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Jacket 20 — December 2002   |   # 20  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

John Wilkinson

Getting Shot Of It

from The Interior Planets

          in memory of Robert Duncan

... from Parataxis magazine, Cambridge
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Being neither given nor yet taken yet it feels great.
Gifts can’t treasure-lode it,
nor dump nor landfill such
as the interior, heart’s lasso describes, wild
interior rough settlers throng.  Can’t get my
        head around it,
through the soft stockade; how did it hold us
    in the first place, eking
wizened furrows, conning the names which silt
bars & window batons?  Good, it’s solid,
                   nothing can get to us now.
This pink shut room entiring our disgrace
      is where the eventual light stops short,
                           this royal enclosure
mollified by dust & trailing its red eye,
stores a physical, unthought stuff,
not amethyst or quartz, but heart of the matter.

Bone-dry is the leat & the pebbles suck, dust
     reckons on its final say, I’m parched,
but what are these weird names;
                        yes but I’ll rake
them over,
     thirst shall gurgle out of the spring
brim-full with dryness; maybe its sleeve crack
    like a crushed timer, frittering
round the yard, rippling underneath a picket.
             Crêpe & plastic roses,
     each be a cornet of dust
stiffly where their grim, dead-eyed attentions
       rank for Valentine’s day or a burial’s
modest eyes.  I keep them fixed on the prurient
  turf, but spurts of dust shall wave
               whenever I brush
dust slopping around, free cursors, tumbleweed.

Only is turned water, water’s creaturely turn
dust like seeds,
  like nut-brown pupils would dilate, like love.
That is their nature, take in recognition.
Taking in there should be, never to own to take.
        Cognition but of the seed of thought
                     decorously, a growth-twinge
runs alongside dust’s behaviour,
                                      pricks the brain-pan.
O but don’t poke fun.
Grain hurries & skips through dust that turns
         to curlicues & mad paisley,
sensing more, far more than behaviour warrants,
             siphoning through an inflection
of the dust-storm, its sticks & stones,
       delirious ectoplasm, depth
imparted to a swathe of hope.  It’s home & dry,
swiped in a second.  Grit still passes over,
   winks & dallies, getting in unprotected eyes.
How deprived of love
shall I keep going?
      Dry mouth going in spate, blabs
ever more furiously; from all its drivel’s
heard only a rustle of pennant claws, a sharp
whinny across the reed
             bunched up to the embouchure.
Where is the spill to pluck to shed some light?
    some witness asks –
a too-smart aleck, a subtle performer –
The walls here feel like they’re lined in moss,
      the dust’s damp & occupies
the crevices, who’s played the Galilean trick?
  What light I
spill shall glitter above the true wet treasure

says he, with touching assurance;
                    maybe if I scratch
about through worm casts & the whitened shells,
  down to the moist,
If my fingers’ implorable pit should squeeze
one precious drop, cage the pearl in a frankly-
offered fist,
         the desert bloom & the ice flower,
    ice should swell to confirm my loving status,
centrepiece whose shape holds as it melts:
Why do my eyes feel scratchy,
           what is this shadow that falls,
falls & moves with the sky it seems to plunder,
                    stirring up the dust?
  Keep warm & dry, it advises, stay deep down,
down where the occult first place
bows to thought its caddis guest, love the worm

             my eye.

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Jacket 20 — December 2002
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