  Afar, the boat is a rasher of bacon
  a strip, stripling, stipend
  slicing the lake,
  distancing.

  The boat is an envelope
  at the end of the world,
  planet-sized, pea-green
  about to spin crazily
  into the sun at the
  end of a rifle-sized
  mail drop.

  The boat rides amid the
  between places of things,
  furtive longings
  where crones sit within
  waiting bushes &
  lizards visit skin,
  dirge of teeth gnashing
  the fringe canopy of
  flowing leaves.



  HEADDRESS

  Stravinsky's Firebird,
  Debussy's La Mer
  lilting arrangement like a windmill
  with a little Hottentot of a bird
  scurrying over leaves
  like hot coals,
  nest a pudding arrangement,
  oven-shaped,
  dappled with a string.

  She is alternatively
  lady of the green shoots,
  Empress of an Andes of twigs
  for this cow-pie upended
  between trees
  is fortress and manor,
  blockhouse and Maginot Line
  careening between the branches
  much as a sloth
  toe ambles
  across the roof of a forest
  gingerly stepping on noise,
  clinging to velvet footpads,
  sitting between shadows
  within the roar of a clearing.



  AIRBRUSH

  Iced coffee,
  wedge of toast--
  the sun poking thru
  cranberry glass
  delights exquisite Duchess of Berry,
  her decanters & an hourglass.

  Halo-hello in your fingertips
  I said,
  to a cadaver of light
  boldly striking a tuning fork
  to ring an engagement
  of gold flecks
  by your bed.

  Limoges vase
  for lace and pretty underthings
  for outside the stream
  steals my interest,
  wearing tumbledown silk pyjamas
  and a peek-a-boo smile that points
  thru reed curtains.

  A rustle from her chemise
  and sun parasol parts green boudoir
  draping shiny, black rock.

  The muddle of this earth-time puzzle,
  brief flutter to the eyelid's butter--
  I saw match-flare
  crocheted into the snake eyes
  of your dress.



  SWORDS AND ROSES

  Some lives have themes.
  Goldfish that stubbornly die;
  compatability only with distant lovers
  --flowers (but no sweet-breads)
  that wilt to the touch.

  Waiting. Charcoal-grey cat
  agreeably on a green linoleum table
  with light basking in....
  a tad playful,
  paws up,
  (classic boxer stance)
  but no one notices.
  Others oblique in their transparency,
  are unmindful of even the empty closet
  and greeting cards that smile hello.

  In the dark
  this room shimmers below
  life-raft status;
  chairs are buoys
  bobbing under waves
  of congealed fright.
  In the morning
  the first pigeons
  rifle over rooftops,
  mad flutterings like your eyes
  stabbing gables looking curiously
  like your heart.
  A tree bandaged in wood
  manages a feeble handshake
  with sky cajoling winter.

  But it is the moon,
  large and eerie,
  a golden earring
  mindful of a Chinese panda
  that plies its trade.

  Mandarin-like, a snout
  so cloud-entrenched
  soft night barely resembles
  willow and bamboo shoots
  the universe left to feed her.

  Nuggets or nougats?
  Should I call you "opaque",
  use coke-bottle glass as a
  symbol of light-headedness, transparency?
  Keen vision?
  Could it be more is known of outer space
  than your mind
  or that leaves,
  frosted with cold,
  are conducting interviews
  maliciously within the park fold?

  Rather (and this is so circumspect)
  no one owes anyone
  in the brisk coinage and trade
  that breeds human waste ...

  So drivel passes as conversation,
  a handshake for real investment.
  A lot in common, the wrong dreams.
  Pretty awareness, the desolate pennies
  stumble from our hands.

  More substance, really,
  in the rustle of a silk dress
  or static electricity
  that pops over orb-sized breasts.
  Hide and seek
  peek a boo,
  you don't need me
  I don't need you.



  MOONROCK

  She wears a cat encrusted T-shirt
  & panties with L*O*V*E
  guarding the Paradise door
  & when balm of night
  casts shadows,
  her face is moonrock
  distant to mysterious
  down storybook crags;
  her darling form cloaked
  in twilight garments
  of an inky earth.

  Gates of Venus,
  . . . as if feline whiskers
  whispered, wan cat eyes
  in amber dark glowed pale honey
  in alchemy or blur of soft movement
  was caress to stars' elopement
  with the sky.

  This woman summons fire,
  stokes furnaces to quicken parchment leaves
  of flame-thick desire,
  honed soft on ripples
  skin tones were curvaceous
  drift of oars, vivacious breast on buttock's
  door, more moisture bead
  holding regal court,
  this prance down wet & downy stair.

  Rain is a swift messenger
  paw prints
  with descent of night
  where moon
  becomes a plaything of
  clouds' passion,
  and pincushion
  upward surge of
  clammy earth.



  SMOKESTACK

  A small fish,
  its colors
  embers
  amid the swirling water;
  reminiscent of a
  café in darkness--
  the smokestack tablecloth fluttering
  in the matchbox breeze.



  TICKINGS OF A CLOCK

  I began to see old lanterns, books
  opening/folding within your eyes;
  a pale light running as silver
  to the sea.

  Then crestfallen leaves dangling
  as from fishhooks or the autumn moon's
  skeletal lightness tossing a path
  between waves over this sidewalk, that,
  with the back streets passing occasional
  hisses at the main culprit, night.

  The prim measurement of your smile,
  not the wan neglect of cool skin tones
  or fabric always more suggestive
  of summer colours, sideway movement
  of shadow into tickings of a clock.

  Rather mist and clamminess,
  lipstick in a smear as a
  thumbprint before the
  coughing of a motorcar
  as its elliptical wedge
  tears darkness
  away from sight.



  FLASHPOINT

  CHOPSTICKS

  Only marginal chances
  of finding a Great White
  in my coffee
  although the cigaret's tubular belly
  is flotsam against my hand--
  a dirty kerosene color, sleek & grey.

  2
  And stirring the embers of my cup,
  suppose the grinds become primitive shark lore
  of forgotten peoples or death sticks,
  dry rot teeth, fathoms
  squinting light.



  EQUINOX

  The four Equinox sisters,
  the one, Fox, streaked--
  all color, a blur
  a Bloomingdale's on fire,
  a wedge between Everest
  & her fortune.

  Samantha, the other
  dun-coloured
  earth-tide (in full bloom),
  blossoms vernally & literally
  busting out of her breeches with
  eyes like barely sugar.
  Jubilee. Fête de la vie.
  Lighthouse keeper beckoning twin
  shafts of warmth. Camberwell Beauty.
  Rattan Bar, shooting star.

