Sorry, Mr Maddox
Cooped up for two years in a London flat Posh, really: Regent's Park, but at the time It seemed just small. A science teaching scheme Was where my Dad worked - he kept pinching bits Of my Meccano. Oh, I'd always get It back, or something like, but not the same: New-fangled black and yellow, not the red And green, the proper stuff. I had a kit For making radios, morse code machines, Burglar alarms, you know the sort of thing. I had to demonstrate it once a week, At least, to friends of his, colleagues, I guess. The Wonder Horse on telly, then 'Peter, Could you just show...' My patience ran out once: 'I'm watching this.' 'Peter!' 'Oh, let him be.' I thought I'd won, and my Dad coped quite well, It seemed. He didn't need me after all. But while he ran John Maddox home, my Mum Had words with me 'how close I'd come' and left Me in no doubt at all my crime was heinous.
The man I report to has phoned in to report he is drifting further away on waves of influenza. His boss has taken a holiday at very short notice, and his deputy has suddenly remembered an urgent matter that will take him elsewhere. My colleagues have clubbed together to buy me a two-edged sword costing about two million pounds. When I walk into the office on Saturday, carrying the can of worms I must somehow make palatable to a Senate already committed to a circus of two hundred down-turned thumbs, it is as quiet as you must have known the amphitheatre in the early morning, before the games began. Nothing changes, Spartacus.
Once we've heard the sleepy rattle of the cutters, we're a class of children in a summer classroom, but our minds have already all run out to the field beyond the playground, so there's no point, Miss, in trying to keep our attention on adding up and taking away, leaving a finger space, or Janet and John: we're busy making our plans for later. Some of us will mark out the rooms of houses: neat lines of cuttings, with a gap for a window, another for the front door, so we can invite the neighbours in for tea. Some will make ocean liners, or space rockets; and argue incessantly about the design, which has most room, or goes fastest and whether Darrell Bowser should be allowed on board. Others will pile it up like miser's gold. Never satisfied with what they collect themselves, they'll pinch your kitchen wall, or mast, or booster, if you don't keep an eye out for them. It's warmer than snow, more fragrant, but it doesn't stick together as well: so the air, when the battle starts, will be thick with green confetti. There will be squadrons of aeroplanes, a green fragmentation bomb in each outstretched fist. And there will be one who stuffs it down the back of Julie Parfitt's dress, mixed with nettles.
Under The Trees
Originally published in The Elephant's Typewriter (Scratch pamphlet)
Sprawled out in the garden, under the trees, we don’t know what to think about our heads; whether they’re jars of letters or huge words grazing the air. An insect hovers over yours like a diacritic mark in Polish, the one that says if auto czesc means ‘automatic hello’ or ‘car parts’. Somehow this seems decisive until we remember the trees: are they performing themselves or the wind or something entirely other? I think this, too, is a question we might reasonably ask of ourselves.Letter from a Man
Several times in the last month, I have performed simulations to give myself the best possible feel for what my life will really be like. Christmas, New Year, celebrations, thoughts, my family, some winter fun: millions of small details pile up but in metal boxes, I have learned to respond to my broken equipment in a way that still allows me to stay in orbit around romance and psychological realism; in a way that still allows me to say ‘Look: this is excitement. This is my excitement. I can feel my excitement. It is exciting.’ In spite of the high-tech nature of my ground-based simulators, there is nothing like the real thing! My excitement continues to build.The Value of Contingency
To return to Western thought which we have never really left it appears it has its good points and bad points and that they are the same there are wider implications which feed into questions which do not occur in isolation surely to render them as separated sets up an extraordinary line I’m by no means ‘having a go’ it’s a potentially intriguing basis for discussion you see the arguments that stem from it into issues and so on out To return to Western thought which we have never really left in isolation surely it appears it has an extraordinary line in wider implications which do not occur it’s a potentially intriguing stem from ‘having a go’ into issues which feed good points and bad points into its questions basis I’m by no means up to render them for discussion as you see there are the arguments and so on out and that they are the same separated sets To return to Western issues and so on out which we have never really the arguments it appears it has its going basis and bad points and ‘having a go’ there are wide implicits into questions which dated sets in isolation surely to render them as separate not occur up an extraordinary liaison which feed I’m by no means having they are the same it’s a potentially intrigue odd points for discussion you see ally left that stem from it into I thought To reverence Western thread which we have never really length it appears it has its ‘go’ keys and bad points and rated sets there are wider implicit odd points into questions which align in isolation surely to render them as separate arguments up an extraordinary lying basis I’m by no means heavily left it’s a potentially intriguing they are the same for discussion you seeing a go that stem from it into id points.
