Issue 28: John Wilkinson

To the Unknowing

You will have been. The cool blue pastimes of the present

relaying across the digital domain, heedless of their piercings,

eyes a hijab frames eyes that in time stony, in their sparkle

           ghosts settled with a fly’s iridescent wings,

fan out irises of colour,

                                         eyes now violated brilliantly

that will once have been brought under the aegis of this tense,

react to their future pledge.

           The white enamel ridge, the steam, your limbs yet

to be found, these will have been, my word being your bond.

How could the days of lamentation, stop before a white ridge?

Tracing-paper days have greyed out and the anterior buckles.

Repeat after me, a grizzled boy taunts,

           scratching his initials on each alabaster column

sequenced to the vanishing point.

                                         Was this a start code or epitaph

reverse-engineered? Light divides into a spectrum,

the spectrum scatters, what became apparent through steam,

                    shied away from,

will have delivered its full meaning being blocked at the edge:

           being blocked gave birth to meaning,

being recognised, denies the cynosure its festering event.

Cynosure or vanishing point, that on scrutiny, must blink out.

Turn aside and hear it gush. Advance and see nothing.

           Abandoned vehicles, planned obsolescence, futures

down-paid: the bent of starlight

striking the fit face brings about what will have been, twinkles

framed by a cowl, steam swirls round,

                    puncture mark

of denial, of the died that shines still in the promissory face,

affirming its tight closure, flooding from the corona,

prismatic rings a black sun.

           Vestiges of its point that was thrown into unrecognised

fringes of what apparently is, vibrate in those eyes

that are all unknowing.

Evolved Behaviour

Beyond the insolent rug, male fantasies bristle –

           have they become more legible

with time? Or will they back into the distance,

           peeved? Sunshine strokes the void rug

which relaxes. Give over. Bleeps and hisses

           signal the contemporary, do they?

Anciently on the march, male fantasies

           pull out plugs and smash sunlight.

Give over. Tufts are harnessed into canvas

           with a quick twist of the wrist,

and where coral dies, statuesque and white,

           minnows or some obviously

more attractive flickering fish, tease outcrops.

           Senses of injury, age

in heavy boots; but a new strain of mosquito

           whines in the auditorium of dark.

           Seductive, fierce and maimed, a face

swims forward, trailing a smudge of sex

developed by others.

John Wilkinson’s books of poetry include Reckitt’s Blue (Seagull), Ghost Nets (Omnidawn), My Reef My Manifest Array (Carcanet) and most recently, Wood Circle (The Last Books). He is a Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 2022-23.

Copyright © 2022 by John Wilkinson, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.