  Carraciou (and castanet) an evening song,
  the most buxom but with dog days & tiresome moods
  flushed with heat.
  Tidewater in full ripple, a
  murmuring of abstract intelligence
  orchestrating summer's growth.
  Emerald keeper. Silken flax
  beguiling smile, wiggling toes.
  A stickler for detail, she was (with endless
  contortions) always in the grass.

  Brumaire, evaporating vapors,
  the most withdrawn &
  difficult to know--
  a dead leaf combed thru
  wind-swept hair.

  Infernally inclined, a modicum
  of sparse economy idly knotting ice thru
  a cadaver fence before putting on a brave show--
  her stern beauty and most commanding feature, snow,
  shone like almonds or stars twinkling from
  an anorexic fist.

  Alabaster, her prison whiteness
  this Brumaire.
  A clock, pier,
  immovable, still.

  Firing up the flashlight
  in the dark like
  beautiful woods sleeping.



  PENNY WISE, POUND POOR

  Fall was a tubercular cousin
  residing in the country
  sparse hair,
  rasping cough.

  2
  Night air was damaging
  stringing pumpkins
  around orange chains, the
  milkweed pod shivering
  in open shirtsleeves
  little noises sifting
  from burrows in her chest.

  3
  Fall was...
  reputedly from another country
  wore glaring cravats,
  gold leaf and Rubenesque chain;
  stalked the lark
  mocked the breeze.

  4
  Penny wise, pound poor
  leaves
  a shock of hair
  prematurely white
  degradingly picked from
  the comb
  flung out fireflies
  crisp bodies to singe
  fire-cold light.

  5
  Advancing stairs
  in poor light,
  the season became makeshift
  wallpaper
  hung by tedious hands.
  Little seep of plaster dirt
  escaping the touch,
  grass bristled by frost
  where occasional flower
  was torched with cold
  savaged bees
  stumbled from the weeds.



  METAPHOR

  There is a star near
  the hinge of planets,
  a barn under
  a cow's lick of moon--
  plausible people
  moving thru an
  airless universe.

  Pay attention to the frond of lilac
  . . . limestone troughs upon which
  thickets of Indian scalp &
  devil's paintbrush soar
  to the horizon
  and, afterwards,
  little creeks run
  with the sparrows of evening time
  in step to tiny boatmen
  that echo enamelled snails
  from the very consonants of earth.

  Rustle of leaves,
  some might argue
  breathless gasps
  to intone the savagery
  of little seasonal voices
  cut off
  mid-stream.

  A spate of bees,
  early colonizers
  deflower blossoms and
  strip-mine lava butter of erupting
  hard-shell tulips:
  such careless penetrations--
  volcanic intrusions entomb
  their hairy bodies caked with
  the iron-lung of blackened soot petals,
  each a cough drop
  on the heaving breath
  of a declining afternoon.



  EMBERS

  As you enter into dream--
  its the unconsciousness
  which stifles,
  the thin embers
  called flame
  that outdistance
  the controlled rubric
  of desire.



  SKIN

  Her emerald top
  phosphorescent candy glow
  stick candy,
  sno' cane--
  floss like
  the mane revealed beneath,
  spun hair matted/woven into
  icicle lengths & pubis mink.

  Her presence as a monk sliding
  under a cowl, jet-black velvet
  or midnight eye-liner shadow
  knotting strands of dark.

  She comes on waves--
  candelabra is a name
  deft movement of finger
  caressing storm, bare legs
  shining wet street lamps
  decantered ambered wine.

  Cigarette floating between lips,
  uncharted voyage of the smile
  where puffs of smoke
  are parrots' wings,
  incandescent show-girls
  in novelty across the flame.



  ASGARD

  In the ardour
  of an Asgard fire
  see adders from her
  vinous fire per
  adua ad astra.

  Listen to the wind--
  the ageless, intoning wind,
  a sea-hag encrusted on
  a mattress of waves.

  Cat's footfall,
  breath of fish
  the flowering beard of a woman.



  OLD BROMPTON ROAD

  "Death is but a sleep"
  quaint rationalization
  even to Revolutionaries.
  Think of Robespierre
  holding his bleeding jaw
  or Marat outside--
  eyeing the inscription,
  scofula no longer distracting while
  tepidly emptying bath water.

  2
  Dreams, poetry of painting,
  deathly pastel shades alongside
  granite canyons
  entwined with rosebuds and leaves--
  bone horseshoes clanking in the dark.

  3
  Catch basin, drainage ditch
  upon which the raspberry
  parts its tendrils and
  human remains, the loathing
  of the living ("not dead yet...."
  ...appropriate obscenity:)
  scrawled on one Victorian
  mortuary, windows knocked out,
  coffins in full view a
  hand's reach away on a dare
  dignitaries in a pile pried loose;
  one, few years hence across
  the Channel, sworn enemy
  to the French.



  STREET SCENE

  No open barge
  crowded with nameless waifs
  or junks in a teeming harbour
  --just odours spilling from
  a back alley,
  stair wells littered with cheap saki
  bottles, one propped
  to rifle the door.



  IN MY BOOKS

  The way I figure it, a number of people are
  out of control at any given time ...
  gin rummy & hockey notwithstanding.

  Mickey bottles and varicose veins
  are sure signs of indulgence
  as are, proof-positive, speed-traps &
  roll your own Black Cat.

  Sure 'nuff, even Sunday driving stands
  at the motor edge of frenzy while
  Mom's apple pie is little more than just peaches & cream
  home baked greed.

  Take stock car racing or the trots, Little Orphan Annie
  Comics or Budweiser. Vice, like charity, starts at home.

  Each curtails a larger problem and self worship
  begins the moment your zipper opens.



  MADE IN SPACE

  Mood food. In deep, deep water
  without the thought of water bottom,
  I thought of you.

  Sous la peau rouge,
  Chartreuse, I thought
  of you.

  Dans le cafe du paradis,
  ile au emeraude.
  Cascades aux ecrivisses
  la belle aux Bois dormant.
  Tir a l'arc, volcon.

  Precious little majesty to Words
  nor necromancy of place names,
  ma douce.

  Partout, je te vous.



  GODIVA

  Lingerie,
  black pumps
  a navel creamy enough
  to drown a kitten--
  the clothes assemble
  in microwave fashion
  --crackle of fire--
  the silver pants zoom across legs
  with curves so caress bound
  a formula racing driver
  might tumble.

