Issue 20: David Hawkins

Nth Person Paucal

Wandering the city to your abandoned plan

while trying to be in the fourth person,

objective, like the anthropologist,

but I continually slips back

down the drainpipe into the first:

right at the corner of X and Y,

I thinks of you, the second person,

and keeps coming back to it

as a saved position: here

is where we started, plurally,

and here is where, zooming in,

I re-reads your old message

and overlays your map from then

onto The Map that has been agreed

by all the supercomputers

firing together in a distant desert.

Of course they don’t match.

I bounces thoughts off satellites

as your instructions flash up again:

there is a place to go to make ideas,

specifically to formulate the new.

It’s near the canal, adjacent

to the newsagent and the art materials shop

and the job centre, which hovers

like a cause waiting to be found.

I will recognise the graffiti

and the pitches of the rooves;

the homeless who guard those corners

will be familiar like a Greek chorus,

the fifth, sixth, even seventh person,

and the weeds greening the kerbs

can be harvested, their decoction

applied to any open files

to restore a sense of purpose.

The quest will be complete

when it is forgotten/may recommence

at will from the last saved position.

David Hawkins is a writer, editor, and botanist from Bristol, England. He was awarded second prize in the 2015 UK National Poetry Competition. Recent work has also appeared in Stride and The Hopper. From summer 2018 he will be writer in residence at the Species Recovery Trust.