gershwins russian fingers
i have george gershwin's russian fingers intertwined with mine they dance across my keyboard creating my poetic muse he creates the music to my poetic roots the rhythm pulsating with the passion of russian blood flowing through the veins of my words a poetic landscape of rhapsody and while we tunefully whistle summertime and the living is easy our souls cavort like americans in paris cause they got this rhythm that keeps bess's heart sayin it ain't necessarily so but we know it is as poetry turns into gershwin's heavenly flavors his fingers my words my name is not ira but somehow he is my brother © 1998 lgjaffe
So I was headed to the Louvre… Welcome to Musee Picasso But first stop in "Art Collective" Walk up 5 flights of stairs Walk to, walk from, walk around Sit down inside, look outside Look around Mostly the women Interest me but I know that None of these women are the one Who will help, not rescue, me Some other time When I'm outside of myself The Woman of My Dreams Will come to me… "You cannot spend your life in embraces" Says the Russian fairy tale So I sail The Ship of Fate Arriving at Musee Picasso Instead of Louvre And realize what great bowls he made! How too much time is spent by Artists Finishing work he left undone His swan harp with twirling beanie hat Drawing on vellum Dada book cover is brilliant! A heart holds the strings together All pictures framed in plain wood frames I can buy a $3 Coca-Cola And rest my feet in his gardenThe Glory of Alexandria
Bird, gryphon, lion, crocodile, bull, cat Belly buttons, knee caps, oil lamps Onyx cameos, coins, agate cup Head of Dionysus, Isis Aphrodite, Zeus Julius Caeser, Bernice, Alexander The Great Ptolemy, Lighthouse of Alexandria Dancer wound around in bronze veils Dark-haired angel with me every Place I go, between stele and III century b.c. Statues of Egyptian Queens and brasserie Drachma and money changers. I look In every eye of every woman I see As I walk for identification. Is she the one? Is she? Yemenite woman of my dreams Follows me to Petite Palais, watches me Eat lamb chops and duck liver pate Stands by me on bridge over Seine At night as wide boats stroll sparkling Swirl of the midnight waters of life
Nike tattooed on my chest Catchy jingle on my mind When I blink I see negatives Of cola logos and golden arches Conspicuous consumption has diffused Through my pores into meRetrograde
I am the spirit of retro youth culture A costumed crisis living in a costume drama I am the process of what was cool Reaching room temperature I live in inverted commas In a self-imposed cartoon I am excitement for those who like routine Smiling knowingly Sarcastically Cynically Satirically Ironically Today is of little value I prefer the good old days before I was born I deny the creative possibility of young blood Or am I just fancy dress for a far too serious world?
The Story Of Movement Is Slow The Clouds Sang
This poem forms part of Zoo, written in collaboration with John Kinsella, due to be published in 1999.