  As eyes rise
  in jade lantern face
  & hair is brushed
  with all sheen aside,
  the lady is more than
  a Godiva
  or Goldwyn-Mayer cinematic production,
  this oasis of sparks,
  twin peaks of McKinley-Matterhorn fame,
  her calendar of words
  pulling Oil of Olay
  & perfumed honey thru
  each studied remark.



  PELÉE

  The night before ...
  sultry Martinique, a
  tortoise shell cat
  climbed, lap to pipe,
  amid curbs of orange smoke.

  2
  Mount Pelée, a
  smoking hard hat
  with the candle-wax of longing
  gutting in paraffin for
  30,000 souls sent to the Crematorium
  her harbour hissing
  lava foam;
  even coffee beans fused into
  other metal bits, a
  danse macabre twittering machine,
  (nature au contraire),
  tortoise shell improviso with
  splotched colours weaving dawn's light
  & feline crouching.

  3
  --the curl of her island's paws
  lanced in heat,
  brief wisps tugging Pelée's
  synopsis (dark & smouldering), with
  cat eyes glowing
  up the mountain dark
  into vegetative whiskers.

  4
  Pull of my pipe full leap of centuries
  before the bite of the stem
  dumped fire again



  PELÉE: MAY 8, 1902

  With the smile of morning
  in her purse,
  the dark laughter of her
  cat napping
  in the crevice, half-alert,
  Martinique (angelique)
  on padded paws
  climbs from night.

  I saw her hair-brush
  the lava to warm the bay,
  crinkle little St. Pierre
  jammed into one
  parking lot, volcanic embrace.

  In the little museum
  --the holocaust cenotaph--
  Nature pared essentials to the bone,
  a cauldron of smoke
  peers from old photographs
  to cement (danse macabre)
  bric à brac ivy/stone and
  coffee beans wedded
  in grandeur
  fission-fusion-froideur
  resembling masses of bees,
  grotesqueries & beards
  upstaging even Miro & the distant surrealists;
  where reality masked vampire fiction to
  roll sulphuric heat toward belches of
  St. Pierre's prison.

  And Cygnet
  (his name close in French to "Swan"
  leg-irons)
  (subterranean chamberling peeking out),
  undaunted solitary survivor--
  the bars on his charnel house
  were the fingers of God
  pointing the way free.



  ELECTRA

  Fantasy, Capri. The edge of a pillow.
  Certain words--murmur, seashells.
  A face beckoning thru time, lacy windows with
  purple shades simultaneously drawn.
  Tears of gold. Love signs,
  glass of champagne.

  A tree of hemlock nearby. A delightful print
  tablecloth that signals the breeze. The courtier
  in fancy dress. Twin bottles of vintage wine abreast
  rider and horse.

  Potables. A blue eggshell. The sun stirring Virginia Creeper
  that moves in unison with the wind.

  Electra and electricity, the current that prods the mind.



  SIDEWAY LOOK

  It's snowing and all I can think of
  are leaves to wrap your memory,
  leaves pungent as tea,
  green curls alive
  with the promise of fire,
  shutes like fingers
  to play a tap on your skin.

  The snow is wet like your eyes at parting,
  cold as the promise of a winter dawn
  wet again as city-streets
  I must tread to make a living,
  the flask of wine
  pressed to my lips.

  On the winter landscape all
  I see is the ghost white of sheets,
  our sheets wrapped to keep breath warm
  the log cannisters of our bed
  a heady raft upon which to travel
  to burn up an ocean of delight.



  LOLITA GARDENS

  A man weeps at your ankles,
  climbs the stairs to peek-a-boo
  panties, with finger clasps,
  a Rapunzel lowering your hair,
  the long-matted braids
  a skilful weaver turns to gold.

  An ivy forest in
  a castle impregnated with doors,
  the prince overhears the code
  "let down your hair" and,
  with perilous grasp,
  mounts the stirrup wall,
  foot to clasp,
  searching cloud grey &
  storm blasts for billowy mists
  green within this empress queen.

  Walking plasticine ledge
  in the shower with a mermaid
  soaping her perfumed treasure trove,
  at an intersection within that woman,
  her tulip trees explode--
  faeryland syrupy,
  tasting of apricot and sugar cane;
  a swallow parting indigo sky.



  UNPAGINATED

  Orchestrating violins thru whisky sky
  clouds slide like billiard balls
  a Jackie Gleason-Fats Domino
  ricochet off greener velvet;
  my pheasant escaping snow.

  Jack Ketch the hangman
  in brilliant plumage,
  a touch of Borgia in
  long, murderous hands.

  The light of Capone in
  steeple-dark eyes
  running like a
  haunted ship
  around the white, facial disc.

  Offset. Bold type.
  I see you through pages
  of my history book
  only you're unpaginated.

  Unclench the fist,
  watch for effervescent islets,
  erotic mounds of Venus or
  protuberances called Marquesas
  off my left hand.

  Omens are the cloth
  of dreams, scissors
  used to open sky.

  Work out cosmic debts--
  figure stone footprints on Hollywood Blvd.
  en route to Tijuana for a start;
  I should have been Buddha incarnate
  or curator at the Hermitage,
  wild shaman for the Arapaho
  not a cocoa butter salesman
  from New Jersey, nagging
  soda-jerk in L.A.
  'bout the time
  of Marilyn Monroe's
  quick magic.

  The Almighty unpacking orange crates,
  sending Florida cold
  unravelling karmic debt,
  brass studs in your eye
  mowing suckers with your scythe;
  Birthpath urge, Father Time,
  de-gutting chickens at Pleasure Farms
  looking to Hindoos for clues
  (placing roaches on a lucky few.)

  This hurdle over stones
  crass fortitude ensemble,
  strange melange
  spewing nails,
  elbows round thin pain
  gutter cathedral looming into view
  where there
  is more viscera than mirth before
  ripples of enchantment
  cause vibrations at four
  and the phrenology
  of universal measure
  is a moon
  ribcage in light
  --gazelle of trees
  a dinosaur in height.



  SEQUIN

  A youthful bandit
  this forest--
  faltering eyelids in mud troughs
  & puddles like
  brisk lies
  woven thru deception.

  Stealing autumn into
  its colours,
  leaves in birchbark rustle
  a full mauraud stealth
  across every breeze.

  Thief, thief
  elf with a key,
  a thousand rasping angels
  their throaty javelins
  hurled from branch's edge,
  brief pageant robbing
  summer's pantry.

  Offal of the fall,
  the lake a sequined glove
  tossed from a careless hand;
  a rowboat as a buckle
  chromatic foam
  for a finger's fan.



