Issue 33 – 2022 – John Kinsella – After Coleen Fitzgibbon’s Late 1989 Film ‘Land of Nod’

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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).

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