Falling asleep against the mountain, not really the mountain, but really | asleep

In the train’s mouth | days and days, the delicate | bones of flowers

There you might find a Persian charmer | will they | take your mind off the boy, the boy, the boy?

Do you want your mind taking off the boy?

The … boy | The | boy?

A lute slung over his shoulder, kicks pebbles across the track | walks fast, hands in the pockets of his robe | six wizards in a bag and a wiry dog adoring him | a hustler and a young sage | licks up the spilt fuel from the petrol truck, not really | a mountain

Waking up in a stranger’s bed | With your mind in a muddle and a muddle in your | mind | And Again? in your thoughts | in the middle of the muddle | More stolen flowers, more weeks feeding a ravenous road, but mostly | the moments, such as | early morning on the way to work, glancing up | to see crows and the moon, autumn | revving down its faded engine, really | asleep

Asleep if your dream is not to be here

Asleep if your days are sold for lies

Asleep if you keep silent when she’s near you and the train’s mouth | swallows August whole, crunches | bones of | diaries, dress-down, Microsoft Office…

So, anyway, the sorcerer goes back into the desert | he has no fear of this barren land | Whips tops, more youthful than his powers | laughs to see his dog | digging up human remains | in a valley the armies | contested, then | the valley stayed, littered with munitions, while the armies | left, empty space and olive trees | rest peacefully against the flank | of the snow-hatted mountain | my eyes | are porous and the boy | issues from them with every | September glance

In robes of coral pink and golden bronze, hat of vital turquoise | wide-sleeved coat of dark pine green | the young magician leaves a humble inn | strides off into the Persian daylight | In irrelevant palaces | of white marble | peacocks rattle their feathers and utter | shrill, irrelevant screams | Scribes | compose allegories and fairy tales | students doze upon their texts, and the texts | doze upon the centuries | the centuries | just doze and the professors | the wise elders of the tribe | feed their tame theories grains of millet or maize, and at dusk, the cages | flash back the low sun’s light, but not | really | asleep

There you might find | “happiness at last” | put down the mountains | you’ve carried all this time | perhaps | even forget the boy?

Spells for mournful doe-eyed virgins | for youths with unconvincing facial | hair | for the withered | twisted | stiffened | old | people | spells | for indigestion and grief | spells | for moving invisibly, for taking on | the forms of beasts, spells | to recover lost memories, or | to conjure | a precipice over which you may | throw those things you wish to forget, and then | wake!

There you might find | a floating mountain | a ride on the back of a flat-bed truck | with goats and chickens | and the plain | so bashed about by void and heat and ice | and in the distance | the end of the plain and the end | of the boy?

The boy?

She’s beautiful, why not | celebrate this fact? | Four months pregnant and the weight of life | growing inside her, Vallejo’s “distance of two hearts” | to be travelled from now on, and I | am so enamoured with her | should I steal her away | from these days I long ago | sold for lies? / such are the | quandaries of amour | — ah, l’amour!…

Whistles for his dog, the Iranian night | touches the English night, the | American and Russian night, the | Nicaraguan night

The armies of each faction | are given to the night and surrender to sleep, to sleep and dreams and the boy | (the boy?) | comes to them, man and woman, and in the irrelevant | temples, the prayer books are stacked and doze | upon the backs of angels, the angels | doze, just doze, the priest’s | small kettle comes to the boil and a neutral steam | rises in a magician’s fume…

There you might find | brilliant violet flowers against the | creamy dust | of the valleys, and in a crack in your train’s | journey | join together two | threads of sense, then | feel them part…

There you might | strip off your armour | lie down in a stranger’s bed | and be a stranger, too

Your body releases its prisoners | and the priest’s kettle | boils dry

There you might find a Persian charmer

 


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, September 2013)