  YELLOW HAIR

  With that lime green hairnet
  commonly used by butterfly dispatchers--
  something your aunt might have commandeered
  to put her hair up donkey's years ago,
  I unjarred the bottle of air &
  with a pair of forceps
  tried to wrangle the life juices
  from a Polyphemeus[1] in a manner akin to Ulysses
  in that cave three millenia ago;
  his gentle bleating like the whine
  of the net across the gelatin fabric
  of air or the flash of a tomahawk gliding
  across Custer's golden hair.

  [1] Large buff silk-moth with two eyespots on the hind wings named for
  the giant Polyphemeus in the Odyssey. Ulysses had the giant blinded
  with a sharpened pole.



  PILTDOWN MAN

  Popping out of the dark
  reddish "Merry Christmas" haze
  twinking blinking land of Nod (or
  rather it's Ned, the hefty trucker);
  eyes, steel-belted radials,
  in a rig big like Santa Claus;
  a Stegosaurus
  swinging sabre-toothed tail
  & flexing padded paws
  to gobble night.

  Loads so dreary-weary their chrome-plated
  swamps are debris after a tank battle
  for troglodyte trilobites &
  chocolate coloured ooze
  belching brown down funnel flaps
  to carve deep bellows inside earth.

  Such energetic slaves
  to cough & sound their
  wheezing sandy blasts make for
  breaks in a clearing
  for I see our trucker,
  eons from now,
  wedded to sentiment and rock
  perfectly preserved (to the dismay
  of future inhabitants), a fossilized
  remnant complete with
  steering wheel embedded in his chest
  (forlorn and anatomically correct much as
  dolls used in assault cases).

  In a vision,
  envisage his life
  replete to the last Raggetty-Anne detail
  --straw-coloured hair, for one,
  looms like binder-twine or
  horse-hair thread tugged from a dirty mattress
  which props a toque or baseball cap,
  tobacco staining the resident
  gum chewing Neanderthal
  with tartan lumberjack shirt.

  Contact with Piltdown Man,
  soggy Homo Erectus
  given to gunning engines,
  churning rubber as cavemen
  might in the
  La Brera tarpits.

  Consider a farmer
  brief centuries ago
  stumbling onto a similar scene
  pocketing no cloverleafs
  of his own pasture's making
  but concrete expressways
  looming thru the fog
  & damp, then
  coming to his senses,
  hard-pressed as I.



  SPANKED

  Buying up egg rolls at 50¢ a kick,
  they royally entered our bloodstream
  --a riot of sensation
  akin to dynamite caps
  kicked off in the brain.

  Later, sitting in the booth
  a chocolate brown wall
  to aid the digestion;
  a frumpy waitress
  plunks water down
  to complete the feast.

  Taken back, the surcharge
  at such festivities exorbitant,
  we squander in exact change
  the full price to do it again.



  THE CROWKEEPER

  "She gallops night by night through lovers' brains...."

  I see grindstones in the sky,
  pots of tulips overturned
  --big tug of the reins
  and chestnut hair
  is seen before the windowpane
  with chance & more chance lost to
  frost or hungry bees
  this still autumn eve.

  Darling,
  walls that division us
  are envelopes of passion
  bridging trust, seal it
  lest it rust.

  Skeletal scrapings
  make for poor bedding
  (this poor rhinoceros of lies)
  the devil gliding about so disguised
  on his tentacle and toenail chair
  (inviting lair) or is it
  hiccup and bandaged prayer
  yet stalwart wall is a rosary bead
  thick ale and bread to hungry snail
  or, better, lips to Romeo's blushing pilgrims.

  Then, sudden, I'm old--
  on a bench counting stars
  where each is a radiant patch of energy
  leased to the dark,
  an emblem burst mailed from eternity,
  spark to cigaret's flame
  to burn these little suns
  as cupid tails; your "bright eye, scarlet lip,
  fine foot, straight leg
  and quivering thigh."



  CUANDO-CUBANGO

  Moths, if they dream dusk,
  sport esurient hip-flasks on their wings--
  gangster rum-runners better to sully dark,
  traverse caravans of colour
  amid silk-routes
  to dazzle Prester John,
  cork unscrew the unicorn horn askew.

  2
  Compte de la Mothe
  escadrilles/flotillas
  D'Entrecasteaux
  with Bougainville discovering
  well, Bougainvillaea and I,
  latter day la Perouse,
  cunningly amuck on coral
  adoration and wine,
  (red as scarlet leaves)
  chenille, frangipanni and the Marquis house colours
  of the flame-bitten tropics.

  3
  Let me scandalize why.
  Watch the sea churn
  to white bubbles then coat
  your nostril with brine
  to run a finger
  down brown skin passing
  for the Bronze Age.

  4
  Notice the invention of sun,
  a cloak suspended
  in a canopy-canoe profusion
  (left over from the first dawn,)
  oasis of calm,
  patter of motes and beams.
  Garden of Shalimar.

  5
  My sentiments exactly.



  ONOMATOPOEIA

  One thing about this type of education, it certainly taught an
  individual to be philosophical about death.

  He could ruminate conversably on the ultimate fate of a Greek
  shade or the Mesopotamian interpretation of the underworld.
  Even contemplate figuratively what Achilles felt was his true
  funeral abode.

  Shoel. The grave. Romantic poetry might have little practical
  application but it was great conversational stuff.

  A book or two by obscure authors sure broke the ice at parties,
  was unbeatable verbal jousting.

  Too bad the joke was on him for majoring in it.

  Few people really cared what onomatopoeia was or that
  Presquile was in Maine. Worse, they acted like you were nuts
  for studying the Aeneid. The Aeneid! It did, too, have
  importance. Literature, that is.

  Why it gave a man depth, a presence, a gracefulness that
  transcended petty, material strivings. Too bad, one couldn't
  show the white palms of one's hand for a living or revel in soft
  flesh as the natural mark of a born aristocrat. O tempora, oh
  mores: that the classics had fallen so low.

  It was maddening that literary civilization was within a hair's
  breadth at being snuffed by the ordinary convention of task
  bearing.

  Being a poet, so basic to everything, didn't even show up on
  Manpower's computer scan.

  The universities didn't care they were having the times of their
  lives parsing verbs and conjugating declensions, telling
  graduates "the pendulum will swing".

  The best retort for that was the pithy epigram of the working
  man toiling in honest sweat within the secure bounds of a trade.



