On the Gods and Goddesses of Eldon Terrace
history is still. Hidden
down pyjama bottoms in some
warm flannelette feeling
Where nanny would never suspect
and mommy only look for washing
Otherwise hands went colding out for balls
Would end up adult cracked like Shirley’s
scrubbing floors one room for each day-of-
the-week. Wiping away strands of hair
from her greasy forehead bruised every Sunday
morning. Huge tits (‘breasts,’ whispered)
from The Pill — hushed, also furtive, arms
crossed over fence or hedge. Bouncin’ the back
yard to ‘er My Paul. Regular not like
oh what was her name’s — the red head’s? And
just to think, we believed her
Sat at home with her dearole mom and daughter
fat and always waiting for mythical Dad. Then
some fella’oud ‘ad a heart attack, slump-
ed heavy as lead over his wheel. Dead
‘Course I never worked out why his one&only
Morris Minor went careering into that curb
Police. Oh my God, so rare back then, came
not even to check up after the schoolboard man
but to fish poor Mrs. Whatever ‘er name from
outa the car. Men. We never thought them
of any consequence ‘cept sat on walls, shell
shocked, eye-lost, burbling nursery rhymes
All of them somebody’s once. Utility-serge
and dads nearly all dead or at best with
one leg. So
sex. Hardly figured did it? Loud on boozey breath
tap-swilled down the butler sink, clotted along open
drains under propped lines holding — if you were lucky
and it didn’t freeze or if they weren’t stolen by
knicker-sniffin’ Lesley — pegged underwear:
women’s pants, vests, pillow cases, handkerchiefs
boiled of their snot, even sheets
Flecked with slack dust if the coalmen had bin
Washed down by Mackeson, piss and star light
Sex — you’ll have to have it when you grow up
Tea cup, D cup, cup the warm inviting brew
of hidden clit down the flue of jarmies
Oh but we knew how to breathe and shake
and keep quiet about it and I did it at
school in love with my reception teacher
Her tits like my mommy’s had never been
Later, Mr. Courts and at the Grammar
some mad-un-married old harridan head who hired
two males in one term, thinking to reign us in
A Mr. Forget-his-name, little and thin,
Physics master who we tied to a chair during
a naphthalene experiment and hoisted him
on pulleys from last week’s project and then
up the damn science block. Talk about stink!
Stupid bleedin’ spinsters. Their no-men
hell bent dead from the wars
Psycho-frantic Miss Reed and her gobble-de-gook
religious education and the Latin mistress with
her fag stench and tweed two-piece and lesbian
lover, the ever repressive Hitlerian Miss Gray
Biology mistress (that word so — Unapt)
Oh you may think it strange now girls but I do
assure you you’ll fall in love with one man and want
Be With Him for the rest of your life
Tubes, eggs and scrotum up on the board
Here’s lookin’ at you, you bull dyke pig
Here’s wishin' eh? But you don’t know what you
don’t know is I wanked under my desk at aged 5
I could read ‘John and Jill’ and write my address
and damn it come right under your noses
IFOnly I coulda been as much trouble for
ladies up our terrace as I had been for you
cows. Margaret and her Tony who laid her
out regular and you’d never see'er Mondays
Old Mrs. Brown who could do nothing but run
who lent us dog bones from outof ’er pinny on Fridays
‘til pay came. Stooped Mrs Humphreys. Her hooked
nose. Who’d fucked granddad under my mom’s
and God only knows how the two kept at it
For years my mother and her bangin’ cupboards
through walls and other acts of attrition
Sweeping disinfectant demarcation in snow
Mrs. Low, who though she knew Mr. Low felt
us up or at best just sat us on his lap, kept her
nose out of his business. Poor bloke first one as
he was to be made redundant
The Mrs Jones’s. The younger one whose husband
died falling off his bike and then whose daughter
died of meningitis and who got psychosomatic-
arthritis and never walked alone again
No, I know none of them came
They wiped kids’ arses, struggled bags of potatoes
home along blue brick roads and kept days
full of windows, damp clothes, steps and ironing
Blimey. Prettied by Amami, California Poppy
Nulon, Coty and Mum Rollette in the sixties
All floozies up the dark entry. Even they couldn’t
see their bruises. Grown old before their time. Christ
I’ve lived more than their years in orgasms
enormity of life
has as much hope
of being contained within
its own confines
as it has within a
Eternity has been
as still life,
The door is open
but within the cage
their still resides a
There is nothing that exists
for time the eternal
will forever ensure
that we all float
Can you see eternity
in a flower?
