<< Issue 33

John Kinsella

After Coleen Fitzgibbon’s Late 1989 Film ‘Land of Nod’

and Being in My Days Past as an Addict

 

Homing in never honed

to step away a purchase

 

price a panhandle exchange

infinite step of tags

 

voicing surveillance static

out of phase; what value

 

a stash a code-of-conduct

stairway parody, prêt-à-porter

 

fix a vision away, to climb,

where I came from lost

 

for years, dead as a doornail

and brought back into the light

 

so literal, surely you won’t

surely you can’t take that away;

 

how many hums of conversation

do you think are devoid of cliché

 

when you link life so differently?

Step out for the day, hanging

 

where what’s happening

public as photos as phases

 

passing the time parsing lines

of sax anonymity, mark to wile

 

away shadows and outlines

of exposure — you will, you

 

will be, stash and keep off

your person, to introduce later,

 

to let each particular take each

particular, bodily offload and uptake

 

leaf by leaf grain by grain

out of an old grammar,

 

step by step, familiar customer

by customer as nanoseconds graffiti

 

the responding conditions;

keep an eye casual as democracy

 

behind the scenes of secret

uptake patterns, nature writ

 

into street into nod-off of which

I searched and found friends

 

who were strangers looping

minutes and hours together

 

then gone as I was gone

because we lost similar places,

 

conversing under conditions,

transferring frames to different

 

neighbourhoods on different

continents — the learnt

 

and lost, the animation

of seasons of anger and loss

 

and frustration of where we

might go to find a way out,

 

through, relying on sources

of wastedness where politics

 

blame and confuse and have

moments of intense truth, too,

 

scaling and scratching a warmth

of annihilation in oratory

 

of purpose to keep going until

stairs come back down and doors

 

don’t need to open, to whistle

against ‘privilege’ of scored lights.

 

 


John Kinsella’s recent books of poetry include Insomnia (Picador, 2019/Norton, 2020), Brimstone: a book of villanelles (Arc, 2020) and Aftering Delmore Schwartz’s A Season in Hell [Rimbaud] Translation (Equipage, 2021). Recent critical titles include Beyond Ambiguity: tracing literary sites of activism (Manchester University Press, 2021) and Legibility: an anti-fascist poetics (Palgrave, 2022).


<< Issue 33