  AT THE RED THROAT

  In youth, Death was
  a puny boy possessing but
  wormy hands & fleshless fingers
  as in Witch Hazel
  or Scrooge's Future Ghost
  --that insipid Evil One
  Hansel so easily outwitted
  in a gingerbread house.

  Time brought increased notoriety.
  Saucy times with a soupçon of respect
  for the artful dodger.
  Givens change, an armful of
  orange lilies, limp & loathsome,
  on a tombstone door
  before trumpets of rain.

  Graven images. Lifeless stone.
  Death became stone.
  Stone empty. The maggot emptiness
  burrowing into chiselled easel and
  the stone-cutter's savage magic.
  Just a bitty stone
  to herald a passing.

  Night-jars.
  Old straw-chairs with
  a broom pronouncing
  the wall base with its touch empty,
  the empress of bandages
  leaning to rags

  On table scraps,
  sorry gloom of an old building
  by a pickled lake
  leaking into ebb twilight.

  The coronation of the nightmare,
  the moon with her billowing robes and withered spoon
  unfolding midstream ...
  la cauchemar ou
  dénudée soirée
  to discover, with wonder, ices with sherbet
  reek like nightsweats;
  a windsail of pooled light
  thru puddles of trees.

  Brackish backwater--
  thoughts of black ice
  and huddled masses of silver
  breaking thru the sun's
  winter curtain as erupting coins.



  SHAMROCK

  Is there anything prettier than that--
  to stare into your manifold spaces
  toward the hook & vine
  of cathedral leaps,
  the vaults & crypts
  as go-betweens of an earthy worship,
  the supine female form?

  By quiet pools,
  thrush in the thicket
  with red berry behind its eye,
  miniature sun
  proceeding by the branch
  to undress the bark
  with leaves as
  passionate culprits
  kissing dark.

  Clasped hands
  upward lies the sky
  my masterpiece angel,
  I bite lush meadows,
  tread spongy brooks,
  endear daring small of back,
  crevice taste nape and neck,
  a beatific pilgrim nearing
  a fleshy way-station,
  first charting his compass,
  fathoming a probe
  to collect armfuls of starlight &
  shade, hair, eye, lip like fragrant sea-grape
  --pine & cedar bough in love-lorn resin smile.



  LOST PATROL

  Blue walls were grottoes,
  subterranean panels
  for covert messages, the
  occasional mot juste
  squirrelled up thru paint & memory.

  Something like guitar strings dangling
  only you employed
  tear sheets from Rolling Stone
  (counter-culture fly paper
  to catch the runny masses).

  The blue walls existed as
  firing ranges, gunpowder
  plots for ideas scribbled
  on pencil waves
  like the movement
  of snakes (or commandoes
  on their bellies) thru
  desert sand.

  Blue walls. Blue grottoes.
  Blue moods to temper finger oases
  (tap-tap of skeletal tree on your window pane)
  crawling thick with pregnant fruition
  with the bayonet lull of words.

  Snippets of that legacy (hobnailed like a
  lost patrol)
  forlorn as yellowing pages
  or dusky petals unfolding.



  BLACKAMOOR

  Breaking up--
  as in the cloissoné jar you dropped. . .
  little regard,
  a few brittle pieces scattered about the floor.
  Let's call it "shedding feelings". Expensive?
  There's always another humidor tucked away in
  the cranny of another antique shop; after all,
  a woman is only a woman
  although a fine, Cuban import
  is a worthy smoke.

  "What this country needs is a good 5¢ cigar".
  Panatellas?
  He might have added tight-fitting, long lasting.

  Nooks & crannies.
  Little things, your ways. Fruit fly (perhaps damsel wing)
  as symbol of perishability. My emblematic coat of arms.
  No season of regrets, rather
  snatch of minutes, the oasis span of a single candle.

  Who knows?
  The sun nudging petals
  at the close of another day.
  Your eyelids casting shrouds (and shadows),
  the long funeral walk of your hair across the pillow.
  Then awakening. You gathering tresses much as a bird trilling
  feathers.
  Clandestine, these
  rendez-vous' Clementines.

  Air of mystery and melancholy street,
  the moon up & poking
  holes in my argument.
  Tedious fingers,
  no account
  matter of factness
  lasting eternities.

  Imagine, you & this moon,
  dowagers together crotchety,
  decades hence, making tea.
  Curls of black leaves, grumbling.

  Blackamoor and sadness,
  cult king of empty
  transforming the bright & ruddy
  complexion into barely honourable dishwater.

  You can ask what this means.
  A cough. Twirl of spoon
  in a cup, deafening answers.

  I prefer the lonely
  wine bottle,
  egret in flight & motion,
  retaining dignity across
  a crumpled, brown bag.
  Listless, linoleum floor.



  UP FROM THE FLOOR

  They sit in silence. In camera, around the table. Terrifyingly
  stern, stares that grew antlers in my eyes.

  It was as if thunder or bolts with electricity were being decreed.
  The self-important, the pompous, well-fed and self-assured.
  Here to hazard a fling of the dice--to decide whether another
  should eat.

  Employment. The interview. One with yellow tusks protruding
  to his coffee cup. Eyes, some primordial forest cut for a
  firebreak back of his soul. And I think of the desperate, those
  lacking bus-fare to get to such a carnival. Valuable postage
  money, photocopying, scrimped dollars for a suit to entertain
  the pumpkins dicing for a worthless garment. A scavenger run,
  piles of white applications heaped as bones in a graveyard made
  careless after a violent storm.

  Or elephants in tow, trunks wrapped around the other waiting
  for the ringmaster to signal the question important; whether
  a neophyte new at sharpening his teeth at a daily wage should be
  allowed presence onto such a hallowed ground.

  And I think such things are the very matter of evil--that these
  are vile intemperates with their accursed shortlists deigning to
  be gracious, shaking hands after the fact. Mafioso manners, the
  sickly grins back of the shovels used to bury another.



  MEN OF SHADE

  All the candles are passing out, one by one.
  They have evaporated their brightness,
  overpowered limpid cracks in their own flames, seized
  the outpouring air with hesitant breath to brave
  a flicker of new hearth while knocking holes against
  the warm men decorating fireside shade.



  KNIGHT-ERRANT

  A well-thumbed book
  like a well-thumbed life,
  "whilst you walk this earth"
  yet nothing is "afoot",
  as so many small boys
  throwing stones through the funeral parlour
  glass door.

  A cake-walk? Being alive and interacting
  across the face of the multitude is terrible
  algebra running into unfathomable sums.
  "Doing your sums", my grade school teacher
  used to say and I still am. Whippersnapper,
  learning lessons in a strange stamina
  sort of way.