The pain the sorrow
the joy the love
or does it only ever
equate to monotony?
Life is death
and death is life
as we take the knife
at the ripe
blossom of being,
and then eloping with a stranger
from our very own
think it is the brick holding
this address here;
the tiles, the struts,
the fanciful things,
or the low words whispered
through wide rooms at dawn,
just the brick or
some bolder cornerstone?
Is it fear that keeps you awake at night,
scares you from your dreaming,
is it the fierce lonely holding your lids,
despite dry eyes?
you wept them red,
waiting for your final breath?
Who is that child
crying beside you,
she lift those stones,
place them one by one on smooth concrete,
the spaces with mud, straw,
whiten the walls after spring’s last rain?
it she humming down the hall,
a soft hymn, while the world slept?
Sleep thing, sleep
you are again
(place and place) the waking world is
with leaves and how unkind
you water and then you drink or don't
take the hand or touch the water
likewise sleep and sleep begin
don't you know the sea that alleyway where
your dreams bob
breakers and you the breaker
of some distant eye looking
far or don't
to that atmosphere and find unkind weather
so unkind and put the waking
world (like an
instead) in place
I die in myself
burn me with my accordion
on the white incense sand
I die to myself
and brown-edged roses
I die of myself
burn me if it is your will
on your satellite dish
I die with myself. . .
[repetition against self] in a sleeve of air where the shore does
the sea. halcyon days. sense no sense. aimless wanderings
intellect. the red fan has caught an old trout. i no longer
oatmeal the water. every day we pack. tomorrow we will spell
the potting shed harbors an orange tree. [self against repetition]
in the Tenth Printing of the Twenty-Ninth Edition)
I. A vowel with a posthumous existence.
existence. If I turned into a feather I would give wings.
feather. Replace with thorn. Give me the old poets and
Robin Hood rugosas
hooking the jersey of the burglar’s clothes.
shall always imply. My sleep had been embroidered. My
become a lawn.
Pet-lamb, dieted with praise. The editor wrote “My
very God! You’re a
wonderful poet. Just Gasp!”
gasp. My skirts had fallen. That faded, and I still wanted
wings and to
scratch an itching that housewives should have their coppers scoured.
am barely I. I grew up somewhere. I stayed home and planted
Robin Hoods under
the south windows. They died before they snagged the thief who
stole the I. I
died before I snagged the thief who stole the roses.
ayes in the caucus of the soul. Roberts insists on decorum.
pretty blonde insisted I change my name to Andy.
decorum. The w A (or T, or knees slightly open). E, also
A, and the
tempting wee e.
speaks in circles, the children giggling and/or fussing by our feet.
In referring to another member, he should, as much as possible, avoid
his name, rather referring to him as “the member who spoke last.”
I am the member who spooked last. I am not afraid to admit that
I, I, I.
Remove >I<. A common tawdry. Who isn’t oversaid.
Who isn’t a stud in the
lisping tongue or a 20 pound barbell.
My closet holds a polyester corset, a velvet sans buttons, a paper
overgrown clothes. I can’t be i.
White out everything.
Disorderly words should be taken down by the member who objects to
then read to the member.
When the ink dries, can I fly away? I has mistaken herself for
Cowering under the wings of great poets rather than to a bitterness
am not appreciated, I enunciates with gusto, and as the great poet
there is no greater folly than to enunciate gusto like a great poet.
Erase great. Erase poet. Erase no. Erase the I who
confessed every sweat
that summer it was too hot to touch, even when we did that with only
I and O.
Add emphasis to I contorting like O.
Insert I’s aubade in the epilogue.
Mather In the Visible World
Because sleep does not resemble anything
everyone here wants memory in
exchange for this present
indictment. We have never been
to town where inside everyone wants
this memory because there are no
doors for us, light hollows itself
this late in the afternoon. I’ve explained
possibilities for recovery, but this time
no one responds to the letters I’ve
sent. The details are all there: red near
the corner of the lake, how the shade
everyone instead. I happen to think
cold a joke, cruelty of this sky
is lightning, thunder has pride in ruining
us. We are not servants, you are
not keeping enough from us, we
already know we’ve not won.
