Empty Chair at the Nobel Feast
but can’t digest it. The meltdown of gold standard
buddhas has blocked the system. Back home, the silence
sucks at bone marrow. The iron bars are secure,
keeping speculators talking to a wall. The world
curries favour, but trillions of yens are going nowhere.
Human beings come cheap, but cost. How many grains
of rice does it take to feed a billion people?
Freedom from famine comes first, and then the sated
sit in hope enough to eat will become a right.
High-minded believers in humankind beware.
Market forces are shifting to the most numerous.
So there’s no such thing as a free Chinese meal.
You barter what you’ve got or work in the kitchen.
Extraordinaire: Un Petit
except what happened in the last guerre.
Actors, artists and football players,
(you name it) share the dictionnaire’s
favourite word. Extraordinaire.
Extraordinaire. In Flaubert’s
Idées Reçues it would be there
now between extirper and fanfare,
except for what happened in the last guerre.
Hamlet on the
Feast of Saint Felicity
unknown, shall live
The potent poison
Should I absent
thee from felicity
to tell my story,
and in this harsh world
draw thy breath in pain?
No. Patience and suffering
a virtuous circle.
So make your
to St Expedit.
Get well soon.
‘My hand is cramped from penwork’, Seamus Heaney
The Bic Crystal has still some residue but it’s too faint
for failing sight. I can’t find a refill for my Parker
in the emphatic black. I try a felt tipped pen. The cap
must be kept on all the time, and so how can you be sure
it retains its mark? Once upon a time my feathered nib
dipped into an inkwell and spelt out copperplate. No more.
Nobody can read my handwriting. Not even myself.
Persevere, says my other hand, for I’ve learned to touch type.
But my Olivetti is missing a few key letters.
White-out the aberrant ‘e’s and ballpoint them in. A smudge
means a complete re-do. How I’ve suffered. Nobody can
read my handwriting. Not even myself. Now the clavier
of my word-processor has ‘delete’ and ‘insert’. Heaven.
You fly off into space, backfiring corrections. The flow
knows no end until the printout, and the ink runs. Fingers
stain everything that they touch. It is the art of writing.
Job Wins in the End
I am not at ease with my life. I know no quiet.
Why was I not born dead? I find no comfort in my bed.
My dreams are of suffocation. I wake up in prespiration.
The hair of my flesh stands up. The bitter cup
I drink from breaks in my mouth. Count me out.
A tree cut down will grow again. Its roots, amen.
The body is a plant that only flowers once. Grant
me a bag to put my sins and bones. Put them
in a grave in a cave where nobody can find.
He who ruined my life blinds and binds me to save
what is beyond redemption in the eyes of men.
Double or quits, and I didn’t. My woes are exhibits
for the Comforters to comfort themselves with snorts
at my cries of ‘unfair’ when they wanted ‘despair’.
All that I lost in the end returns with dividends.
Madoff as Job
Because he covered his face with fatness,
and maketh collops of fat on his flanks,
and dwelleth in desolate buildings which
weren’t made to live in, soon to be failed banks,
his Ponzi ploy deceived the needy rich,
who mistook his vanity greed for theirs,
and now gang bang a killing, so discreet
daylight robbery would seem hypocrite,
to get investments back despite bank runs.
Cutting losses, leading market players
recompense themselves with reserve funds
and tax-payers money. All heil, Wall Street.
New Year Poem 2011
Slack where once there was fire,
the dampening of desire
petered out the last spark
alive in the pitch dark.
But at dawn when one rakes
the ashes a flame takes.