Sunday, December 5, 2010

THE MERRI CREEK : POEMS & PIECES, # 20, December, 2010




lichen on headstones

even the marking

of death

makes life possible



the sky can kill you

laugh back


irony is lost

on the iron



brave new word


[reprinted from MINIKINS, 2010 (PO Box 1497, East Victoria Park, WA 6981)]




Remembering Jerry Hall in Brian Ferry’s Let’s Stick Together Video Clip
(after Paulus Silentiarius)

I was eight years old in 1976.
I had never seen lips
so plump and red,
eyes so inviting,
hair so
lustrous. The way
she moved, cat-like
and purring, sashaying
across the stage …
If she had plucked
just one strand
of that golden hair
and tied my wrists
with it, even at such
a tender age,
I’d have pleaded
with her
never to release me.



In the second hand record store I sift
through row after row of dusty LPs,
pausing from time to time to consider
a name scrawled lazily in blue ink,
a coffee cup stain, a trace of ancient
lipstick smeared across a dog-eared
copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits.
It is in these places we discover the
true history of the world, of ourselves,
the way things were and in some fashion
will always be, though the discs
of plastic have now turned to metal,
and the people with whom we shared
these songs are vanished or
changed, our emotional landscape
often untended, like scratched vinyl, hissy
and unlistenable, as we ride the eternal
turntable on its circular orbit
into the dust of all our tomorrows.



The house grown quiet and still,
a single butt of a cigarette now rests
in the smooth rut of a glass ashtray
filled with dozens of other such butts,
this one still smoldering, sending
its tiny but significant plumes
into the atmosphere already heavy
with loss and departure, like a wispy
trail of vapor behind a jet aircraft
high overhead, its occupants weary
with thoughts of arrival and destination.


After The Power Has Gone Out
(for Ronald Baatz)

Huddled under
the avalanche of covers
he reads by flashlight
in a storm of ice and wind,
the electricity gone
the same way
as his dear old Dad –
still with us somehow
but no longer visible
as photons or
however it is light
appears to us as
we go about our sad
and inexorable ways,
our days habitual
like the seasons,
the earth turning slowly
in its starry grave.



A Quadraphonic Whisper

Inside the inside, the world flutters, and eyes close.
Each search is an appeal to mindfulness.

Browning and Patmore walk arm in arm from the earth.
All the flowering plants speak purely, gracefully.

Our genes carry our imagination along the long diagonals.
The unreal duties lovers assume for a while develop, then fade.

It is in the smaller things – governments, wars, religions –
we get lost. Let the promise of a single fleeting breaker

dying in the shallows be reason enough.


“An instant of pure love is more precious to God and the soul, and more profitable to the Church than all other good works together, though it may seem as if nothing were done.”
-- St. John of the Cross

Her soul is engaged to the highest cloud, and when
she moves, its aimlessness becomes otherworldly.

How do we salute the inspired upper reaches?
Surely, as the sun drops from the afternoon,

nothing is more precious than our umbilical thread
to voice, to words that pass through walls

and give images of those walls, for, little by little,
shapes of life compose, troubling a soil

in the throes of divorcing bedrock for the sky.


“No great art, no really effective ethical teaching can come from any but such as know immeasurably more than they will attempt to communicate.”
-- Coventry Patmore

I know an instant, then I am gone.
I learn from the coldness of fires.

I am an animal, and I am the flame of the sun.
I take the air, and fashion it.

I use opium, and marijuana, and prepare for sailing.
I peel the arms and legs from my body.

I own knives and sexual desires.
I beg for the status of language.

Ask me, and I will courteously reduce these things.


The lovers are gentle. Goodbye, friend,
the plane is on the tarmac. Watch the seas below,

and believe. Believe in the driftwood and shells,
believe in change, growth, the poor courageous holiness

we all somehow sense through computer and TV screens.
In the hall are all the shoes ever worn.

The accompanying souls say what they said before:
be aware, tolerate, give each special situation a value.

