John Tranter

Desmond’s Coupé

Desmond’s coupé is full of jam. He’s in a quandary:
a bean lance, or a dance of circumstances.
He’s eternally fond of his own naivety.
A swanky beam spells out a white
cranky tale.

Susan’s inclination was
plainly desperate.

An ailment common in Siena
makes him think he’s dead and buried
or makes him realise he’s a bad dresser
on a plane, or in jail, but you don’t dress for jail
and people don’t wear a jacket on a plane any more.
Raise the bonds.

His three résumes — swallowed — he’s just
a shadow of his former self — fooey! — a deep violet colour,
or an alternative he’ll just have to adapt to
by the verge of the road.

Deep beans: his aunt has a rooster.
She’s getting battier every year,
a fish in one hand, a peach in the other.

The Master of Surges,
or so we infer.

In the flames we see the communist menace —
uniquely, they’ve got the numbers, no?
But they hesitate when the corpse waves its arms.
Pluto (not Mickey) wants to play,
oh, what a nut! Chained
at the party, a name for the horse floats,
an old horse works it out,
tapping his hoof on the floor, good trick,
but then forgetting how old he is
behind the jade barrier.

These pedals take you to an agreeable horizon,
well prepared.

You old git, free meals,
a bad smell on the dratted train —
now he’s heading for the air vents
in another carriage —
that’s the spirit — actually, a jet plane
would be quite a temptation.
You could re-employ a division of passing firemen.

The secret item on the menu,
the chef’s envy, even now
is cooling on the barbecue, or so you surmise.

Look straight at the homosexual:
nerveless, not very important, yet vain,
an old Hoover in his hand.

Potato crisps
are found in the deli, useless for a téte-â-tète.

He takes a disprin and feels legless, then he
has another one, then he feels
ambiguous. His ulterior plans
and unforgettably demonic.
He feels nothing
for the empty countries, Alaska, let’s say,
home of the Inuit. This old idiot
had a chance to meet The Supremes, probably —
say, Louie, your son is some puerile hombre,
caressing a policeman and renting out a lavatory,
eating soup and getting vaguer —
a soup full of hard bones,
now he enters the aisle, bending his knee
like a bat flapping into the sea.
The old tenant reads Lowell [’s poem] against the sea,
a chance to ooze poetry —
financially speaking, that is — no, don’t —
a voile handkerchief is an illusion
as antsy as having a phantom for a guest
in the chancellery
but that won’t abolish folly
like this insinuating silence
or Dan’s squelchy high-voltage approach —
he’s simply rolling around and laughing ironically.
Ooo! — A mystery!
A precipice!
Frank Hurley!
A billion turbots! Laughter and horror
with the author Jimmy Guiffre (on guitar),
but no junkies, please,
no fur,
and that old berk verging on the index
like so, a lonely puff of smoke at Purdue —

so far, so good,

where recounting the effluent is the talk of the minute,
and it immobilises you.

A chiffon and velour coffee-coloured sombrero
for this stiff old white man
is derisory, an opposition horse seal,
rather tropical, the sombrero, quite unmarked,
exhumed, quite conkers,
the American prince who loves the cool,
he gives a little heroic cough.

Irresistible maize container!

Par for the course, but a pretty feeble reason to be acting virile
and like a foodie, maybe the ulcers explain his puberty
or mute his loose and bossy vinaigrette
(invisible from the front)
sparkling with umbrage,
with the stature of a shadowy filet mignon
and with the torsion of a siren
impatient at squeamish ultimatums.
A rare, yes, and vertiginous debut.

Time to snaffle
a bifurcated soufflé,
thinks the old bird.

His manner is rather false.
All up, with a toilet next to the bedroom,
evaporated brooms
impose an unborn infinite state
issuing from the stars — que sera, sera
a pyre doesn’t disadvantage the minors,
they’re indifferent to the mutants,
that is, to the number of mutants that exist
apart from those agonising, sparse
hallucinations of mutants which start when they stop
and never seem to close, apparently, with an infant.

The park elk and his profusion of expandable rarities —
see, then the chief rat is ill —
evidence that the Battle of the Somme, for one of us at least
was a poor thing, though somehow illuminating
and written up in Hansard.

Choose a pen.

A left-hand drive car with a rhythmic suspension
that levels itself, an ox and some original scum,
no more wars, a delirious sound and just one crime
fleeing without identifying Jimmy Guiffre’s true neutrality.

Rein in a memorable crisis
as you see fit.
Your venomous accomplice can view the results: nothing!
Nothing human, that is.

In lieu of an aura of elevation,
the absence of ordinary verse.

In the loo, an inferior kind of clap
is likely to disperse and conquer
those who act in a poor video.
Abruptly key the synonym.

Parson, men’s songs are fond of perdition.

A dance, in the garage full of vague parables,
and which reality is dissolved?
Except where the altitude peters out
and an Aussie’s loins are right on.

A few swans, a vector dealer and
a horse of interest —
and a quantity of signals in general sell on,
tell obliquities, part Elle’s declivities —
the furs, poems, see what theatre
a septuagenarian from the far north of Australia
see in the stars — freezing, oblique and full of suet —
pass the aunt —
a killer from Noumea —
and this vacant surface is superior
to any successive hurt.

Side-rail was meant —
done, counted, totalled information
and a veiled ant, doubts, the rolls…

brilliantly meditating before the ratter
whose pointed bum is sacred —
and all the pensioners met Des in his coupé.

‘Desmond’s Coupé’ is a partly homophonic mistranslation of Mallarmé’s ‘Un Coup de dés...’

For the original, see Chris Edwards’ version, A Fluke (in this issue of Jacket) which is a parallel text edition with inter-word spacing that follows Mallarmé’s 1897 layout.

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