Issue 7: Tim Atkins, Poems from Petrarch

Poems from Petrarch


Because in the mind all is perfect

                        & there is little salt

Because it passes like a cake

               A little counselling is enough

& as for      we who love to be abused

On water or on fire may    be deceived by taste & good touch

                              Because there is no mind                       Because 

Because the majority of cave dwellers are dexterous with pens

Because they fit 

Because yuppies always move south 

Because it is easy to blame the green vegetables

Because a single thought is always too much

Because burning is of use to describe humans

Put it out


The moon nourishes disgusted men & Sava Centre Summer flames

But the sun persists

The branches of the trees become supple 

When the earth gets dark

Books & when the atmosphere hardens and vibrates

Green eyes blink back at the rayons   & the heart sends their blood back    to material souls

Reverdy wrote that

Who seeks for divine beauty     seeks in vain

If he has not used his eyes to look then

& seen her using them      & making them move

He does not know how love can do things

Such as sighing   speaking   smiling  &c

Petrarch wrote that       

The sap                                I wrote that



Her white breasts pressed against a green tree-trunk

One cat kissing another cat    on a card     in a card shop     in Clapham

The orange of oranges        as   only oranges can        summon      different from a blue tongue 

in the mouth or the hand

Of a Chinese doctor  trembling just a little at the front     of        the concept of reciprocity   

Her yellow body      as white as white paper         really white

Two boxers standing silent in a ring    perhaps         hugging               What Spunk!

Light on wrought-iron in the dome of the mind of the Dadaist Restauranteur 

Whoever wishes to love nobly    when she presses her green something against a white
what—   friends—








    for Jeff

Oh!  Here I am & what is this 

Duvet & ketamine  lemons the North & South Circular      stars asleep in their beds & the

Do not twinkle at the gates  or were they    Cheerios & cold milk
Producing a temporary high & then finally    the remorse of a lover   human  or    Pu Ling En 
he said

Feeling a little light-headed over     multiple copies of Wallace

Spilling & losing weight from the fingertips                but      I Do Not

I got IBS paying off the IRS      perhaps the

Ignis Ignis  on the branch  pecks my wood when life is good (perhaps)

I went to the library in order to learn things but   To Kill A Mockingbird    taught me 

Nothing about how to kill mockingbirds

It is beautiful to look at    beautiful things   & say 

Fuck to the revolution       because one has already done it  

I got the tiny mumps    instead of    Concupiscent Cups 

You never really do get all your money back



    to J.S.with L.

In England   &/or   Hobbiton

                    & in denial of my age 

        Now that summer has been sold off

Without dividend from whatever privatized public service deigns to lease my leg to the national
grid & then charge for it

                     After 300 years of being Japanese

             In the process of giving up wishing for the rewards of a poetry written towards a ship
made of bricks

                  Or of ‘literal’ fulfilment    

Having been closer than most hairdressers to both    

In a taxi   back from a fortnight’s canapés & quality time with chinchillas   at a conference on
Karl Marx

                                Let me state             although it is late— 

To be a poet is to hitch-hike 5000 miles in a kayak   in order to see      

     A jar in Tennessee    

                               Rioting      Inna me khaki suit-an-t’ing         In Godalming

                                                      Selling out is the new keeping it real         Unhappy for ¾ of

a haircut

                                   We always fall into the




                                                       Who really changes the world most



Addictions in infinitives     to refuse to give in

To elbow cream    to crave the

Camphor & eucalyptus    in it       & to

Write under the influence      of this heat       to drink     in a very bohemian

Tea despite a mild allergy to dairy products    to be unable to listen

To the needs of the bladder in the middle of a stanza      or when thinking

To fatherhood in practice & in       the abstract       gulag

& to read & to write it

Fucked    beneath a sun   with bandaged elbows  like an abstract poet

& with signs      attempting to run

Towards the Late T’ang 78s  on Montgomery Street     to conversation

& to the search for &/of eradication       of the need for       Ego   Her   

Hands Eyes  car keys & spires & capitalism    

Cows   & occasional bloating


An egg rolls down & then out of       A woman    

One   which you wanted        but could not catch

Then a little more food with holes in

You ponder the origin of wool   

Grey-eyed and moated as if in a moat

Flat on the bed from boring    

Words in freedom some of them    reassemble to make   The Art Ensemble of Chic 

A woman   with rope &  a bad magic trick 

Skipping like   the record does in order to caress into being a new age of feeling   & that which
is lacking   

As you pour yourself a small cup   of humanism

This is it—            Your life work     sky   or author function     resting in the body    

Which you both admire & revile               in one stocking        believing once more

As the teeth fall in to love                  you could       in spite of all dental & medical evidence

Leave them there forever



…& for endless afternoons           Monday-Friday

I made a nest in the Tooting Working Men’s Club Lounge Bar Lounge

Learning that there is no such thing as an emergency

In the poetry world   you touch something you don’t know

& you say it feels like death for example   & how

Books provide only moderate protection

If the best place to hide from meaning is in marriage

The world is so full of metaphor & generalization that it is only possible to blink at it

To live through lust is to live through sorrow   & vice-versa

You have to have your head filled    until it gets in the way

It feels like simile when the real world is always adjective

For how can we describe a       frenzy    of       happiness

As the world moves from word to word to larger gestural units

Then the options for oblivion become obvious



And the bolting or welding together of girders of steel to form a cage

And the sky & the blue grey incandescence which pours out

And the glory of coffees viewed beneath fluorescent lights

And the cars and the cars and the cars men

And Women who drive them & the glory of god in their elbows & their knees

And feel comfortable on moss    & increase human feeling

And lying    horizontal or at a slight angle     to the mind

Like the feeling of insomnia in the chest or of grief at bad books

& the beauty of constructivism & atonal music finally arrives

Flooding the garden suburbs of South Croydon on Sundays

& the arrangement of molecules in the inconclusive & the side stapled & the poor ones

Wherever I have been in the universe    dropping things     in whatever package or format 

Alive     in it   &   not only because of the efficacy of coupons

Before I croak     may or must   be happy with that   



When I was heterosexual

Books obeyed me 

It says in The Road Less Travelled 

With the water waiting far off

Book signing to which nobody came

The petit bourgeois small shopkeeper hugs her small children & kisses their heads

Fried like a     continental     love park

Heady & reckless    smoke  damaged  upon her breasts   smoke

The smoke from Mothercare     going up  love    & the sirens   I am—




Loaded with E.L.O. albums   hiding in the bushes

Insanely happy & in love with life

Tim Atkins is the author of To Repel Ghosts (Like Books), 25 Sonnets (The Figures), Folklore (Salt), 1000 Sonnets (if p then q), Horace (O Books), Petrarch (Crater Press), Honda Ode (Oystercatcher), and Petrarch (Barque). A new collection, The Tim Atkins Annual, is due out in 2012.  He is editor of the online poetry journal onedit, and the London correspondent for Lungfull!!!! magazine.