We know what this is for | That there isn’t enough time, but we have enough time and indeed | perhaps too much time | to reflect on | precisely this circumstance | To the Partingtons’ in the evening, the stars in the ice | taking us by surprise | like a rush of snowflakes | upwards or downwards | (we end | a little drunk) | Turned | ballerina | and gin flashes to the goose | and effervescent | whirl of sex | Clothes with the spilled perfume in the morning | I keep coming back to the same things, not that | they’re important | but simply | they happen to be the things I have | new things have stopped happening, somehow | perhaps that’s a sign of age | or merely that I am lucky? | Lucy very friendly | licking my face constantly | We know what to do with it, what it will come to, but we don’t look too far ahead — what would be the point, if points | were what were needed, anyway? | But they aren’t | Like images in a mirror | And as Milly said When it comes to yourself, you need | to choose the right mirror | The young, boiling across the street | on their way to class | perpetually renewing themselves, year after year | and the old watching them | year after year, in a steady-state, statistical ferment | a stillness in humanity | a rising and falling | with the essential | immobility of fountains | In the church, the smell of camphor in her furs | the taste of lipstick on my teeth | the ageless wariness comes in | the bareness which wakes us up | when the signals stay on red too long | or the truth begins to call in dusk | the awkwardness hanging around | the depleted trust fund | For shame, even at your age | you still take yourself | axiomatically | you don’t notice | their first thought is not for you anymore | Haven’t you listened to what they’re saying? A different politics in the grammar? | But no, of course you haven’t! | And different again | And different again…

Have I chosen the wrong mirror | I wanted to ask myself | The results weren’t too satisfying | That night on the ice, with the stars deported to the gleaming darkness | and I kept seeing you | or versions of you | a young man, cycling along | your blond hair cut in a rather 30s style | and in your intent face | a short, green fuse burning and a directness | a destination in spring | That was the ignorance I assigned you | Would it be wildly wrong to say | that half of morality is trying to work out | the relation of ignorance to innocence? | The stars boiled up from the lake | in an old-fashioned epiphany | like carnations and can-can | and some sharp cut-glass, as in Mandelstam | but their function had changed | no one needed | those types of sensation anymore | and even to me, they seemed to have outlived their myth | The tribes in the Amazon basin, for centuries | without Ruth or Joshua | and apartment from apartment | never any love, and love always, and everywhere

 


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

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