Monthly Archives: May 2016

Clear

We are reduced eventually
to simple elements
some days sad rain sighing grey
others an irritating wind
which blows us vexing
today the winter sun
yellows us with happiness
I love you she says
clear as anything

mca005x


Chrysogonus’ Translation #64 – from Sarah St Vincent Welch’s “in the glass”

di dalam gelas

dalam segelas air
di atas kaca hitam meja
sisi buku terpantul
terlipat rapi dalam cahaya
dalam cairan

saat membaca di perpustakaan
di beranda, aku dengar dan haus
tak terpuaskan
oleh semua kata dan cerita
aku tak akan pernah minum
dari rak yang mengular
kenangan terbentuk
yang kita kagumi

kupandang gelas dan kudengar
lingkar lekuk
bayang, refraksi
pengalih keindahan
badai di jendela
awan kelam
jejak bibir di tepi
mengaburkan jarak
air dalam gelas
memperbesar mendistorsi
rupa buku-buku
rupa-rupa dunia

kata terucap
fragment terujar
memasuki kita, kita bertanya
mereka pecah di dalam gelas
di atas kaca hitam meja
buku-buku terbelah
satu simbol satu rupa
aku minta gelas
dikembalikan, agar kutangkap
dalam memori
kuteruskan, tetapi
yang kulihat dan kudengar
menghindariku

in the glass of water
on the black glass table
book spines pantone
concertina fold in light
in fluid

at a reading in the library
foyer, I listen and thirst
never sated
all the words and stories
I will never drink
the spirals of shelves
recollections shaped
we wonder at

I watch the glass and listen
meniscus brink
shades, refractions
the distraction of beauty
storm at the window
flint clouds
lip print moon on rim
blur of print within
the water in the glass
magnifies, distorts
images of books
the image of worlds

spoken words
fragments read out loud
enter us, we question them
they fracture in the glass
on the dark glass table
the books’ split
a symbol an image
I ask for the glass to be
returned so I can catch it
make it memory
pass it on, but
what I see and hear
eludes me

SkinLess


Skin

It is the border of what is out
and the beginning of what is in
with little holes
for airing out and seepage
like arrow slits
and narrowing embrasures
in the integument for protection
and discharge

There is
a general holding together
of our vitals against spillage
since it is proximity that has
a community of organs
work their separate harmonies together
skin encloses a village
within a palisade
it is safety and confinement both

Skin pierced cut opened
we cry out
not just in pain
but with dismay
at what the breaching
of our battlements might mean
hot infections
blood depletion
sundering of muscle meat
wounding weep

Michele Morgan #140 There’s a double-headed axe at the bottom of my glass (nod to ACski & SH)

So the myth. Ariadne on Naxos. Got time for a story?
It has a political dimension. At one stage Athens obviously
owed fealty to Crete. Crete was infused with the
culture and wealth from trade with Egypt but it had its
own distinctive culture, flush toilets and cutting edge fashion,
all tits and tights, gym chic and shipping.
But at the heart of Crete was the Labyrinth
and at the heart of the Labyrinth was the minotaur
the bull-headed man with bitter flesh and a taste for young meat
And every year Athens had to send 10 of its young
men and 10 of its young women
tribute to Crete and prey to the minotaur
and virgins all if you believe the press
But Athens is like that; though
every election sometime during the
run-up, the democrat candidate is found in
bed with a blonde in Florida & the
republicans romp home. Or romp somewhere.

Athens got jack of this eventually
It was getting its act together as the material girl of the mainland

flexing up its muscles and establishing a capital base and a theatre scene.
It ran short of patience, not to mention young men and young women or at least of virgins; and Theseus the king’s son,
as well as being prime age Minotaur meat
felt the need to raise his profile
get some runs on the board
put himself out there, suck it and see,
sailed away to Crete, with the rest of that year’s young fry,
a documentary crew and a stress management consultant.
And when he landed he struck up a friendship
with Ariadne, daughter of the king of Crete.
*
A convenient friendship.
Ariadne, who’d never been anywhere
and was just That Age
to give a foreign youth the glad eye…
So Ariadne told Theseus the secret of the Labyrinth
getting in and getting out again
once he’d killed the minotaur.
Sounds like a sexual metaphor to me
but that’s how it goes.
Theseus killed the minotaur
and for reasons of politics and romance
took Ariadne with him when he sailed for home.
Though it sounds to me like the reasons of romance
were shallowly rooted because
as soon as he’s out of radio range of Crete
he dumps Ariadne on Naxos
which is totally the middle of nowhere
in the Aegean.

and returns to Athens and a glorious political future
though his son Hippolytus turns out a very dodgy lot
very athletic but no common sense or idea of proportion;
all big hair & steroids; what can you expect?
[and I seem to remember that eventually Theseus married Ariadne’s sister which goes to show something or other and the thing with the bull goes on and on]

And Ariadne is left lamenting,
which she does in all the books
and several lost operas
and, they would have it, all for Theseus.
But she’s left a very good situation all round in Crete,
barring the boredom.
And the minotaur wasn’t doing her any harm.
Brought in a lot of foreign money one way and another.
good for trade, marketed well, stylish logo.
Gave the place distinction
Created atmosphere
and reminded her of her mother
though the family always kept that dark.

