Collected Spruce responses, Part 2*


I saw a brush turkey descending the stairs
in search of a less intense relationship
determined to sleep in the variable heather

where marmalade meets the rindless sunlight
ancient grains and inherited merriment
enchantments secreted from a cryptic flaw

where the lakeshore is wealthy with hula hoops
and a trounced troll sleeps on a couch of coins
unnamed smoke in the willow tree





by the undrained marshes will you wait with me
extremities drifting prodigiously
rising early in the flexible garden

loving him like a giddy sprig
sunslick on the presumptuous bridge
something gave way in the crammed script of twigs

something turned up in the turned out treehouse
left my spare vigour by the venn diagram
where the sand dunes are stable throughout the year





tremendous fragments and tiny wholes
chit-chat nest and its hatched despair
like a queasy plea at the ascetic threshold

fashioning sinew from atmosphere
my dogged fancies and conflict avoidance
informal love in the ornament trees

where the spinifex shambles the overdue prairie
my bramble obsessions in the city of smoke
I give you all of my handsome omissions





my thrice-folded decorative serviette
rebutting the make-believe presumption
conceptually conquered the nautical knots

touchtone enhancements to the tired hive
practically trending the ambivalent view
compromised blinds and the slits of light

pothole of uncontained spectral awareness
sullen chimneys and dawdling clouds
bedroom door wedged with celestial objects





loafing alone by the idle waterslide
factual tadpoles in fictional ponds
seepage of perished pineapple juice

unexplained lines of Charades for Focaccia
minor excitements encrusted with rhyme
under the lens of a trembling microscope

surplus gleam of the secondary shoehorn
a wombat at large in the dreaming burrow
a tape-measure flexes its midlife muscle





concealed by a shrub an appeal for indulgence
reflections in the momentary water
when the flea museum unbridles its doors

when the lectern painstakingly starts to unfold
lost in the wardrobe of fervent culottes
three leaf clover at the inquiries desk

on unsociable waters the Lady at Bay
ringbound rain and a fresh rumination
companionship by the cephalopod exhibit





signalling desire in ancillary infrastructure
we stood side by side like parallel chances
crustaceans conversing on a tin-can telephone

fond recollections of the hamster hotel
assiduous presence at the Body-Pump classes
lazy ladders and attic shenanigans

I found my voice in a box full of what
through supple straws the ecstatic mouthfuls
doubting my love gift of an abstract noun





recreational maths and the pelvic storm
salt and pepper alphabetical order
doubly intrigued by singular terrain

new profile pic in a frame of mind
streaming streams where salmon salmon leap
we opened our poem to microbial novelty

the littler igloos and the larger igloos
afternoon with desensitised turnstiles
I rode my new tricycle into the fog





flustered seaweed in a languid tank
unfettered access to the dribbling trifle
rosy light all over the cliff face

Lay all day long in the informal meadow
traced basic shapes with a giant crayon
over and over the colossal pleasure dome

fourteen loosely encrypted rivulets
my chattels marooned on the buffalo grass
tiddlywinks or spontaneous boules





plentiful compartmentalisation
tiny weather in a tiny cave
that time I remembered to close my brackets

concerns exterior to my circularity
the way the cabbage cajoles the coleslaw
vernacular of the protuberant roots

hidden from view in the spinach patch
let down symmetrically once again
a moon with several more moons in its arms





the wandering songs and precision ditties
ecstatically baffled by the pot-bellied stove
toying with a game of noughts and crosses

on the pensive threshold of another hemisphere
testing my tolerance to pulpy juices
permutations with a vulnerable gloss

how many hours in a jar of gherkins
arguable case for supplementary desolation
adhesive failure of the second crème brulee





decade of the incipient migraine
yet another mirage by the parched bedside
like a ragged balloon in a rosemary bush

like resolve undone by a toasty skerrick
like a can recycled for the second time
to tell the time by the time it has taken

knitted transmissions and messaged sweets
your princely ivy upturned in the window
my long division of your amorous flannel





caught in a rip in the stonewashed lake
a basket of apples at the critical juncture
like a soft drink spilled in a tattered cinema

fixed all the leaks with dream expertise
hydroponically blossomed at my therapy session
startled by all the snack-sized rebuttals

precipitated by a stymied tortoise
medium density of the deciduous forest
bewildered by all the birds of paradise





unkempt need and the scrupulous hay bales
breakdown beside the Möbius strip
when it was drawn it was drawn in volumes

