DODO

The Dodo exists in my house
beneath revision and lad mags.
It is in 'near-good' condition
once you've rolled it all out
like you're long john silver.
The Dodo stands on the dining table.

I drew it when I was eight
and to see it again,
revived and life-size in crayon
standing on sugar paper,
reminds me that once
I was dressed in maroon

in a room full of maroon
dwarves jostling for the best pens,
bickering over pictures of lions
and elephants, one of them screeching
for the toilet like a parrot,
his face turning tropical.

My hands open a textbook
for an ice-age - before it claps
upon the table with its weight,
then I hoist each page
and they flap flap flap
until I glimpse it under D:

The Dodo. Flightless
bird of Mauritius,
extinct by 1681,
through animals brought
to its island by man;
pigs smiling with yellow lips.

I roll up my sleeves,
maroon riddled with holes
courtesy of my milk teeth
that feel like a joke,
one of the molars
I can shift with a lick.

Hovering over my seat
I recreate the ancient bird
with an ammo belt of crayons.
It's time consuming
as I arrange the paper
with my struggling range.

And I wave my colours
over the white, bringing him back,
beak and sorry tail: feeble wings
tucked into grey feathers
as he waltzes his way
through ferns that shiver.

The island is designed
around him: a paradise
of sun, sea and sand
and the tide is drawn
from beyond the edge.
His bill is closed.

The bell rang
and I sprinted home
and chased him up the stairs
where he flew zigzag
to soar on my gallery wall
(with assistance).

Dodo. Small
and magnificent.
I remember
as I roll everything up
and slide you back
into the glossy jungle.





MUNCHIES

We cut slices from a watermelon
and remarked on its new grin.
It looked like pac man. Tobias scoffed,
put two silver 50s on it for eyes.
Then we listened to the radio
munching on the segments, eyes pink
and conversation dulled
by green from way down south.

Someone said something. Southpark
and the bit where Kyle is jewish.
Ha. I started thinking about mazes
and wondered, my mind spiralling,
my teenage skin turning moonlike,
if it was possible to think the worst
thought ever imaginable.





THE FULL MOON

My former verse
stretches as wide
as the Moon's surface
across the gold visor
of an astronaut.
It is unearthly.
A huge time
is spent jumping
across the same
old surface.
Kicking up dust
and stabbing clouds
with a chequered flag.
It is soundless.
My craft is broken.
The same footprints
cross over themselves
as I circle myself.
What else can I do
but breathe the reserve
and descend
into the holes
of the environment?
I am chunky, white,
beneath the dot to dot
universe of stars
and black space.
It is an occasional glint
of light: I cross my
fingers and wait.





THE EEL.EXE
after Eugenio Montale

The Eel, trojan
of cyberspace, from Baltic server
to our home network,
our libraries and clusters, entering
through windows and mac
from domain to domain
by link by link,
surging inside the hard drive's
vast memory, it modifies
the mass data until finally
a light flashes from the tower,
illuminating my room, the stereo cracks
on both channels
from one port to another;
the Eel, the hoax, the curse,
the white arrow of decision,
whom only the stolen address
might lead back out
to green-screened amstrads,
and life beyond a 486
where the firewall's heat fissures
out its prismed light,
which will push on again when it pushes
through the lock, darkened by bandwidth,
the spectrum of a rainbow
bounces on the lens of your eye
scanning over history's
reeling properties and faults,
do you accept her now as a peer?





MONUMENTO A VITTORIO EMANUELE I

The 15th pillar of the monument

decided to take a year out.

Before the others could disagree

he had slid away from his place.

The gap year slowly ticked

and the others bore the extra weight,

grimacing with jealousy all year,

fed up with the tourists' cameras

flickering over the empty space

where number 15 once stood.

Then on the night of his return

pillar 15 struggled in the moonlight

slotting back into his old space.

The silence was deafening.

 
     Jonathan Reid 2010