People in desperate situations.
golden hope and
cold in the morning
coming in. Italy – Rome
- I could be here.
pigeons burst past my balcony
scared by a girl on a vespa
and someone in shirtsleeves
is smoking a cigarette. my view
is over an alley
but high enough to catch the sun.
I am not working
but my girlfriend is in her office
putting together a play. that is perhaps
why we are here. something going on
in a famous roman theatre; an opera
or some quiet winesodden thing
about people on holiday
in desperate situations.
today I will tap my feet
on rounded bricks
and I will sink my hands in my pockets
buzz my brain.
are nothing important
they come in
at times like this.
I buy eggs in the morning,
and piles of butter. it is
junkies lounge in the sun
looking like the soul of Lou Reed.
burst out of windowbaskets
and birds chase squirrels in the trees.
I buy my breakfast
at 11am. black coffee for me
and hot chocolate.
and all that’s in the flat is oatmeal. you
would be worth it
from Paris to Mongolia,
to Suriname. your eyes
are as big as teacups
and your skin
is like fresh milk. there is a thing in the sky.
a red thing.
it is the sun.
It’s easy, because all you need is a metaphor.
is simpler than prose. don’t let anyone
tell you otherwise. all these poets
who write like tame lions
and act like they
are unspooling gods fishing line
don’t know what they’re up against.
prose v poetry – the title fight.
and it’s easy, because all you need is a metaphor
and not to think for a while about anyone but you. stories are hard
because they take longer
and you have to spend more time lying to people.
poetry though? no arcs to deal with,
pinned to the page
and only flickering
when you blow on them. chief,
you think you’re doing anything here
but typing? you never even gave the girl a name
when you wrote her down.
The Waste Land’s Fire Sermon.
I read it in the original too,
in the way it was put down
before Pound got into it,
clipping with tweezers
and his robinson trap-light,
and it was all
all rhyming couplets
and very much
like classical poetry;
a to b to a to a,
like a toilet refilling.
he must have
knew it too,
he must have known
where he wanted to go
what it took to get there;
laying down traintracks
instead of blowing off dandelion seeds.
and while it’s good now
though without as much sense
he still called Pound a craftsman
and I don’t know about that;
someone rip out
birds feathers, not
he never had read the cantos.
they were worse
than he was.
bumping into you
and having once again taken up smoking
is very embarrassing
especially with you with your new boyfriend
and me with my old coat
a few more holes since you last saw it,
a bit more grease from my hair having polished the collar,
and having bragged at length about the scars I’ve gotten lately
it is tonight too dark to see them.
you are something that people only get to touch once
in churchlike silence
and I know all the drunken phonecalls
which will happen now that I’ve seen you
will lead to nothing
being in love again
continuing to be happy
with a better life that smells of lemons
and tastes fresh as green tea and blackberry leaves
with a guy who stands there quietly
holding your hand while we talk,