I looked at clouds for hours, waiting for their stories to enter my ears, if I didn't move my neck the clouds told their stories, they drifted by like kites and slow ocean swells, there is an ocean in the sky and in the sea, the sun grew the clouds like sea meadow grass, the wind blew them like strands of hair, the clouds strewn seaweed along the shoreline of the sky, the sun grew the clouds and the wind, it turned the wind cold and warm, the sun grew the hot desert gibbers to breaking point, the stones cooked like onions along the frypan of the clay, "tell me your stories," my heart said, "I am waiting like a stone," one bird looked down, had noticed me as part of the place, "the story of movement is slow," the clouds sang, "the story of time is eternal, the story of nature is cyclic," this is the story of the day and the night, the story of birds that flock and skip along the ocean horizon like a black rope turning into a cup, the aviators who catch the insects up, their eyes like nets that see fish through the surface of the sea, the sun grows the fish, it grows the birds beaks and eyes, it grows the fish fat beneath the surface with a heart of fear, I said to my friend, "sometimes the animals just all move about each other, I noted the journey of a rattle snake and it was all about slow consumption, all the animals moving past each other, they moved slowly over and under each other, suddenly one of the animals would just eat another one, and the one that was being eaten didn't seem to care, like it gave itself up to be eaten, that it knew its place on the earth was an animal to be eaten in the same way that the eater knew it must eat, we are the eater and the eaten, moving in and out of each others throats like long ropes, like we are ropes the lengths of intestines all inside out, pulling in and out of each other," "I know," he said, "it's frightening," he understood that many are frightened, all the little fish along the coral reef are frightened, their eyes are designed for plankton and predators, their gills are for daring attempts and hiding spots, go forward and retreat go forward and retreat, flick your bright spot and tail on a current and that is it, their eyes are for food and the food they will be, the beach we stand on waits for us to be food and will feed us if we're clever, it will harvest us after it has been harvested by us, the earth told me its long stories, as long as a sun reaching its light around the circumference, the earth's light is not like a city light, the small pockets of electricity that cling to the rupture between sea and coast, "humans put those lights there," the coastline sang, "as though they were termites or fireflies, the earth's light is greater than that," when I was crazy I saw a car tail light drive off down the street, I was sitting in a parked car alone in the winter, I thought the sun set down the street like a tail light, the moon is the still lamp, but the story was bigger, and slower and cyclic, my eyes were the car windscreen interpreting the cinema of the world through glass, meanwhile nature was just around the corner, it's like you can be in a swanston street, a city office or the peak hour traffic, meanwhile along the beach the clouds are trailing their moisture like slugs, sometimes they have the whole world on their backs like snails, then they are birds, soaring up before the sunset so that their wet wings arent set alight, or fleeing that suction so they don't go down with sunset past the ocean, who would know that half an hour from melbourne the birds sent songlines along the waves?, the politicians would not come here today, and many wouldn't come here until retirement or on a special occasion to the beachside restaurant, they think they know what is to be found, yatchs and clubs, ice cream, balloons and a bit of sun, wind and sand and all for us, all our little playground, suddenly the flocks are my neighbours, the tiny bird with the fish asphyxiating in her beak works on her death beside me, we are all moving through each other, my dogs pant at the sea's edge and tremble at the fleshy albatross and lick up the ocean, I will not eat nor abandon them and nothing else will, we all have our protectors, the city of people are going home to the television as the birds go home to the city trees, the wind goes home to the night after sun down, let us be the clouds who roll away laughing, they are free, they have asked me to follow them into the sky for my stories.12. HIS TOUCH CANNOT HEAL YOU: SO CRY
From Coral Hull's unpublished book Psychic Photography.
if he had touched you/ you would have cried in the morning/ his touch cannot heal you: so cry/ you must cry tears that dogs cannot lick away/ flood your night dress/ a hah - a hah - a hah hah hah hah/ until the cry is infantile/ until the infant crying fills this room/ the room of darkness/ that filled its lungs its hours/ those long & desperate days of an infant alone/ this dark stretch of childhood like a road to the end/ the infant that marvelled at its own hold on life/ its tiny body that convulsed/ until just a convulsion filled the room/ & this crying sound that jerked the room into being from the miserable cot/ nappies were somehow soiled/ miraculously there were hunger pains/ those faint sensations of warmth & cold/ a dry old spider hung on the wall by the cot/ a small brown bird hopped onto the window sill/ there was a child amongst the crying/ & touch did not heal her so cry/ cry like a baby on a great flat rock in the sandy desert until the overhead sun sinks your eyes into your forehead & your small mouth offers its fluids to flies/ cry out along that western australian coast until the wind rises up from the indian ocean & slams you inland - until it tumbles you over & over in the west coast heath, seeds & burrs grasping your clothing/ cry out along that ninety mile beach to nothing but sand blown stretches & great white pointers smelling out the shallows, cry to that thunderstorm far out on the ocean cry he cannot heal you so cry/ cry out to your infancy - wring yourself dry, hang yourself up in the clothesline to dry by the heart of your sleeve/ then look down all washed up like a cloud to the earth, like a child to an insect, like the sun to a flower, but first you must cry like a cyclone