The Pipes Are Broken
fallen snow or death
wash him where light
under linen is a canticle
the sum of banquet
is absence from the table
sick it seems
paper dolls in the hollows
my head a bus shaped
like a building
official told me
the quiet hasn’t quiet
in winter the face
is a dusted face
before the first
fall of darkened snow
Thrall To Lilith
She parades into my dreams: her impudent pudenda, an open, intricately
carved flower. Bees and stinging things live within, waiting
for the soft
whisper of invitation. She is vinegar and vanilla,
vaseline and vagina.
is a cascade of vocabulary: vibrant and vivid. The supreme vivisector
dictionary is a thrashing of ten-fold limbs; and all meaning is encoded
in the fluttering of her labial wings. I am a prisoner to her
volition, her erudition.
are pale blue men
working her Siberian pits,
and all for the want of a kiss.
out on her gypsy brass bed, she smokes a cheroot: staining the walls
with disdainful agitation — her cheeks, red as the cheeks of
The blasphemies of pigment beguile: viscous rivers drain the soul
homely warmth. Her likeness cannot be caught: it eludes with
ease. Teasing, she baffles me with the pink virtuosity of her
vain, I reach out to grasp her grassy banks: yearning for the safety
foreign shore; the heat of inevitability, the dark depths of her cavities.
was she who devoured my strong ancestors: she who left Christ crying
and gasping for breath. What hope then for me, with only my
paintbrushes and second hand adjectives to protect me?
future, I see, is a glassy cold pit: yielding nothing more than small
handfuls of flawed diamonds.
the literary mist / raw rain letter *
below hands' shade
underfoot — water years
turning bare marvels
mirror overwhelms grave
us, is called paper
"raw rain / below. . ."
Dreams Long For Syntax
arrive for dinner and die immediately, a figurative death
involving silence and grape juice,
as I said a death
where the skins of the purple onions
stand in for lost
lives and that strange college
friend in the corner
who bears more than passing resemblance
to the tall
dark hooded man with the scythe.
Singing is not part of the scenario,
me, a complex soul sparking and hissing and ready for
I am full of cat and other arts of longing,
my nose is my nose though I have given up my claim on all
I believe I should stay inside so as not to guarantee
another incident in the long grass
where the children
are afraid to ramble,
inside where inside my chest is a terrarium that has lost
where inside my chest is a golf ball the size of a golf
where inside my chest a dark peninsula struggling with the
a trash-can full of jargon,
a mine works silenced by the central committee
(wait, the mine is back in operation — plenty business
from China) —
inside where inside my chest is a brothel next to a river,
a bottle, a brother, a porte-cochere.
Louder can't be forced,
the Beloved tells me
as patterns fly above us.
She has the darling smell
and the look of someone waiting for the violent later.
I make love to her grammatically using metaphor and the
Before is only accidental
and between us the final won't flower
from inside issues sadness along with those ripe grapes.
tuv xyz zab def hij nop
Nothing prevails, ever, or over the sheen
of whatness, locked in the
vault, storm of phenomena, facticity in spades, framed, or the biomorph
high atop a quivering pole and over all the world, blue shudders, only
above, each crevice shining with a savage toxicity (and it’s all
of sheer loathing. Existential clowns in white face off their
paren)(theses, or are we the parenthetical?) suspension over
that of which we
might not speak, neither time nor space nor lyric of life, rather a
in spite, . . . perhaps in lieu
Oblivion is singular, polarity founded on the
ears, gracing, with
its absence, each particular, a sheet of hometown newspaper crosses
crosses the cemetery night I lost my cherry, the obituary of pleasures
dark mind whose flame, unseen, reaches into everything, each chink of
existence. From such a one two wires probe the sky each night
(as it grows
late, the mind grows early, words shine with emptiness in the valence
own condition, something between a lion and a forklift in the visual
minus it doesn’t matter, not excepting the words
Pressure on cervix, caul welling with fluid as
moon (the best of which
might least be said) rises over the rim of doorjam, or am I confused?,
I? is a long story I wish I didn’t have to bother myself
with. Bearing down
(pain), bowels adrift (more pain), or like the two black kids I rescued
an avalanche, breathing dirt for a day, pulled them from under a dream,
the hospital, in my arms. Words heard only in chambers beneath
the sea, or in
mystery itself delivered of rooms, buses, ditches, earthquakes, tornados,
tombs, to the horror of every waking moment
man; space, air, river,
leaf. Art is
of this will
things, as in house,
canal, statue, picture. But
chipping, baking, patch-
a man needs to retire
I am not so
write, though not
O,n,e, let him look at
rays that come
with this design,
heave odes, the perpetual
sub-me. Seen in
the powder-blue streets of cities, how great
a thousand years,
Be it to make
Meph. I am
Then read this. This. No mooooooore;
The end of
d’s lewd O
da’n’d O, O
indeed do live
torn & torn & torn
FAUST’S FAMOUS INTERVAL
E/ye!! & eye
Ma’ll/ o (w!)
