Animator pt.1


some predicament 


personality’s constancy, if and with



ripples in the chain, cracks in the china: 


it won’t disown me, I wouldn’t define it, so 


it will be left alone 



and when polio takes the right, it will be sinistral 



duly repeated theories: 


the world as hologram, 


the haystack as the needle obscurer 


love is labour 


change: inevitable 


but the change coming now fast and heavy-handed 


there are strange occurrences in the fragrance of these parts,


saffron, maybe brushed metal 


and there is a strange and foul and white noise, but worse:


all nights in the yellow light of a bare lamp 


stupid electricity, she says, 


you don’t get it 


you open your eyes 


with difficulty 


dried crust of injury holds them together 


like mountaineers hold on to rocks and achievements 


there is that 


and there’s a 


stranger leaning now on the 


awkwardly low windowsill 


picking between her toes with her fingers 


that’s the body-language for 


so what the world is coming to an end 


we are still going for a stroll 



a deep shade of patina 


whatever that means 


falsely timid, shoulder-patting, self-acquitting at every turn of the earth murmuring to himself god is love and 


love is patience 


but the world is young and not gentle 


i go through these churns of the stomach, 


when my heartbeat rises, i mistake it for emotions, 


i do my own version of the Philoctetes on the island 


in mine he lies on a bed of lavender, and that is 


pretty much that




i don’t know how to silken what’s been coarse 


the loud thumping is just replaced by 


a forest of juniper trees, and so 


there is a forest, also of, 


the shadows of the juniper trees 


(come under) 


you call, someone asks 


who it was; it’s everyone’s business don’t you know it





some impressively beautiful oddity of the body 


like a hand that won’t work and/or a learned mouth that won’t speak


so what do you do 


you patiently teach it to think and you learn to write with the other


so arduous that you hallucinate from trying 


it’s only as strong as an allergic reaction to fruit hair 


still, it induces feeble apparitions everywhere you go, you


don’t know if it is because you’re new here, but you know you


want it stronger 


at least that’s what you say in your journals 


so that everyone knows a thundercloud that’s you 



years later i touch buttons, they summon the 


radical history of stuff, 


of drab stuff 


of vicissitude 


what you believe believes back 


that you are a guest on the earth you tread 


her mother thinks 


she is 


a guest at her own youth 


mumbling tar and 


feathers, tar and feathers, tar 


and feathers 



you slowly tie the tourniquet 


rock back 


someone begins to shout 



a bit of fear in your palm, 


your trousers take the shape of your stride 


and your liver grows larger, a bus departs


you put your last gum 


in your mouth 



they make ice with electricity 


they lay very still 


at night in 


rooms with water damage 


you wonder if the sun each day is a new one


or if it’s in regress 


because time moves in spirals 


and the ailment has no cure, 


you put beeswax on your scalp 


on your clothes 


people open their doors to you 


you go through them with a false pretence


time is what passes between two appetites


the senses go reeling when you see the


sun light up only the top of the trees these


are known as the wax years 



for dew collection you need two hands one


walk in the forest and all is forever pastoral


including a half-rotten fox 


a bed of apricots 


frozen soil 


you have one bad toenail 



she’s got a few 



the beach is littered with smoothed glass


could be that people sin somewhere else 



or a miracle took place 



there’s a path with nettles on both sides


that’s called education 


walking it is diagnosis 


not walking it is a bedroom in an old city


you don’t want either 


someone gives you a lock of their hair


and in your other hand an axe handle


you hit a walnut


you touch the wood milk 


you collect its leaves 


you boil them 


wash the hair 


with its broth 



duty called and the duty 




have faith in ourselves: 


some of the past is there in your face 


the rest is in the distance 


landscape’s god’s garden 


you are god’s dog 


this chalet is where you rest your breast 


a sharp piece of a word rolls around your tongue 


a faun is whispering 


don’t say it 


your eyes put death in doubt 


this minx is calling you to duty 


to your home 


away from home 



her hands on the beads 


marble body in ecstasy 


but you pan one-eighty and there are 


wastrels in the marshlands 


with clean eyes and mouths 


in the distance 


(some of the past yes) but also 


a young soldier 


in the distance civilisation and 





now for the baby 


the hours turn into weeks and years 


and the hours belong to the lord 


should the fig tree turn clear, 


oblivious, but tranquil 


should it chant an anthem 


life in your thirties 


in the year nineteen-thirty 


should you deny privilege the planting of red flowers and green leaves


should all your filaments light at the lightest step 


and so the dumbfounded days turn into


shark weeks, turn 


into shark months 


and the battle is between faith and disbelief


between the ample and the supple




if it is all a lie 


then they should erect breath-taking


creaking houses in the wake of your step 



they should draw a bath in your name


a spider should enclose an ant in silk for you


may you not be up to knees in parcels


returned to sender 


may it all be reciprocated 


like lightning to the rod








I wrote this poem while I was a resident at Rupert, Vilnius. It is about two poets: Rosemary Tonks who denounced poetry and became religious, and Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas who renounced his priesthood and turned to poetry.