  One of the multitude died last night &
  is now "resting" in a large, Victorian parlour.
  Even the walls grimace. I went by, caught a peek
  at the assemblage chasing thru rain to see his
  last hurrah. Look, "parlour" can be deadly serious
  even if ice-cream and pizza attach dead-pan humour
  to the term. Imagine, picking the last day of the
  month to go packing. Finale.

  "Going down to the sea in ships". Death as voyage escaping
  prison confines of the harbour. Cliches donate dim glimpses
  into the apparent.
  One sees a lot by the moon.
  Crisp, fall air and
  leaves yellowing
  frightened from their wits
  to end their brief, balloon walk. Such
  faraway faces of Eve and a boat
  moored to a dock.

  Crossing streets--
  a gray, fusillade church,
  knight-errant, breaks the night.
  Trees chuckle in coves through wispy clouds.
  Madonna's face in a shawl only it's not on the
  stained glass window I see her. She seems
  to be pouting. Ashamed of what we have to go through
  at the end of this filth and stupidity? Restrictions?
  Death lifts them in one heave of the casket. More illuminating
  are the mourners. Dashing thru the sleet in brief poignancy;
  shrill, old voices that knew the deceased reciting
  what can only be the obvious. Leaden eyes that cast no shadow.

  Hardly analogous to being "called home" or "going to their
  reward".
  More light is cast by the street lamp, the pale glow of fireflies
  and neon signs winking-drinking waves like the fisherman's
  cork.

  This place is holy to me. A shrine. Night air with mist
  collecting,
  watching flames shuffle over hearth-stones; leaves mount a
  glade.

  The bitterest berry, flower to lily of the valley. A heart that
  makes gravelly noise. Tiny angel spread of petals, no black
  funeral vestments for me.

  Standing close to the clock and thinking.
  A luxury bought with time,
  in every evening weeping in the corner.



  WATER FAST (THE PEARL FISHERS)

  Shopping in their heads
  --a man a pair of shoes
  right colour (tan, off-white) shape--
  only good physiques need apply,
  degree, tall;
  self-confidence a "must".

  Not yuppie, really,
  more consumerism as in
  I made the grade (she really
  thinks this; meanwhile, she's
  plump, dull).

  Standing in the showroom window,
  she spies the mirror image of herself.
  Your attitude is your altitude.
  Of course, he's "polished"
  (tho' not worn), urbane
  witty--this goes without saying.
  Well-travelled, maybe, though potential
  liability, here, suggestive of footloose.
  Restless. Perhaps given over to bouts
  of hedonism--a dangerous portent.

  Feel I've stumbled back in time,
  holding court with Cesare Borgia,
  Lorenzo the Magnificent significantly
  transformed to a Renaissance courtier.
  Harpsichord and madrigal in hand (& head,),
  I recite my litany.

  I pack a mean wallop--
  humour, I mean,
  for no one on this spic 'n span
  planet wants somebody too droll.
  Intensity is a ripple from the sixties.
  "Relationship", kickback to the after-glow
  on-glow seventies.

  Eighties women love "feedback",
  "interfacing". Its fashionable to
  think chic. Restless troubadours
  should be dyed in their own ilk.
  Sporty chaps are in demand, ones
  with visceral longing for babies &
  the peroxide smell of Javex in
  diaper pails wafting thru their nostrils.
  Heady brew, Perrier & BMW types.

  Chrome-plated men with the
  razzle-dazzle of the Boardroom
  tugging at their cufflinks.
  Mutual funds equates with mutual interests.

  The man's wishes?
  A dollop of Dijon mustard on you!
  Hitting the nail on the head.
  Holding up her middle finger
  to dry nail polish, I see
  my future and, golly,
  does it ever shine.



  TALES OF BRAVE ULYSSES

  Artists (astrologers never lie)
  are birthed when
  Venus is rising--
  not against cat's whelp
  (eye of newt, tongue of frog)
  calamitous mist or London fog;
  far, ferny forbidding fenn.

  When Venus rises, yes
  dons Botticelli's cloak
  or was it her hair
  gathered in tresses
  long by lovely handfuls
  parading it all
  on a patty shell
  --her twin oysters ambrosia
  a Ulyssean mirroring winedark sea,
  purpling color of a robin's egg.

  Artists are born
  in something of Venus . . .
  conceived along coral-corral
  highway lariats, foam
  of passion
  modern cowgirl
  lowering the drapes.



  INSIDE SEAM

  Having wilderness cracks
  in emotional facades
  chinks within
  to let cabins in.

  2
  Porous wind
  examining pavement,
  foot-sore maybe loose
  winding entrails
  of our hearts
  into lavatory paper;
  would that it pleased
  riddled trees
  --more whistling,
  poked holes
  across oasis tracks
  wandering spaces.

  3
  Blistering thought,
  paint flecks
  chipped in the mica-afraid
  heat of wan-ton passion;
  (acknowledging debts to Chinese cuisine)
  a wan smile
  left from which
  I pretend to remember all.

  4
  Love-smitten
  to lend
  the reach of your arm--
  sighs,
  droop to
  hips heaving
  a droll verandah
  (like curtain's edge
  across the exhausted wall).

  5
  Besmirched stain,
  The lavender hoop
  of your belt is a winding lizard's skin
  or perspiring rope
  to anchor the filmy edge
  of letters written,
  not sent.

  The breeze,
  quiet wind--
  a chipmunk
  with woodchips
  poked into a grin.



  DEBRIEFING

  I won't envy the heat this August.
  The fall (English say autumn)
  burrowing like urinating dogs
  thru trees,
  carrying winter woolies
  with sniff of air
  crisscrossing the lion's tamer's
  path I must trod
  when snow hits.

  2
  No, I won't envy searing blasts
  be they inclement
  weather or lost souls
  bargaining with rain.
  Acceptance . . . they say
  is the key
  and the word clangs like chimes
  into my biology, a grandfather clock
  to my own chamber music, a
  little something to cheer and
  serenade the buffeted spirit.

  3
  Think still thoughts in gloomy houses
  when petals cry burst in springtime.
  This is done in preparation
  for brighter moments
  ecstatically greeting
  November chill,
  devouring the last chestnut,
  cursing wheat-cakes over
  winter's fire.

  4
  A pleasant page
  crammed in the tumbler briefcase
  carrying my life's thimble,
  rocketing toward
  a brilliant destiny
  all 4 seasonal planets
  orchestrating mood;
  the patch quilt procupine
  quill emotion tapestry
  working overtime like
  a fish hook thru
  brain's inner eye, ocular
  hair shirt pulled on
  at warning's glance
  to trigger the way I boil eggs;
  devour slivers of wood
  on learning another day
  kicks ass from
  the horizontal pillow.



