TEMPS MORTS

you go into the room to find the old
fashioned summer dress this sense
of bafflement when the stocks tumble

where does the money go dallying
at the edge of a field it remains obdurately
a flower this side of the coin an erotic

escapade everyone a realist the vibration
along the high rises a brightening
search for a meaningful falling

in love work your way up succeeding
dying and so on skyscrapers with tiny
figures on top their jokes in the failed light

we cannot help but feel their dark-blue
coats buttoned with narrative logic
in a bored moment through the filter

of reality we can almost hear the notes
of their old hits shooting up into the sky
they still wear sailor caps don't worry

now it is she who kisses him erode one
get one free in some old field children play
start a fire at the edge of darkness





MINING THE SEAMS

The giant vision that greets us reflects
a tiny figure in shoulderpads.  The fusion of the face
with its shadow is total in verisimilitude
beyond the real. It's this story

I always meant to write about one day
in the creamy acreage of buttock and thigh
in a voice that is not quite my own
borne on the winds of the free market,

knowing that whatever I sense in my fingers -
each of which is filled with the same sort of stuff
that connects up to my face - will resist the urge
to touch. Ecce homo: the colour

of his eyes, the shape of his nose
are never the same.  For something more lasting,
insert glass eyes into broken skin. What an experience that is,
the mouth filled with a silent cry.





CLOSE

wet skin
makes for easy visiting
the squinting doll who goes through her rooms

dress sticking to her plump legs
all that grew
breathed upon her wrist where the blood turns blue

where there was otherwise only ice
the end of the passage leads through shadows
whose pieces don't quite fit

a sort of they

breathing hard at invisible edges
without end





AN INTERPRETATION

You've shown me a photo:
a boy with a dirty blazer sits

in the sun. When I say it's you,
you have to think about it first.

Trying to fit your new shape
onto the old one isn't easy.

Is this hand yours? You stare
ahead, as if watching a film

in the dark, where a smile
isn't so noticeable, dreaming

perhaps how all the bits
of a life can be collected

in a single scrapbook. Okay,
come on over and swap.





RELUCTANT FRAMES

What do I call the rule by which he proceeds, searching
for missing cows. He is prepared to withdraw and alter them,
at nightfall to find them bombarding one another
for a joke.
               In a part of the country he does not know, he observes
with academic insistence that the path runs in the right direction.
He follows it before he opens his front door. The night's clear
but in the woods it's dark.
                                        You'll cry with laughter. It's an abyss
more by the sense of touch than sight since you popped your eyeballs.
In the direction of your finger, a feeble gleam
swaps parts of his anatomy.
                                           There is not a single signpost
but this must be the end of the path, where there are chalkmarks
on the ground, though there is no way
to interpret them.
                          This window once contained glass
through which you could spot a woman. Her picture,
under-rated, stands roughly here, the fingers push
into the hair
                  to help you lose your virginity. A coloured edge
would be more exact. Men break into a dance. Supposing
that we know when no one asks. Perhaps you could stop
for a chat
              in the configuration of the valley, motionless
over the nature of the real sign instead of bellowing
or locking horns. We're unable to repair this torn
skin with our fingers
                                 even when you unclose your eyes
pointing to home, at the edge of the wood among
the locals, who can say nothing beautiful
of what must lie behind the trees.


     Ian Seed 2010