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August 2003  |  Jacket 23  Contents  |  Homepage  |  Catalog  |  Search  |

Christopher Barnes

Two poems

After Rabi Paneloux’s Reading of the Torah

At the eye of the hurricane
a loudspeaker van slings flames
foaming with run-amok yellow
a finger’s breadth from the obelisk.

A Rodin chunk is gravity.
Morning. Papa’s star-watching the astral grey.
Front stage the when
and the where of Avenue de Villiers
beset with perils.

It has teetered his vegetating centre.
He mouths misgivings to the dray horse
— blackshirts and communists pummel
while Mobile Guards at the intercrossing
discipline fire-flash rifles.

After Rabi Paneloux’s reading of the Torach
to scream, to whimper ‘hush’?

topple a swirl of red flags;
he closes his ears to the rapid shots
and flaters ‘bonjour’
to Mme. de Mille at the telephone exchange.

She booms that Mama has begotten me,
a white-pink boy
trembly and blue-eyed.

Rue du Coq D’or, Paris

Seven in the morning.
In her confinement
this feather bed cows.
Lurking mildew and soot
hassles her bronchus.
Damp, tinker’s pot black
streams down the window wall.

She’s sensate,
radioluminescence at the glass
from sore red sun,
and gaunt, frail to the bones.

Rue Du Coq d’Or, Paris, seven in the morning.
Her spick-and-span elf-boy sleeps
on the twists of the mattress.

Tomorrow she’ll grapple laundry
foisting on a sturdy bloom.

August 2003  |  Jacket 23   Contents page
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