9 Dec 2009

'the desert Homeric'*

in arid cities we have read as syntax flooded streets, marked tides in museums where classical shadows
build birds of dust on their shoulders:

the old tongue sleep, forgotten, in patches, but still the thirst: the sky, a desert of tiredness, without image
to drink, but almost

the memory of rain, half-tasted, like jealousy in the back of the throat; the lake, maybe eroded, or a salt, unfed
expanse, a wilted

lip dragging dust boundaries, outside the circle of light, the marble horse's pupil gilded. sight splits a line, a dry
horizon, a pen

raised to the chalky lips of cliffs, the vanishing point chewed ragged by wide skies, a seedless devouring, graced by neither coherence

nor splendor; where we live, on the edge of the letter, a view pointing stillness, behind gray glass; time ripened
under the eye's

black canopy, the plum of a newly born century, split under the hard foreknowledge of a thumb; and after the music
there will be the calm,

a relocation of light, the movement exact, a trace of anger held between hand and paper; and in the wind, where
cartographies click, and the surfaces rearrange

their notes, the desert flaring, pulling a long story from our feet, after a lifetime spent suffering the stilted innocence
of flowers, to avoid the belonging, the dull love:

to walk horizontally along the edge of a word, blinded by sun, to forget what was seen, and what there is, and
beneath real heel, to gather the fiction of a hill:


*[first published in Australian literary magazine Cordite, the Epic issue 31.0 (2009)]

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