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(from Problems & Polemics)
As soon as you become a psychiatric nurse
all of your extended family will start having
nervous breakdowns. They will either
get put on beta-blockers, or anti-depressants,
and they will want you to let them know
the side-effects of their medication.
And every other person you now meet will want
to tell you, at length, about their ex
who hung, gassed or, in some novel way,
otherwise killed themself. Or, watching
for your reactions, they will confide how they
themselves were sexually abused, are still
having therapy. Even your new colleagues
will seem to court disaster in their affairs
and marriages. On top of all that, after a year
you will be going to work in second-hand shirts
and be buying your shoes and trousers in
the sales. The puzzle of people, yourself included,
is what will keep you in the job.
Dialogue 23: We Take Our Identities From Our successes, Not Our Failures
(from Rooms & Dialogues)
Success of itself
is the holy grail men seek.
Which holy grail is generally represented
as an ornate chalice.
Significant thing about the chalice
is that it’s empty.
Like their sperm
all men must strive towards
an unknowable future.
Egg or non-egg.
every victory will be hollow,
will come with a sense of So What?
and What Now? What Next?
Can be summed up
by the spread apart legs of soft porn,
hands holding wide the labia.
To see what?
A stubby pink clitoris
(female version of penis)
Life always becomes ordinary.
(All those sad slim young mothers
Any mystery for men is
the darkness they penetrate.
And there’s a world of men in sheds
- watchmenders, poets & inventors,
gardeners, carpenters and lathe turners.
Even plump men own passions.
(from Rooms & Dialogues)
The young woman
lies naked on the bed
that she cannot be seen
she stretches out
her free arm, raises
(notes for reading:- Through a battery-operated
megaphone in a a municipal carpark. Best to
background of silver light rising off a river and
to the squabbling of ducks.)
(from the pieces collection)
The guards wear white convex masks and genuflect
as the blue-skinned cadavers are carried out to
the fires. (Rumour is the disease is an experiment,
prisoners expendable.) An orange sun and a white moon
take turns to float in the weaving of black smoke.
(Rumour is the guards have been secretly
vaccinated.) More prisoners, feet bleeding,
are pushed in through the gates. Their camp
was bulldozed. (Rumours are of more killing,
of guards needed elsewhere, of a war lost,
a war won, of more prisoners taken.)
The tower guards only pretend to shoot at the rooks that
daily arrange themselves in the died-back branches
of an oak. (Rumour is of a village or town in that direction.)
Daylong grind of heavy machines has rumour of tanks, then
of a convoy. Final conclusion is combine harvesters,
a dust haze silting the sky to the east. One guard one day
is merciful over a dropped bowl. (Rumour is of release.)
+ Scott Thurston + David burns + douglas william Mowbray + Rick Lee + Sonja Broderick + Corey Mesler + a. d. winans + Ursula Hurley + Pat Brodie + David Trame + Yvette Hawkins + Paula Brown + Jim Bennett + Jim Rowley + Carlos Felipe Hurtado (Translated from Spanish by Ron Hudson) + Sarah Edwards + Le Pham Le (Poetry in Vietnamese and English) + Mario Susko + Duane Locke + Majid Mohiuddin + Al Markowitz