  NAIAD TRANCE

  The leaves on their trumpet flames
  Richter scale inside pulse stems--
  into the gorge, la gorge
  throat and crevice
  of the canyon arroyo.

  Walking the slit
  into rheumatism earth
  the twilight pain
  of Paleozoic ice,
  Jurassic Age
  whence rupture
  sculpted rock

  River precipice
  the afternoon dangling like shadow
  beside taiga sun
  lost to dark & rain
  toward the water now,
  ever, and chemical rushing sound.

  Chameleon, I would swear
  this journey was that,
  worse, sorceress on my emotions;
  I left pathways contoured with Merlin rock
  & trees like Babbitt refugees
  from the Nahanni,
  fearful Dogrib aboriginals
  swarming my imagination
  their scalp-locks loaded for bear.

  Arabesque boulder,
  lavender curls of winter-wind swept moss and
  berets of tiny, dead soldiers. The
  moisture between
  you and clearing.

  Hushed forest
  an envelope edge
  of moisture patterns,
  more leaves
  in reindeer formation
  asserting themselves
  in beckoning sleighs and
  trance of veined, elfin hand
  skirting cracks & fissure gloom.



  PYROMANIA

  She had a fireplace--
  the sexual kiln
  of her pyromaniac
  desire,
  a brick embedded in heat,
  white hot coal to ember,
  her lust flaring red,
  soot to powder
  dark as charcoal
  smear, a walk
  across shimmering mirror.



  TIDE CHARTS

  To create dream--
  the pearl thru wine effect,
  oil and vinegar viscidity
  of giant salad leaves
  basking on the
  broken picnic table
  like so many lemurs
  taken to a
  Malagasy forest.

  Liverwurst on rye,
  cuff-links drag
  the hard, mica table;
  so, why be afraid
  'cause spume from waves
  glows upward
  in so many trails of
  grey-laden smoke?

  This island looks like a loaf,
  a dot or mole on inviting cheeks,
  to me; so wary, invariably, of land
  (and perhaps the Sand Man)
  amongst all those wandering eyes,
  especially the sea-scape,
  curl of snake
  illuminated
  in a sudden, tropic shower.

  See the sudden bandanna of rock
  squeezed so tight by
  shore's edge that a
  grim hammer of stones
  intones a warning?

  Its back from the wars
  to dive, there, among
  threads of water
  where needle eyes of little
  fish ("young fry of treachery")
  are so scalpel-like
  dunes and eddies
  of living colour
  shake you.

  To slake a thirst.
  For adventure.
  For precision.
  Try a lavender roll of water
  curved in bite recess
  much as a conch's outer shell
  dons triple-ripple effect.

  Up the stakes. Skillets off the
  meandering edge are pounding
  undertows and riptides resemble
  porters in foreign airports
  who simply smile. . .

  Purple dye
  on white toga,
  water retches up
  on land.

  A necklace, this activity, in warm shallows.
  Consciousness raising--reef life coming
  into contact with the bumper edge to freedom.

  Heavenly bodies
  parry light from the moon,
  wrath from a deeper bellows
  cough up one hand
  raised in silver mourning.



  VILLAGE IDIOT

  Dodder capitulates on his bum,
  skulks under fence posts
  a twitch of Timothy weed prying
  apart his massive lips.

  A strip of lavatory paper
  his golden rule; the
  merrie lad bakes ready made
  surprises to the jowled response
  of his parting brains.

  The mastication of shoe laces
  on tired leather jerkins akin
  to grinding Michelin rubber--his
  reedy voice in overbite haste
  rounding corners like a club-footed
  dog travelling edgewise
  from his master's sight.



  CLIPPERSHIP

  Pausing to see
  light thru chinks
  the corner door
  battered barn floor
  musty webs and pebbled face
  expect shadows from
  flecked dust, yet
  damsel flies
  with doily edge
  blanket the air
  a throaty radiance
  in angel hair
  and stepping stones to
  nearest crevice
  and laddering place.



  FLOOD

  White ermine/white semen,
  green eyes jade from the night.

  Eternity falls in sparrow,
  an inch-worm down
  a pear-coloured leg,
  within this droplet
  lies coiled raptures
  of a snake,
  anointed coils
  musky as in woolen handshake
  where tributaries turn into socks
  wrapped to the vertebrae clasp
  of a teenager's leg.

  My fingers are
  frying skillets
  slow-boiling water, with precision,
  your rivers & chasms,
  a vagina white knuckle rafting
  across your enchantment.



  KIPPER, TEA AND ORANGES

  Our lives evaporating as we talk,
  flypaper from cosmic ceiling--

  We gather stardust,
  mnemonics, perhaps,
  re-arrangers of mystic twigs
  into a pattern.

  Look to the sky,
  les nuages, l'ombre
  les arbres alla primavera
  "magnificio", said I
  with real relish &
  snap of ring-encrusted fingers,
  distant God, not quite Himself,
  behind a podium exiting the band shell.



  TANK-TOP

  I was playing sonatas on your skin--
  no beauty & the beast scenario
  though the Tower pulchritude was intact
  with enough purple agape grape leaves
  and ivy for a fig-leaved Eve
  with wind wet at the windows
  (and later the willows),
  where gravelly, cloven hooves became party
  to my thoughts; for you,
  blessed with a triangular patch,
  --and something like strawberry--
  lay moist & woven into strict tapestry
  like a mantle covering
  abrupt oasis of skin
  (the better to peer in).

  I scaled the heights
  not castle vaults, mind you,
  but the elevator shaft and draw-bridge equivalent
  of a white charger--
  fierce visor in place
  --armour gleaming--
  a sabre rattling at my side
  be-jewelled & twinkling
  the key clinking
  there, to corner distance
  (time & space)
  dragons to be dirked and slain.

  Fiery eye, forked tails
  donut-sized scales
  plastered as a calendar
  or shingler might a tiled roof
  --the empty spell
  Bellerophon spying his Lady in a belfry
  on driving home.



  VIEWER MAIL

  The sky was
  a ringed net of honeyed light,
  (colours from peeled apples)
  funnelling cloud ...
  tumbler over dice
  (the carrot throat
  lemonade pie)
  twin coins in a fountain
  brief lantern spark amid
  twittering noise.

