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Four poems from Constant Hare

I.

Corrupted by monsoon years of urine,
reflected in a bear,
for a laugh I scattered apple-cores outside his dome.
The apple cores radiate cruelty
as do all souvenirs of joy.
Eels returning at dawn to the river
fell into ruts I woke early to dig.
Sir, might I be placed with another Creation?

Unshipped apples, briefly actors
pounding on the door to your place...
October ate prizewinning figs whilst
parenthesizing darkness

as if these people, pure as a clothespin,
cried themselves to sleep by way of
documentation       and as if they then

soon to be the dust of subjects

asleep compared lights             and then

the dust of subjects               slept.

 

II.

The loss of my
life and proof of it

hit me hard             late

but I’ve also had some luck     lime

deposits are up all over the basin,
privately people live, the wet pines
control the local atmosphere for man
winning over visitors like me.

And

oh! – Who plucked from a filthy socket
my mandrake, soaping the shriek
to a sussurus and playing surgeon
on tendrilled warts and hard buboes? Thanks-
the presentation, too, is delightful-
laid out on a white cloth, ringed with fishes-
benefactor, my thanks – at last a helpmeet

even if tiny and just for tonight.

Love in this pine-fug
not be a question.

 

III.

    Cheeky at Michaelmas
lava came harvesting practical ones,
illuminating hodge-podge, helling it
and I understand also
crisping old string
– miles of it, saved even in water-closets
airily going for Spring. And

the behavior of the door indicates why.
The behavior of the door indicates why
in this very quiet enthusiastic ones
deny seal and petrel detergent,
practice maintenance, perfume
– while boiling water speaks –
extinction, ‘a place out of the wind’.

Seawater boiling cries
Lava has seized a shipping lane! Be
practical and enthusiastic and think:
off the cold coast in darkness young lobsters
dying of herpes hold the door open,

performing an office in a smell.
Why else would they?

 

IV.

– as a body leapt a brilliant wood
of glossy sticks and ballsy wren’s eyes,
the good road through it really a floor...
Shining in the distance, not far, we saw –
and so disbanded –
and having been here now two decades
and a year

still, still in the confusing streets
the fantastic, subdued alarm
of this queer city I sometimes see
a familiar face atop
a body like mine,
and wonder – what?
It was so long ago now
I patted my pockets for a light.

 


 

[Mark Francis Johnson has work forthcoming in Holly White, EOAGH and Otoliths. He runs an artspace in Philadelphia called Hiding Place.]

Copyright © 2010 by Mark Johnson, 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.