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This is Jacket 14 - July 2001   |   # 14  Contents   |   Homepage   |

This issue of JACKET is a co-production with SALT magazine

Drew Milne

four poems

troubadour unbound:
on his belated inauguration

Pound et toi, mon ami, mon
hypocrite professeur, camarade
de poésie, now here’s a wonder
done out of the chilled section
where the shelf-stable juices are
best left to irrigate the parched
stones of the Orange Room, here’s
to the return of the silver hounds
oh roll over there Swinburne
so indiscrete when numerous
when the bottle bank’s hungry
and many a dog-eared index
card gathers rust in the greying
vaults of research fitness clubs
where the latter-day Thoreau
might take a leaf out of death
and profess himself more than
a little pleased by a hard day’s
slog on the word-processor,
no, not now and not for us
there’s more in them thar Cantos
than is dreamt of in TQA
and however you shuffle that
forcefield which repels as often
as it attracts, the thing is
you’re a guide in the valley
of the one-eyed pro and just
so economical with the truth,
the bruises can be so purple
and though poetry’s a mug’s
game with nothing in it, we’re
in it together, come crime
and carping critics, however
the much vaunted nursery waltz
of usury and Medici gold
might be really spoiling us now
we’ll leave the church-spotting
to the Renaissance blokes
and turn once more to song


ouch, that calendar’s no good
swanning off in April scenery
when everything’s in spring and
I don’t suppose this envelope
will put the snails to shame
but the scrawl’s a mark, dusky
under the strain of air ledgers
and now your big day’s gone
you’ll forgive the loose return
which is to say, hope it all
came and left without more than
the usual dent on our shared
slide into passing out while the
thought still counts and in jelly
well the no news is good, then,
none better than that I’ve lost
the threads as to which matters
more, the rites or the strokes,
the many blunders in shades
or who speaks still of looser
wool and shaggy pants for all
but take this token shopping
or have a smile at my expense

to the point of abstraction

the night brings another distance
larks from the razzle about being
bombarded with each picture skip
and something wonderfully frozen
that turns to what carries the sky
or falls in with the say-so moving
regime but when you do the human
figure they assume you’re some
humanist of a sheepskin persuasion
who can’t see through the wax for
speakable joys so strange in darks
to say nothing of your good looks

seasonal greetings

another December morning does alarm time
stonily advancing towards boot camp hilarity
with the DJs, and what if several mornings
could stretch out south and fly the week
a flock of buses all at once taking the easy
way out along the trans-Europe express
while you, me and assorted vultures prey
on scripts like the falling of the weekend
into someone else’s arms, someone else’s
pocket. Xmas is coming, relenting cheers,
Xmas is coming, well did it ever leave the
cupboard stuffed for the eternal return and
no we don’t recall the siege of Leningrad
save in the most pressing of food queues
while the DJ cranks up the contempt bass.
There’s no ice on the inside, which is good
only a tickle from central heating to meet
the chorus of mobiles and sheets smiling
somewhere there’s a contract out on you

Drew Milne’s Internet site:

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This issue of Jacket is a co-production with SALT magazine,
an international journal of poetry and poetics, edited by John Kinsella
PO Box 937, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge PDO, CB1 5JX United Kingdom ISSN 1324-7131

This material is copyright © Drew Milne
and Jacket magazine and SALT magazine 2001
The URL address of this page is