To the Unknowing

You will have been. The cool blue pastimes of the present
relaying across the digital domain, heedless of their piercings,
eyes a hijab frames eyes that in time stony, in their sparkle
           ghosts settled with a fly’s iridescent wings,
fan out irises of colour,
                                         eyes now violated brilliantly
that will once have been brought under the aegis of this tense,
react to their future pledge.
           The white enamel ridge, the steam, your limbs yet
to be found, these will have been, my word being your bond.

How could the days of lamentation, stop before a white ridge?
Tracing-paper days have greyed out and the anterior buckles.
Repeat after me, a grizzled boy taunts,
           scratching his initials on each alabaster column
sequenced to the vanishing point.
                                         Was this a start code or epitaph
reverse-engineered? Light divides into a spectrum,
the spectrum scatters, what became apparent through steam,
                    shied away from,
will have delivered its full meaning being blocked at the edge:
           being blocked gave birth to meaning,
being recognised, denies the cynosure its festering event.

Cynosure or vanishing point, that on scrutiny, must blink out.
Turn aside and hear it gush. Advance and see nothing.
           Abandoned vehicles, planned obsolescence, futures
down-paid: the bent of starlight
striking the fit face brings about what will have been, twinkles
framed by a cowl, steam swirls round,
                    puncture mark
of denial, of the died that shines still in the promissory face,
affirming its tight closure, flooding from the corona,
prismatic rings a black sun.
           Vestiges of its point that was thrown into unrecognised
fringes of what apparently is, vibrate in those eyes

that are all unknowing.





Evolved Behaviour

Beyond the insolent rug, male fantasies bristle –
           have they become more legible
with time? Or will they back into the distance,
           peeved? Sunshine strokes the void rug
which relaxes. Give over. Bleeps and hisses
           signal the contemporary, do they?
Anciently on the march, male fantasies
           pull out plugs and smash sunlight.

Give over. Tufts are harnessed into canvas
           with a quick twist of the wrist,
and where coral dies, statuesque and white,
           minnows or some obviously
more attractive flickering fish, tease outcrops.
           Senses of injury, age
in heavy boots; but a new strain of mosquito
           whines in the auditorium of dark.

           Seductive, fierce and maimed, a face
swims forward, trailing a smudge of sex
developed by others.



[John Wilkinson’s books of poetry include Reckitt’s Blue (Seagull), Ghost Nets (Omnidawn), My Reef My Manifest Array (Carcanet) and most recently, Wood Circle (The Last Books). He is a Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 2022-23.]

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