A Poor Man's Belly

A Poor Man's Belly

When something beneath the eye
has been born
must we zoom down to zero in
the analytic sights of some chunk of glass ?

Will you say that fear of knowledge
is bad
if I tell you that my hands
were not made of that cool grasping metal
which are the trappings of well-versed heads ?

I find it hard to play with lenses
with easy finger exercises
like they do
though I can see you now, I admit,
the naked weight on some dull butcher’s scale
and everybody’s woman
and only the butcher’s thumb between you
and the rest
and being so lovely and tender
you’d definitely not end up in a poor man’s belly
for some unhungry success
would have his wife’s daily
fetch you to a nice big fridge.

What makes me twitch at the lips
is that you’d have no choice in that set-up
being the choice yourself.

Sometimes we all seem butcher’s meat
Or just plain butchers
and our words are sometimes knives of wisdom
that we like to understand because
they’re nice and clean and sharp
But they’re not ours then
and I feel more eloquent simply gaping
at things I never have understood.

this is all so much offal for the flies;

to see the scales in all their massive
deathly lead
is a simple, almost childish vision
but why should children have
the best of it ?

We don’t have to learn love
do we,
to know what happens when we’re all alone
together ?
But that is a question not an answer.

After the Clowns

After the Clowns

The feet of lesser beings
come to the circus o our summit meeting
and our hands hold time and space
by the umbilical

We are next on after the clowns
before the trained apes

We are draining our senses in the heights
in the one night only show of
paid for, understood as rigged-up
slightly pitied bravery

We grope darkly
You serene in a way
but just as frightened as me
aware that the moment
must be held now or lost in a murmer
of satisfied customers.

Now my darling we hang on for life
but these are not the frightened limbs
of tight-rope wlkers any more

Now we are swinging on the ropeless sky
of mutually entwining and rope-bursting flesh

Now we have done and
where is the cord they all came to watch
us fall from
into the one face of their dead-pan sea ?

What we have done is to make from sawdust
and sadistic expectation
an unseen laughing-crying thing
a soul independent even of eternity.

June 1965

June 1965

And when you think you’re
in a house of keys
and the doors even themselves
have secrets
what do you do when
the gaoler gets a plastic death
in his cold bomb brain ?

do you take up a cane
and thrash the old daylight
back to your vacant cell ?
do you call the withering bars
to a courtroom and cool chaos ?
do you sentence the dead judge
to a black cap it all punishment ?

What do you do when
the keys the keeper and the day
that all went pop
leave you holding the wrinkled
baby-dream you never knew
was even in the scheme of brick-laid things ?

The Tomb of Sigmund Freud

The Tomb of Sigmund Freud

Every year in a beautiful
part of Beverly Hills
many people of many different lands
end up by admitting that the only place
to go is the tomb of Sigmund Freud
which luckily is also in a
beautiful part of Beverly Hills.

They are supplied with keys at birth
which they can sometimes when they feel
the urge
turn off.
But sometimes these people somehow
lose their precious keys
Then they cry “Oh, deary me!”
We’re all wound up and we cannot
wind us down!”

That is when they all go to the tomb
It is a gruesome sight and only
the very toughest kids are allowed out
on the day of the pilgrimage.
They laugh when people hobble by
with weird repetitive mechanical spasms.
They know better than to cry.

The poor pilgrims gather in front
of the richly ornamented and exquisitely colourful
fountain which many a busy camera
had captured to preserve its fine and
glorious workmanship, for admiring posterity.

One by one each member of this motley crew
has his head dipped under the water
to see if he can find his key.

It’s stupid really, no one ever does.
But it gives them hope.
Personally, I go for the change of air,
And I never get excited over keys.
Some people say I should be
Psycho-analysed, but I’d probably end up
with everybody else’ key
and then there’d be fun.

Identity Parade

Identify Parade

When I am the i
that the eyes of others
wish to see
i am with their bodies
in the seas’s harvest of dead and
many times a million graves
in grains
ingrained into invisibility
on the placard of
God’s marching hand

When i am the i
the alphabetless
whisper of a seen thing
that you would let me be
because we are
not simple lovers
but unlettered phrases
in an unfettered styleless hand
i am your eye
and you are my i
and we are the seen things
that God marches by
that graves hide from
that seas and harvests
and alphabets and grains
and placards
gain form and meaning from
and would die sightless
out of our i.

The Confrontation

The Confrontation

So we confront each other
right here
where the concrete is familiar
having agreed that we no longer believe
in the wind-blown green discovery.

and our friends
who call us lovers
are equally accustomed to the formula of rocks
and when they confront each other
with close eyes and hands
we call them lovers.

but when they start wandering shyly
behind the familiar paths
(as if something new existed)
we recognize our own yearnings
to replace yellow grass
with something that wil stand up
to our foot feeling.

and we who confront each other
have never even left the concrete way
for our friends would think us mad
and no longer call us lovers
if in their well shod world
we were to seek the kiss of greem
upon the feet
but we have agreed about that.

Things that Fit

Things that Fit

Nobody whispers because
it’s Sunday
even the sky seems a bit orderly
not fit for blank verse
in any case silence never
did anyone any good.

Someone ought to put
the wind up those Sunday clouds

Things that fit scare me to death
like wearing the right armour
for talking to people.
People are only naked
when it’s no good for anyone
for money because they think
other people do it
or locked in some box

People in money-box attitudes
are invisible to me
so they can’t expect me to
say what beautiful bodies they have

I’ll tell you when I see
a beautiful body
but somebody will have to help
me out of this armoured box first.

A Kind of Language

A Kind of Language

I should understand something by now
I’ve thought plenty
I should but I don’t.

When I hear you crying
I should be able to say
Yes, my tears have been a kind of language too,
and they mean that all the eyes
we’ve spoken with have not been dumb
but I cannot say anything at all.

I’m always about to discover
what it all really adds up to
and about to save you from the pain of going
where you would have to if you wanted my secret
then my dreams in geometry burn like
outdated maps and my feet stand on some
garbage hill and the roads in front and behind
are all charred ruins
and I offer you a handful of ashes

Forget it you say
and you care just as much as me
or just as little
and our minds hold each other by a thread
of electric pain which is very small
and very easy to switch on and off
and usually it is the easy darkness

I should understand something by now
I try to be obedient
but I always leave school early
for this twisted, unruly refuge

I should not wander or feel sorry for myself
but some words are too hard and too loud a lesson
for my mind ever to unlearn.

A Poem for Holden

A Poem for Holden

Holden Caulfield
I walked right past you
over the cliff
and at the time I just wondered
what hit me
I wondered
till I forgot what I was wondering about
and then you came tumbling after
into this hideous new nursery rhyme

and here we are
upside down heads in the sand
lapped by a rock-eating sea

it makes me cry like a lost child
and my tears once ran straight
from a point of knowledge
but now they die unjourneyed
immediately choked by sand
not that it was ever easy
but now even pain
is killed in the death rush
and the best we can do now
is quickly commiserate
shake hands without disturbing
one grain of sand
although we do it a million times a minute.