For autumn, and my father

And in the dew season, I’d walk across the hills | among the wild chrysanthemums | My father | across the bandwidth | and through the satellites | Stags | with their heads lowered to the grasses | A country round | I live in the squares and the lines | violets, lilacs, sodiums, blacks | the rush of the push and the shove and the savings | double shots and banged-down shot glasses | tube trains leaving | the stations with their passengers sieving | down stairwells and escalators | and frankly it is | lonely in the city | My father | I walked out on the ice in an inlet | of the Yellow Sea | and in a disused sanatorium | watched the clouds cross the border | over the barbed wire and the yawning sentries | Recruits | to different orders | volunteers | you a recruit | but me | a perennial | draft dodger | stuffed in the back of cabs or flats | a life lived on the run | in an age of conformity | of willing participants | in paid pleasure | loyal to the pressure of the next satisfaction | a stone in your shoe | a consonant | when there should have been a vowel | my days a futile | aimless rage | far from the squirrels and the wet lawn | with the ring of orange needles | shed from the landmark larch | a spree of saints | a grime monk | an espionage | My father | with the broken | spine of the message | the dominoes and velvet | the personal | the lost | the private | how did we | get here? | Say what they will, they don’t know | they were never you | they were never me | And after the war, my father | in the ruins of the bombed-out | city | orphans would shelter | and in the winter | freeze and starve | to death | Recruits to | different orders | Let’s step on | as we always do | call me | your son | and I will be here | for a while, at least | while the gawpers | and the talkers | and the gawkers and the stalkers | the mawkish and the squawkers | busy themselves | in the latest fashions | we’ll put one star | next to the new star | put our Tuesdays in line | and you will sleep easy | and I will sleep uneasily | while the boys run | like buffalo or caribou | into their clouded masses | and powerless fools | dreaming of power | stir in the morning with their waking guns

Belonging, not belonging | A yearning for solidarity, but not enmity | I met up with Tony and Frank | they knew a guy | and though I was tired | I wanted a good time | so there was hooking up and getting up | and hours of clubbing | and I never | got home that night | Squeezing in | utopia in milligrams | my busy diary | full as could be | And we met a guy who knew a girl | met a guy | met a guy | Woke up | watching a film | a beautiful young assassin | snapping clip to Glock | with a girl | and a guy | and some other girls | and you | and some dead guys | Want to | buy my way out of here | but can’t | lay my hands on the funds | Slept late | like all day | and then there were deals | there always | needs to be deals | and then Tony and Frank | and Kat and Millie | and some other guy | and one of those | sixties’ American cars | a barge of chrome and petroleum | and there was | lime juice in my hair | and a scent of sugar, and violets | and a highway | north, along the coast, in California | and of course, overhead, there were the clouds | great, white clouds | grandiose steamers | and guards at the gates | and luxury and ease | on the other side | of the dream and the razorwire | and the techno | just devolved | into some thudding noise | and I saw Millie with Tony | and Frank | I couldn’t see Kat | and Frank again | with some other guys | and a kind of surprise | glimpsed myself in a mirror | with my father | and Frank and Tony | and some other guys | and some dead guys


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

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