moustache marches initially
and drapes the Lord of Silence,
the eventual infant,
a December trench
filled with purveyors of finished sentences
the visors of spies,
sends assessments of leering flames;
frappes, guppies, tresses,
restraints of the moist encore,
lava lamps over son coffers.
Advanced raisins send regards
with millions of ancient apricots,
and a tomb juryrigs a plea,
surfin' the village.
[Homophonic after "Fin De Siècle" by Jean Follain.]
Pour Noise On Other Aims
bore a souvenir, delay blinker, day montage.
Should terriers depend on a billionaire, delight source
par-delta led haunts of more glazes?
Pour offal mewlers or aims pour led rigor,
ill fault never an emu pear ripens,
ill fault setter advances, toes halted.
Pour mint a poise, my Aussie,
comes sigh state divine money
par low grace delays blinker, delays source,
pour diviner money, adroit damns led blue.
[Homophonic after "Pour Boire Aux Amis" by André Frénaud.]
penned in pen and black ink. Question:
who sits vigil in the quilted grave
while the dope dead lump lazily outside?
the scorpion rides
the simoon’s reckoning, the gesture
a sort of regression, sermon-
victim of the caustic moment.)
hand intends a flower but flowers
instead a skull. Death speeds, o followers,
where language has no license,
rose stalks or rebus, or a devil’s St’ly horns.
. . and in the Department of Behaviour Therapy
the poet skins merely the madhouse taboo
in cess pools and polluted ease, long corridors
lead like tombs of kings.
tamed in rhyme, tamed in monstrous rhyme;
myth&hero, who bares the poisoned meat,
and brushes his teeth with the blood of his enemies,
soured ochre, dust sepulchre,
effigy of timber and idiot coke
alleys, charred listless: slewed facsimile
of furious modesty, half-devoured by shadow;
haunting the pen-stretch,
meddling in vice and Good News;
a slight bleeding, black as the bullet
an inch from his heart.
outside of pain and poetry’s punishment,
the world merely moves,
region by region,
the spot the desolation
ended and began; traced from the other side
of snow think-glass, the piercing mask:
no sight; only slits where the eyes should be.
your request the carcass made a fist,
haemorrhaging like a machine
without human credentials. You were impressed
with the maze of insides; the ruins of Lord Thingy;
timbers, slate tiles, ragg flints,
shipwrecked rags and club-fingered fits,
the conjured scorch of legsarms maybe.
Tombed maggots face up in the mortuary glass.
sketched them how many times,
but found no soft words to unravel
those mysteries of flesh. You assumed names
you could never remember.
at the pen’s edge were you open,
in the glass longing. . .
I: Grandmothers, mirrors, other skies & c.
The universe slumped in a hammock devising ingenious new ways to break
hearts, robe parting suggestively at its forked and dangling legs.
the serene hammock and the storm-gashed spasm of rock where we
cowered as if shipwrecked, certain figures moved into light while others
retreated — they appeared to be elderly women opening and closing
on a long hall diminished by shrinking hooded lamps.
did not say three times; Air, please open, and the air did not open.
we suddenly stood before the hammock and waited to be
acknowledged like self-effacing butlers, which is the proper attitude
sneaking up on a languishing universe. It must be approached slowly,
folded hands, as one approaches a skittish frog, high dive or declaration
this is just the beginning.