And trading the palace at Knossos
even with the renovations –
they had Evans in; all that splashy colour;
it dated fast but got good press –
for the beach at Naxos, it
lost its novelty straight off.
But Dionysus, who just happens to be drifting around
the Mediterranean that summer at a loose end
with a pack of feral women
and everyone’s doing each other when they’re
not doing each other’s drugs,
picks her up on Naxos
and presumably shows her a very wild time
It’s what he’s known for. And
all that crowd drinks too much
It’s just non-stop party, trailing vine leaves
and mascara
And one of Dionysus’ alter egos is a bull
There’s some tie-in with sacrifice
But I’m sure it gave Ariadne something familiar she could relate to
And that’s important.

*

Michele Morgan #141 So let me get this straight

There’s this happy family man
Agamemnon, with his lovely wife,
Clytemnestra, and the three kids
Iphigenia, Electra and the boy
Orestes.

Only Agamemnon’s brother’s wife,
who turns out to be Clytemnestra’s sister
Helen, runs off with some blow-in from Asia Minor
with a reputation for bad judgement and
an association with plaster.

And Agamemnon goes after Helen with his brother,
Menelaus, across the sea heading for Troy
but they get holed up on some
middle of nowhere island, waiting for a good wind.
And Agamemnon, who just happens
to have Iphigenia with him
chasing after Auntie Helen in a
fleet of battle ships with
ten years’ worth of sea biscuit and arrowheads
Agamemnon sacrifices Iphigenia?
for a head wind?

Let me get this straight.
And there’s a goddess in there somewhere
So Agamemnon and Menelaus get Helen back and
burn down Troy and
kill all the men who aren’t already dead and
sell all the women and children into slavery
except the boy children of all the really famous dead men –
they make sure they go the way of their famous dead dads –
and Cassandra, who’s the daughter of one famous dead man and
the sister of another famous dead man and
the auntie of another one
and who has a strange gift for prophecy,
absolutely correct in every detail but
no one ever believes her
Whom Agamemnon decides is a lovely girl,
too good to waste on the open market and
a dab hand in the kitchen
all that experience with entrails
and he can’t resist one more souvenir
to remind him of his time abroad
Greetings from Ilium.

Let me get this straight.
So Clytemnestra, who’s taken up with a boy with a
completely forgettable name and
no chin whatsoever,
welcomes Agamemnon back from the war. He’s
killed her eldest daughter, stayed away
ten years doing a favour for his brother
never a postcard, no maintenance,
he’s got a shipful of women in chains
including Cassandra who’s frothing at the mouth with prophecy
and her frock falling off her she’s in such a state but
none of the men listening, getting a good eyeful.

Let me get this straight.
Clytemnestra says hello darling
home from the war are we
fancy a bath?
And Agamemnon says “Hello love
I’ll just have a bit of a wash
and eat whatever you’ve got on the spit
and who’s this boy with no chin?”

So Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon in the bath and
knocks off Cassandra just for good measure
it’s a shame about the frock.

Just let me get this straight.
Electra, who’s always been the awkward one,
the middle child often is,
talks baby Orestes into killing his
mum and the boy with no chin
I’ve remembered his name
Aegisthus,
Because Clytemnestra’s been a bad wife and
shouldn’t have taken a lover or killed Agamemnon
I wouldn’t have thought Electra was that close to her father really
but you never can tell.
And Orestes does and Electra goes mad and
runs amok through the garden and
comes to a bad end and
Then the Furies come into the picture
where have they been all this time
not a sizzle or hiss out of them before but
there you go; they’re on the case now,
tearing after Orestes, he
never gets a moment’s peace after this and
all because he’s killed his mother.

And let me get this straight:
Agamemnon and Orestes are the heroes.

Robert Verdon, #156, The Great Fugue

we follow
the sharp arc of a fingernail,
the sun with curved fog rays
on the white rainbow of death,
the great ship slow but sweeping all aside like a bowling ball,
the crowd jumping like raindrops on hot steel,
the last curtain that never parts

let me be with you until the grave
claims us both
meanwhile
let us breathe with a skipping heart
in the great fugue of our last decades
two brilliant parrots in a wattle bush
two white moths in a taiga of rosemary

Anna Couani #143 city (nod to RV)

city of very high steep hills
little inlets, unknown beaches
conjures the idea of recreation
in a city of workaholics
who play hard
and some who dress in a way
that defies common sense
feeding on multi-coloured lollies

dressing down is our secret
trying to remember the real steps
to the dance

forgotten days on beaches
nights in coastal caves
midnight swims
harbour lights wobbling
on sticks

harbour city
the inverse of an island
oyster-laden
lists that contradict
the Parramatta heart
and a vast plain
once a forest

09x


#146 ‘Gone but not gone’

This is to let you know
we found the mouse.

It was on the floor
of the wardrobe
under the black hose
of the vacuum cleaner,
its tiny belly full of green poison
and its head once swimming
in a final mousy confusion
lifted a little
as if to sniff what cannot be reached.

It was soft to pick up, but still held
its shape and colour,
a furriness too
that told of a life of rubbing
round corners, squinches and shelves.

Yes, the mouse has been thrown out
into the sandy yard in a plastic bag
held down by a rock.

A smell, though, persists
in the walls, in the floor,
and along the edges of one door.
We wait and hope now

to become so used to it
that it will disappear in time.

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