Sunday, December 04, 2011

the sign whose wording is forgotten

there is the bell
a growling in the lonely house
steam trains along the river
some filament stretches
from here to here from here to there
who can count these days?
this part is all machine and this vegetal
here is a slow warbling
something is up
be it words or seas or the mere
announcement of consciousness and re-entering
docking, penetration, engagement, embrace
the erectile dissonance it is as though
the integument had been stripped and left
still pulsing on a wharf amongst
the old ropes and iron cleats
from here one day in 1947 the pontoons
drifted out burning into the serious parts
of the Mersey those undead places
that stir strangely at night and subside again
at daybreak when the phantom
of the One-O-clock-gun somehow shifted
deranged in time and not-time in the hours
the other silenced-strikes, fires, charges
dips, engages, penetrates the wet powder
or poudre of near-history there I was anyway
after midnight challenged and assayed
in the under-standing in the belief at least
standing under what is unknown but imagistic
of the dousing that attends awakening
as though cognition was the entering of some
spirit-fall or water-fall if spirit and activity
were waters and the turbulence out there
in the river's night from which things
could be brought back, clutched close
captured, painted if not in hues then in hachures
and contours but in almost every case
dead at the door, dead at the instant before penetration
and quite a weight from which to squirm out
from under think of it as a battle in which
you know the routine of dead men caught
beneath the body-weight of animals

with such feeble instruments
I can measure nothing


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