Issue 9: John Wilkinson
Mild as the indescribable beckons, and optional,
reaching with replaced limbs, proffering a new cup
brimming squalls and joy, the in-dweller swops
parts ceaselessly so a florid gaze submits and turns
composed towards its steady exhibition to itself.
Gently set aside the knife at the belt, a dusty cheek
propped on a stand in plaster recognition, pleases
the in-dweller plucking it to join an assortment
gazed on by a self-approving gaze, to be applied
to a half-mask anxious its match should not falter,
not again. Clear-cut the hidden shines, for shame
casts brilliant copies, scrutinising them for faults
permitting truth to leak through. Each disabused
by the gaze it is its work to hold steady, evidently
mounts a replacement cheek while seemingly fixed.
There is a pointing to make sure.
Grammar won’t come close, sore point,
throws out shifters, a clutch
Pale reps prepare to cover ground
What will push ridges high?
What buckle lakeland?
There is a pointing an appointment,
self pointing outward flicker and relapse.
barely cause a ripple. A quick arrest,
snatch from the cobbles,
stamped on a mnemonic record,
trace expunged –
hand wipes the board, the calloused
back of a hand stops the strings. Done.
The pointing suffers more and more its
is that damage? Underfoot,
earth falls back off pitifully flexed
bounced thought limitless
points down where optative crust creases.
Scamp hope lips the cart. Remember
those were client days, posting high profits
before storms came straggling. Took
a dive then we were affluent
despite mounting terror. Time accumulates
where it was wont to slip off. Every
line cross-hatches, don’t
exaggerate, grappling with crimson
in its uptick, you can’t ignore that now,
it won’t do, it superimposes, it ghosts
ever more thickly, the waves
pile onto each other, the silage suffocates,
the nimbus furs. Suffering
wads strings round a shoreline lunch party.
Rest well-covered. Underneath our
lavishment the fern chorus straps.
The harbingers are come.
They web earth with their antennae
in gold, they pester
fluttering and fluent children,
mortals sought them out, a cathode
charge on the once dead.
Are we agreed? Does
attraction churn the earth with tongue-
twisting cast, whether
paddle or propellor or two soles:
are we agreed this is a mast
and not a spar bleaching –
how if the spar calls back the buzzing
grounds our would-be forerunners.
John Wilkinson is an English poet on faculty at the University of Chicago. His books of poetry include Down to Earth (2008) and a corrected reissue of his 1994 book Flung Clear (2010), both from Salt. A chapbook, Ode at the Gate of the Gathering appeared from Crater Press in 2011, and Seagull publishes his new book Reckitt's Blue.