Why are we so occluded we starve our insight?




Galileo says people are like paper;
would I dispense with 'are' or 'like'?

Last life I was a silver fish
this time I took to ink,

and when the post floats in
with a letter, an elegant sketch -

simple paper, complex idea, Oh I
praise reading's merit, to deliver

an afterlife, a parallel, a re-incarnation
a vicarious sense of being someone &

somewhere else, in here and now
while holding nothing but cellulose

perhaps a gram of ink, a slip of graphite,
a lined page, headed 'Dear Carol'.





I soar on paper wings

it was never
about your sister!!

I shuffle my feet
on the doorstep
of the Julian Ashton
School of Art

it is 1968

your lines are smooth



is the feast of All Saints

it's a Lavazza torino
and a walk
up the deserted main street

I'm visiting
the 18th century
with Schmitt
Fodor Meder and Wilms

fried chicken
choy sum on rice

during a break in the music
Sri Lanka demolish Australia

marinated feta
kalamata olives
sundried tomatoes

a fine
Boorolong Road
2006 Shiraz



linen wash
never smelled so sweet:
hung on bamboo poles
high above
this polluted Kowloon street

congee in the alley
for a hearty breakfast

Ezra loved the intricacy
of the Chinese character
almost as much as Michaux
but I still
can't make out the signs

avoid the snakes
on Fuk Wa
and settle for roast duck

Kwan Yin
the Goddess of Mercy
smiles from her niche

I leave Bronwyn
to her family on the island:
it'd never come to anything anyhow

out on the harbour
a junk passes
red and orange painted prow



Dopper and Vermeulen
resume their stoush

a bit like Mondriaan
employing a Toorop
to block the draught
from a broken window

the public
is momentarily bemused
then walks on

Kronos ticks time
the rain (as always) the rain
lightning on the ridge
a black Opel cruises by

always shop at Ivens
for your photographic needs

Piet Hein sets out
to capture the Silver Fleet:
the cupboard is bare
and energy costs are on the rise

taptap tap



MAR BUCKNELL; Perth spoken-word poet. His inter-media performance includes The History of Glass (in 2008) featuring his poems, Alan Boyd's soundscapes & Stuart Reid's live drawing. This was the sequel to Unawares, performed in 2000 at the Artrage festival. Minikins & other chapbooks available from the author at P O Box, 1497; East Victoria Park, W A,, 6981. Contact :
GLEN COOPER, MICHAEL FITZGERALD-CLARKE, CAROL JENKINS & CORNELIS VLEESKENS have all appeared in Poems & Pieces previously. These are all recent writings.
Long may their poetry prosper!



Anonymous said...

A nice selection, Kris.

And thanks for promoting my modest little poems.

-- Glenn

collectedworks said...

Hi Glenn... re 'modest little..' : Carol J for one dug yr rocknroll poems... I'd accept 'modest' if it meant that ambition was subsumed within the particulars of the subject... Do you have a larger collection coming?

Valli said...

Just love the Glenn Copper poems - will re visit beloved Brain Ferry.
You have a simple - and by simple I mean an easy flow of word and understanding - you understate things but in a very specific way - we know who you discuss and feel the feelings you impart through word.Your so called modest little poems have meaning and 'punch' Love your stuff and thanks to DE for the gift of Tryin' To Get To Heaven
it's become one of my constant 'dip'
into favourites. More please!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kris & Valli!

-- Glenn

Rob Schackne said...

Hi Kris,
Many good poems here that I will read again...also good to imagine some more readers of my little poems. Thank you.
Churl's Corner: when you next have the time would you please correct the variant spellings of my surname (at the top & in the note below)?
Ditto the title of the 2666 poem (which refers to Bolano's novel of the same name)& the entire "After all, that was always your destination" line should be in italics -- if it's at all possible.
In the Tunnel poem: "A sometimes unstately progress through not by" ("through" should be italicized). Sorry to be such a long-distance pain in the ass...