universe in repose can also be a reflecting pool, so we doled out tobacco
and leaf, sat Indian style around the hammock and admired ourselves
have proclaimed that mirrors hold their most cherished images
subsurface even when ruffled by wind, shattered by hurled candlesticks,
unsilvered by time; and each day we discover new things about which
Grandmothers were right when we thought they were senile.
was strange that the cat never changed colors; the tiny husks of phantom
dolls did amass on the white wicker chair — these were the components
new instruction, insofar as we could divine them from the rustling scrolls
of their ancient voices.
graven with a stylus of iron or impressed upon flesh with a
fingernail, the imbricate afterimages of their manifesto, described
the dimming of variously colored veils, persisted long after their immediate
utility slipped into the abyss between each word in the inscription.
universe put its hand beneath the unfolding robe and writhed obscenely,
head falling back in ecstasy.
sky within was flat and glossy like a photograph of water, centrally
pinioned by two gigantic hands knitting the heavens with worry.
the universe’s wild and bucking head, the Divine Barber stropped
razor and entire epochs drifted into anonymity like beard trimmings.
of steam and the silhouettes of languidly turning propellers obscured
the seething radiator, a man who was mainly a dense system fingered
clucked and hurled their knitting needles with startling
hissed from everything deflating.
Whole? What Sum? What Parts?
ocean sky, the yellow sand,
A lawn chair, a mass market in hand,
Who can smell the hot dog stand
As it happens at the moment
exuberant, more intimate form
Of democracy is obsolete,
And so the detail of the conventional
Demarcations of desire, implicit
performance, excludes an upheaval
Of the present that is both voluptuous
And political, where absence is
Grace, that manual of detachment
mystification, as technique
For attenuating the ways in which language
Is the literal participant in the body
That seeks the exemption from meaning,
unlike a chair, a book, to find
Some connection, and yet nothing to say:
As air is to fire, to ocean, sky:
Renewed upon contact, emptying away.
no one was dying
in the dream the road collapsed, dust,
shattered glass, and twisted metal everywhere
like a cache of dead bugs
as I stood alongside and watched the cars
ditch into the ever-widening trench
formed by the earth’s splitting
like a giant knife slicing through naked flesh
then it filled with water
and the cars became submerged
panicked people banging windshields
with hard fists, clawing through doors
jumping out with their children and dogs,
screaming and yelling
but no one was dying (thank God)
there was just fear and anguish, confusion
and turmoil everywhere, and there wasn’t much
I could do I don’t think
besides climb up to the top
of this hill to get a better look
pockets were full
of tickets collected
on buses for months
home he had packed
shoeboxes with them
dating back years
first he did it by default
when he was still working
accumulating them in his suit
for weeks before discarding
day he started
I’m going to collect my tickets
and see what they tell me
puts today’s ticket
in the palm of his hand
fortune telling fish
that used to come in xmas crackers
fish told him nothing either
Clayton A. Couch
the mouth'll say
disconnected from brain
is a guess.
towards an artless blunder.
What loves for you?
players talk sun:
a recreation redressed,
flurry of bloating.
Mind ceases movement
after accident's tracing.
a single a sole politeness wedded here
finger mingle the trigger separates your hide &
itches we opine you dreary separation anxieties
platformed above a helium high-horse the game
ends softly respect a question & hopeless frugality
just the stairs say antenna & reflect a more pristine
regime that's vending arms & wearing flagrant
stories of cheating librarians just to count three
birds & sing microwave come-ons so the gala lasts
for more resistances or clamors for perfect vacuum
hurtled into wakefulness the speech connected
waves with pure thundersticks & I need what hums
the mortality of digital zig-zag for the high voltage
wires deceive & we have no time used phrasings
the broad feelers overstimulated caffeine splurge
tear the release of mythological loci & germinate
typed espionage & drive motor catches bacteria
in a pandemic of foreign relations & they preen
The kind of light where
there is what I would.
Pause ballast. Leopard
lines of horizontal
willow its used
to lozenges of
leaves take bow today.
Shoot. But it’s not. A
rank file call. A blister
name of wort to heal
this froken frazas
in a peal of could
fronted. Kind mammal
strange except its name
& if it came out
mane just the damn same
that no this flat sense
poetic language issue four, fall 2004, edited by gregory vincent st.