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J A C K E T   #   E L E V E N   |    A P R I L   2 0 0 0  


Geraldine McKenzie

Using it


      'Loyaulte me lie'

the lady's bitten off no sooner taken
than with a body blow slow march
walking wounded the hospitals are worst
and you never quite get over the sly
rip and servile constancy of time
lights out and ravening the quiet
birds pinned in passage down so deft and
dealt a low act and well done by all
with a sense of grief or grievance verbally
indulged a chaste natter a quick skirmish
in the foothills hammering desire
to the count I'll make you but was made
undone regardless the past yielding to a
small despair as if caught out in a field
of sportive metaphor their cheerful disalignment
faulty grammar in some confusion as to position
query the fallow meaning bittering a sour play
misgivings rife amongst the shuffled sheets
nothing could be simpler in the end
ruling it off taking a stance
a chance at smallness no more
no more I beg off bow out
this heron tenor moot emotion
splurged a quick one sly fox
as wasn't home and holed
honour bite public confessions
of disillusion over but for a marginal
tremor this nausea who shudders in the gap
she's off in another room slugged
out ghost rattler mother bones
a quiet medium if one was needed
in the after naught to blame
would've fooled anyone and trusting
the honesty of bodies when they lie
and guilt like a small animal scuttler
moving into your house despondency
in the neighbourhood shift and bartered
in the levies today's trading passes
the thanklessness of beneficiaries
and well caught well hung a model
to us all of what can be undone
with minimum use of remorse
a brief flirtation in the profit garden
rolled with good intentions and fucking well
uplifted at the prospect he slaps my sweet
butt I could settle this at a pinch
who bled the rose bright and for a song
nothing but the quiet word from heaven
circumspect in the sloughed off
skin of autumn its vivid fever leavening
the raw thrashed into some sort
of violence bloody heroes
eros at the ford and wallowing
wine for courage stripped to
diminishing thirds there may be a
resolution several degrees of punishment
on I swing a wrenched sword
had having and in quest to have
extreme intimations of other days
with their new forms furtive in the round
a coming together recognition recalculating
the odds came out of nowhere
and the landscape continuing to present
inappropriate attitudes as in yards
and yards of unswatheable blue
its persistance in infiltration no joke
but pricked rewriting blasted breathing space
healing not well heeled but damaged
goods rising in your seat as I speak or drift
soft thighs about your nervous issues
your dilemma or not as you see it
say it this is history the new history
reassigning the blunt fist dumb
smile uncovering the mark in silly wonder
I who could be fed and not end up
the wholesome dish he wipes his mouth
will wear out any habit of new
mourning this distaste for what has failed
us amid nuances of disaster covered retreat
and fall who may I gave no orders
that in the future held dispute like a slow burn
icing through impressions of tenderness
and falsely held falsely held this bears
repeating little else but fuel to a clean fire
resigning martyrdom for the stout bones
of survival who sing their colourful hearts
as if it all mattered where and when
the pit is sited and sighting off with vision
mended to a rift could cancel joy
but in opening I have to live this way
the work to hand and master this


You can read two poems by Geraldine McKenzie in Jacket # 9,
and her review of Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red in this issue.


J A C K E T  # 11 
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