moonglow over unfeasible dandelions
circumnavigating the luscious crumb
non-negligibly delayed in the undivulged villa

with the citrus and its copious pith
procedural setback in the erogenous zone
where the text suggests a shapely alternative





in the costume warehouse with racy arrays
ejected from the deliberate gardens
pinstriped shirts and the ladybirds

one more evening with my jar of pickles
limber collapse at the foot of the elm
slow lake in the nervous balloon

we strolled the perimeter of the eeled lagoon
wind-up teeth on the cusp of release
I came back to life as a splinter of driftwood





to measure the wine by the wine it has taken
too many tinned oysters at the nudist beach
leased my admissions from a diffident owner

plumage of the ageing cowardice bird
your horse my horse a borrowed burrow
shed generously in indecorous layers

faintly reversed in the afterglow
still the large moth on the dithering flyscreen
just out of view the precipitous cherries





I want to see the spearmint grids
I want three things in no particular order
his tv room with its small bar heater

the tennis court with a meteorite
her friendship which is like a friendship
I liked your idea in respect of the sandwiches

I liked the way you played Snakes and Ladders
above all I liked all of the above
sometimes a tile behind a broken tile





like a podium felled by a piece of speech
like a headstand farewelled by a forward roll
finding a use for particularity

where squares of smog inhabit the centre
where generality is out of the question
stumbled on waterless ways to make rain

daybreak in a pile of feathers
burnished by a partial flame
textually relieved by a late intervention





I wore hi-vis clothes to alert other clothes
I erred in my failure to fail my error
languidly loudening in a natural setting

abandoned my poem about my abandonment
endured my rapport with plastic plants
strode into the room like an actual want

rode thrice on the cruise-ship waterslide
where the prisms gather in baubled light
where triangular trees trim their shadows in unison





borderline herbaceous the borders are
a cloud asleep in a precious metal
a peach tree in an unvarnished yard

perplexed again by the tricky zipper
I lost my flippers on the coral reef
expelled from my poem without cause for no reason

came into view as a lady apple
spectacularly ruined in a heated room
down the drain the unaided displays





nearly discerned a discernible difference
approximately located in the clearance area
music box in marginal decay

articulate exposure behind the scaffolding
patching paper with additional paper
played in a way with a digital ghost

glass of milk and a panic attack
sodden stars on autumnal footpaths
abject display of an abject object





pausing poolside with hints of hysteria
evening a diagrammatical mess
taking down all of the sumptuous drapes

deliberately with superfluous love
bouncing between these specialised stars
I cultivated my tiny opinion

beside the teetering watering can
hid my ambition in a box of sultanas
attempted a headspin in absolute privacy





tertiary oval with mist to the chest
I let the obsessions attend the small wounds
fresh prednisolone afternoon tea

unbelievable flowers in the thinking space
uncalled-for remarks from the limbic system
bilateral aches in a wisdom of ribcage

misconstrued unmistakably textual
trudging a path through affections of nausea
hypervigilant at the windmill festival



[*Tom Jenks’ long poem-sequence Spruce (Blart Books, 2015) contains 90 9-line poems. Each poem occupies the upper half of one page and is comprised of three tercets. ‘Collected Spruce responses part 2’ is the second of three parts of a work in which I respond to Spruce’s tercets. My poems do not comprise a ‘general’ or ‘retrospective’ response: rather they are the product of an intense, incremental engagement with Jenks’ stunning, original poems. I consider my work in response to Spruce to be like a tree which has been able to grow leaves only by studying the leaves of another, and whose leaves display that existential origin and relationship. A page from Spruce (together with six of my visual poems for Spruce) can be found here. Three other poems from Spruce can be found at Galatea Resurrects here]




[Catherine Vidler's recent publications include 78 composite lost sonnets (Hesterglock Prote(s)xt, 2018), Lost Sonnets (Timglaset, 2018), collected composite lost sonnets (SOd press, 2018), lost sonnets (Spacecraft Press, 2018), table sets (no press, 2017), lake labyl (Penteract Press, 2017),  table set poems (Penteract Press, 2017), table set poems (Spacecraft Press, 2017), lake labyl (SOd press, 2017), chaingrass errata slips (SOd press, 2017), chaingrass night and unresolved chaingrass tiling (SOd press, 2017), chaingrass (SOd press, 2016) and chaingrass (zimZalla Object 039, 2016).]

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