Nth Person Paucal

Wandering the city to your abandoned plan
while trying to be in the fourth person,
objective, like the anthropologist,
but I continually slips back
down the drainpipe into the first:
right at the corner of X and Y,
I thinks of you, the second person,
and keeps coming back to it
as a saved position: here
is where we started, plurally,
and here is where, zooming in,
I re-reads your old message
and overlays your map from then
onto The Map that has been agreed
by all the supercomputers
firing together in a distant desert.

Of course they don’t match.
I bounces thoughts off satellites
as your instructions flash up again:
there is a place to go to make ideas,
specifically to formulate the new.
It’s near the canal, adjacent
to the newsagent and the art materials shop
and the job centre, which hovers
like a cause waiting to be found.
I will recognise the graffiti
and the pitches of the rooves;
the homeless who guard those corners
will be familiar like a Greek chorus,
the fifth, sixth, even seventh person,
and the weeds greening the kerbs
can be harvested, their decoction
applied to any open files
to restore a sense of purpose.
The quest will be complete
when it is forgotten/may recommence
at will from the last saved position.




[David Hawkins is a writer, editor, and botanist from Bristol, England. He was awarded second prize in the 2015 UK National Poetry Competition. Recent work has also appeared in Stride and The Hopper. From summer 2018 he will be writer in residence at the Species Recovery Trust.]

Copyright © 2018 by David Hawkins, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.