“He wants witty sexy poems about icebergs
to read to his cruise passengers now and then.”
But it has no sex and no wit. It tips
over, sometimes, weightily, or rights itself. The surface of the sea
meanwhile engages our visual cells, the ones
devoted to the horizontal, where they meet with delight
that outrageous barrier, that flagged vertical whose downward slice
is deep as a knife into cake. Wedding cake will do,
there’s the sex bit, tier over tier and mostly
hid from us, out on the deck and peering. The water’s strewn
with whites opaque as rags or as the sky. Between these a polish, a
What parts of this scape can you penetrate, what can you see?
Whites beyond whites, green that has never been near grass, the green
of a beetle or a feather, maybe, in some remote location, the green of
phosphor and vermillion,
or some fake colour - a chemical
slid into candy that makes the teeth seethe.
Or some electric game, or the irid
of a reptile, or the very heart
of heat at the flame’s exhalation,
oxygens doing something weird and barely planetary.
From Atlas No 2 (2007)