Example 22

She blows poisonous smoke rings
With her pouting lips
And huge cuban cigar
While the ouija board
Spells out
Over and over
Relentlessly
Maria Teresa
Teresa Maria
“It’s a curious phenomenon”, she whispers
“Finding yourself in someone else’s dream”.
And she strokes her monkey-paw charm
And looks to my left

These four big clocks
All ticking
Waiting for the hour to strike
And in the parlour
Odd objects displayed
In even numbered piles.
Bits and pieces
Pieces and bits
Horological parts
Closed circuits
Awaiting electricity’s dance
An IT Tango
The Rotowhirl
Of a B3 and Leslie humming
Reverberant chaos
From the air
At mach 20

On a little writing desk
A file marked
“Classified
For your eyes only”

Broken frames for the pictures
Oh – there’s me!
In freefall.

I think it’s time to
Light out for the Territories
So I jump the night flight from Houston
Caught with this stiff neck, Sharkey
I heard all about Sharkey’s day
Until I slipped away
But in my sleep
I got to experience
Sharkey’s night

He had this credit racket
And once he spent a night in Baghdad
On his Way To Jerusalem
The perfect salesman
Decked out with false documents
And a fake moustache

I dream I have to take a test
But Mr Sharkey refers me to the dream before
And says simply
“Let X = X”

His tattoo reads
“Private property”
And he’s expounding on
Life on a string
And a maritime strike
Something about time and a half
And triple time for midnight
And he’d support the strikers
Really, he would
But the shipment from Beiruit is at risk
And he’s a running dog
Born that way
He never asks
He just takes
And connives
Our Sharkey is a dark angel of capital
And Superman’s been bought and sold
And Liberty’s in chains
“It’s the end of the world” he says.
“And in these days of the devil…
well…
Yankee see, yankee do”

Somewhere over the north pole
I get to thinking about a farmer
Finishing off his harvest

Just over the muddy river
According to the infamous red map
Along the New Jersey Turnpike
To Washington Street
Back into the New York social life
Coolsville – Miles Davis and Mulligan
Cashmere sweaters
Back into the city song

The ugly one with the jewels
Wishes me an O so Happy Birthday
her rendition is her telephone song

I put on my player
The three walking songs
And go violin walking
And falling
And sing a neon duet
Here with you

We watch the rising sun
While the visitors take
To the blue lagoon
Ramon at the helm,
The stranger, Steven Weed
And the Cultural Ambassador
Dr Miller
Professor of English
A reputed longfellow
Locally renowned for reciting Hiawatha
With fireworks

The soul is a bird
Let X = X

Up at the Puppet Motel
High in the mountains
The dog show is in fall swing
Under the tiniest big top
Talkshow animals walk the tightrope
And dance like startled wildebeest
And there are
Excellent birds

“Language is a virus”, Sharkey says
“Just say ‘hello'”.
And in this large and changing room
I wonder
“Does anyone speak my language?”

The voices on tape are speechless
And the mailman’s nightmare
Becomes the language of the future
It’s a difficult hour
Listening

“Are you going somewhere?” she says
“I was just looking for you”
And my eyes track her small voice

“Talk normal” says Sharkey
“It’ll get around by word of mouth”

Langue d’Amour,
Let X=X

I write a song for the two Jims
“Love among the sailors”
And watch them drink from the healing horn
“Same time tomorrow?” says James
“I’ll be walking the dog”, James replies.

You, in a beautiful red dress,
Bright scarlet,
On one of those
Ecstatic
World without end
Time standing still
evenings
Holding a white lily

My compensation babydoll?
I have this picture of it
In a broken frame
In a dream parlour
In New Orleans
Guarded for me by freaks
And monsters
Houngans
and Kadaitcha men
Angels, light and dark

Let X=X
This is not big science
This is not example 22
In the William Burroughs catalogue
Of unintelligible phenomena
This is the simple equation
Of gravity’s emotional angel
Let love just be love
Let the world just be the world
Let a dream just be a dream

Let X=X
Langue d’amour

April 2008

(Based on the titles from Laurie Andersons discography)

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4 Responses to “Example 22”

  1. jvonbargen Says:

    My one wish in life is to view the inside of your fertile brain! No worries. I won’t kill you off to accomplish that! Brilliant piece, mate!!

    • All you’d see is something coral like – and blood…. Tragic ain’t it

      Just listen to a bunch of Laurie Anderson – Home of The Brave and Mr Heartbreak are my faves.

  2. jvonbargen Says:

    I just read this again. Truly remarkable. I’m adding it to my favorite of yours. A thousand stories in one poem. Who does this? Unforgettable, mate!

    • The first one of these I did at Navworks – When it first arrived I thought – wow – that’s too disjointed… then I realised that as a freelance surrealist – getting things that had the quality of dreams was a good thing – and that the disjointedness captures something real about life. It’s simply not as linear as most people seem to believe.

      Thanks Jo – I’m partial to this one as well. Let x = x…

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