Aught, no. 8 (2002)

Sally Ann McIntyre

a centre, positioned. night and train

the location of person:
unstable, seemingly solid:
here: where streets

seem short term
ideas: layers of sketches,
drawn nightly in windows, and talk,

gesture, all offshoots
of space: degrees
of speed

and slowness,
new and old
possibilities: the turn
and return:

there: the bench
where in a strange, cluttered
day, the coordinates
of self converging
on solitude, but decentered,

in-between: the trains
stammering in, sudden shifts
of tiredness: squinting
by the bright, small light
in the eye’s window: sat

between, under
rewritten skylines,
permanently unfamiliar:
the small pressure
of a hand,
a warmth, dissipating:

disconnected, an awareness
undid itself subtly: the letter
of her black hair, read
from great

height: by the fruit market, cats
paused in garbage: absently
eyeing one late
commuter: lost

in the wrong speed
in the window of the word,
briefcase diminished
to stamp size, open
mouthed, still running:


the location of a body: extant
in language, but snatched
from awareness
the city distracts:
as, seeming to eat, rereading

letters at a Vicrail
unfolding table, with shadow
of ink, leaning
in air and thirst, larger
than the lost words, looking
up for water or friendship,
in the unripe
spaces between
the sun:

the hand: blank,
enfolding ticket stubs
to a heaven of neon
dust, a white, sunless
country of phantom names,
where the words are flat
on flatness:

treading on silence
as though on ice: lonely
for first love, or the raw glow
of lamps in water:

watching, fading,
a world burnt down to itself,
each thought: an untidy kernel
of gold, flaring
on the distilled, colourless

hour where, visible,
fidgeting with unlit
cigarettes, uneasy in sleep

or sleepless: the sudden
airlessness in
the sealed outline
of permanence: a city
no longer

simplified: inaccessible
as death, and so photographic,
as momentum pulls world
out from under, tears
from sight:

the location of a persona:
it doesn’t last
past knowing:
with all the slow
illegibility of your nightlit
skin, the moment

when the body
walks off the edge
of the sentence: vanishing
into the unreadable
of sleep: and taking

in hand, the letter,
in which unreadable
cities occlude
with lines, all knowledge
not only of death, but of bread
and words:


screen kiss #6 (1948)

frail light of interval.
strewn shoes mark the pathway,

so many self-conscious Cinderellas
above the running music.

she left behind in broken day
the pearl grey heel

of a glassy eye, as though sick
of the day itself,

of the breath of an unspilt sky,
wound in an indecision

of ballgowns, cinematic images
of loaded midnight, gun-

fire grey around
his crowded head.

This night, full fallen fire,
in black and curling radiant, I

the body’s under line, fluid wing
of force, opposed to it-

self, in spaceless caves, to where
desire for speechless

space, upright and fallen, climbs
an inner river of no-air

to dart and dwell
in cheekbones’ eave

like swallow, tips of breathwing
dipping throat.


Desert observations with midnight radio (after Alan Lamb)

Endsummer. History losing breath,
a day’s weight in air dragging

gigantic suns through the length
of desert power lines. Flogged by light,

flared in the inflamed tails of cars, beauty
leaks a pure, dull black

ink unravelling in the death-red eyes
of roadkilled rabbits, sunstruck, sore-

pointing east-west
under the evening star, illuminated

in the great hollow
vault of moonbone, hearing the long road mumble

a poem of sedans
against lean ideas of natural water,

from the dry throat of day,
a volley of cracked song

a Magpie’s crouched intent for wrecked
flesh reverberates animals

toward each angle
of vanishing.

thin in our own music, appearing
in rear vision, in the frail

structures of wakefulness, our names
come apart in wisps, among stones and pictures,

in the chipped cup of the hare’s memory, the smell
of wet leaves

lingers in earth’s doorless room, like a hand
holding a gesture of rain.

Copyright 2002, by the author. All rights reserved.
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