  The trees were awaiting giants
  gathered to fumble about the river
  noiseless bridge
  and, I, skyscraper man
  dangling a reflection,
  (afternoon tea)
  muddy me
  Jimbob expression
  water angling for dirt.



  IMAGISTIC

  There in the cosmos--
  white dwarfs launch a black rooftop
  imagistic, clean as a pantry,
  the twilight roads with ledges lean
  like raw openings.

  And coming upon stars
  in a country woodhouse
  --cold, big as frozen pears,
  each breath of light visible
  thru chinks & clusters
  of broken ceiling wood;
  hands raw & nipped sawing logs--
  breath menacing the depths
  on inner space, something pale
  and profoundly suggestive.



  LIVING ROOM

  If anatomy were a contact sport,
  the stomach would be a football
  éstomac, hammock
  sagging . . . .
  the container of riotous living
  pried loose.

  And the head--
  a barrel of nails,
  binder-twine
  unravelled into knots;
  the brain a cauliflower
  for flavouring,
  precious little else.

  Spare the heart
  its dagger pleasure
  inveighed from the start.



  HIGH ROLLER

  1
  Terrorism--
  left-wing nerd (twin
  grapefruits in his hand
  gives it away)
  winging a stiletto shoe,
  spitting on an ashcan
  to bring up a bruise or two.

  2
  Visions are steadier--
  I see in the shimmer
  blue veins to target,
  a silhouette of the rich,
  fur wraps in their Bentleys
  time to bring up tar,
  kick ass in Knightsbridge
  with my holiday bomb blast.

  3
  Bag snatching can be dangerous
  let go if you don't want to be
  dragged over cobbles behind a Vespa.

  4
  The Harrod's sign, "please keep
  moving" meant business.

  5
  Pretoria calls as does Manila.
  Later, perhaps, Jerusalem, Beirut,
  Rawalpindi.

  6
  Closer to home (I am of the Red Army
  faction) is the Bologna train station.

  7
  Counting hours down
  my button line,
  three less then
  pay-off, squeakily clean.

  8
  London seems indifferent
  to my destiny; even the
  tube buskers and streeties
  see not a harbinger
  but another shuffling
  cold-assed long hair.

  9
  The wired whisky bottle
  in the airport locker
  will make La Guardia look to
  the Statue of Liberty for deliverance,

  10
  I'll send the Hotel Crillon
  so far up the Eiffel
  they'll have to sandblast
  the sky.

  11
  My mentors
  spic 'n span boys
  no wild-eyed radicals
  with socks that won't stay up,
  rather gumless wizards
  taking Confederate rain,
  mainlining a little
  to keep the nerves steady,
  orders direct from Moscow
  with money laundered a bit,
  beats haphazard work and
  petty contracts on local businessmen.

  12
  Cells (I like the word)
  master-mind
  co-ordinate and synchronize
  revolutionary inter-cooperation.
  A swine in Munich
  is the same swine
  without his leather jerkins
  in Santiago.

  13
  Brains coming apart
  on soles of shoes
  a pantheon of causes to choose,
  let's see, neo-revisionism
  counter-revolutionary
  criss-crosses with
  degenerate bourgeoise
  capitalist turncoat,
  (both must die)
  the urgency lies in
  which commands my
  holier dross.

  14
  Brothers in the struggle
  need empathetic eyes
  to square off
  the titanic quarrel.

  15
  Cleanse the body politic,
  reads one directive.
  Rub not ointment but horse radish
  over decomposed, societal skin,
  a brisk cleansing with your strigal
  but one revolutionary application.

  16
  "De-stabilize", the latest buzz word
  flies to the manure heap
  just kick in the door--
  those planter's peanuts
  know the score.

  17
  "Property is theft"
  I'm lisping in the burning sun,
  Ethiopia done
  Tigré and Eritrea
  key components
  on the Horn's chessboard,
  mere human paste
  re-patched, re-worn.

  18
  Ditto, "take-out", liquidate.
  Run a new poker thru the rubble. A good
  anarchist's cathedral accomplishment
  is the chicken coop's destruction.

  19
  Make the rich pay.
  Squeeze the goose to the pips.
  All power to the people;
  a gun run
  is a good itch,
  works up a powerful thirst
  for Justice;
  good mercy disguised
  brother Lenin
  as a simple dock worker,
  the plague-bacillus quickens.

  20
  Orange filaments of smoke
  are better than the factory whistle,
  a good arsonist recruits
  his own flames,
  fans his own fire.
  The crackle of desire
  over hearth stones
  is reward enough in itself.



  THE GARDEN

  And like a cobbler at a bench
  I return to my musings
  why Kensington Gardens
  with its grand, theatrical entrance
  is gateway to London's poor
  --why the stiff Victoria and Albert
  monument or grand canopy
  to the Hemispheres
  has a bison for the Americas
  or sultry elephant of
  Asia fame
  (India being the brightest
  jewel in the Empress' crown);
  why other archetypal animals at their pleasure
  are carved in gleaming milk white
  when the rich at their
  leisure, to and fro,
  dine elegantly as tight
  buds arranged on a stem.

  2
  I've not mentioned the poor
  come to the Serpentine
  a little ways up in Hyde Park
  only to be chased out
  of Kensington at closing--
  the cobbler at his bench,
  croupier at Whites,
  the elephant as a hatchet beast
  run amuck
  in the stellar pool
  of the eye's fixed poor.



  CANVASSING

  And I thought of things,
  things that come in small clutches,
  tiny memories,
  thoughts evoking the
  approach of time or
  footsteps about to open graves.
  More things than the troubled
  single entities we attach to them;
  things marbled with the elasticity of rain,
  rumours of war, pitch black leaves in the
  bottom of a pond where the whelp of a dog
  tries to outrun night.


COMMENTS

...Unrestrained, imaginative writing.
Brown's magic is the vibrating universe,
his sympathy is his ability to receive these vibrations.
Sympathetic Magic captures the movement of life in its intervals--
his poems resemble stopped action
photographs from a film.

THE TORONTO STAR



...The poetry is fine... rewarding reading...
Almost every poem in Sympathetic Magic
boasts an admirable image or two.
Brown can write, without a doubt.

POETRY CANADA POESIE


...wry humour.
The poet revels in image and can use it well.
Paul Cameron Brown is capable of interesting,
even arresting work.

CANADIAN BOOK REVIEW ANNUAL 1985



Le voyage exotique devient parfois fantistique...
Se plonger dans les pages de "Sympathetic Magic", c' est
partir pour un autre monde oil Paul Cameron Brown
envoute par les mots et les images.

DIPLOMATIC OBSERVER



THE END





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