2 Poems: Paramilitary; A Shadow



the British Army leaves India

Boondock-mating-wetness for a frog bog highness princely stating the British out of the country say what say what the men did in the dark of the temple where the statues writhe in shadows and the courtesans lecture long about loves sweet pleasures while by the shore the waves lap idly like a cat slap-happy over a bowl of milk gulls going mad for a scrap books piling up in the hall the library the bathroom the kitchen wine bottles running dry and falling against the stone paving granite faces old men in the trains rocking home philosopher kings casting out the poets divine divine madness all around and verse to come.

Yes yes release the hounds the panting hanging tongues of war and rankness and rank and file and fetid breath and dreams dying upon the cobblestones in Europe and poppies waving in a far field while a naked kaffir falls from a train and the countrys furthest reaches are touched by the distant apparition the distant eye the round glasses the weaving walking mendicant merchant-caste soul going clad scant respect for cold or king or commonwealth cotton budding from the breath the skies all scudding cloud boll weevils emerging from the cracks and eating eating eating eating.

The father son and ghost begin the mass follows the crowd rushes in the salt soil is shared cleaned carried away and workers come at night for the dark moist manure fields stretch out green green fields of home boundaries undulate circumbobulate stop draw lines in sand four six leg between out out damned spot fetch see jack run see spot run see ladders midthigh garters come undone pantyhose payments for favours cigarettes hand to hand to mouth existence burn glow a hole in the forehead after dark. Halt, who goes there? Ah Major, goodbye.


A shadow

One door and one window opens
the jazz poem and a Japanese bass player
plucks the holy metre
of blessed miles.

Convolutions later, through many contorted faces
an apogee is devolved.
A careful bandage around the truth.
No need for a blindfold.

There are pockmarked walls
in foreign countries and come fall,
halls will be littered with the graceful dead.
It’s the disease of diplomatic immunities.

Reckoning is a cruel scale.
A pounded moment, the drums of sense,
the fingers thrum. At every opportunity
all is blurred movement,

no time for the world and yet hands on
for the self-pleasuring of that great tumescence,
profit. But look, this pen works.
Write. Love.

Paramilitary and A Shadow were performed live at The Tartan Turban Secret Readings #20. © Gavin Barrett