Sentinel Poetry (Online) #47, October 2006. ISSN 1479 425X
The Internationl Journal of Poetry & Graphics…since 2002
Mark Bradley’s Plasma TV
This is the best, the most advanced, plasma
TV you can get for under 10K.
Look at it. You wouldn’t see brighter red
if you fell in a five acre rose bush
and survived. It might as well be hanging
at a gallery; it’s so flat it could pass
for a picture if it weren’t moving.
Duck! The golf ball’s coming out of the screen!
But I guess they don’t watch the PGA
at the National Gallery, do they?
Have a look. What do you want to watch?
I have that channel locked because my son’s
a curious kid like all of them and he’s
got time to find out what that’s all about.
Something artsy-fartsy? Guys like you watch
sports too, I’m sure, or other regular stuff.
This monitor will last me—what did he say?—
forty thousand hours. How many years is that?
It has to be a lifetime of TV.
Hey, bottle boy, fetch us some frosty ones!
There’s my son, now. Hey, Philip, don’t be shy,
come say hello to the historian.
Mark Bradley’s SUV
Come on outside and have a look at her.
She has a big block V8 with four hundred
horses ready to rip a rubber mile
down 407. And talk about towing.
She’d tow the Titanic from the ocean.
I don’t have much of a boat—a 20 foot
lake cruiser with a pair of Evinrudes.
I’d like to get Phillip on water skis
again this summer. Last summer I pushed
too hard. He took a couple of rough tumbles.
But plenty of him wasn’t black and blue.
And I think it made him a stronger swimmer.
Well, of course he had a life jacket on!
[The chirp of keyless remote entry.]
Have a look at the leather in this thing.
I have to tell you, I could fool around
with Terri in these seats. They’re heated too.
You feel so high up in the driver’s seat,
if anybody gives you a hard time,
you can just drive over them and crush them.
How did the Earth make a spider? How did
it make our children who sleep in soft beds?
These questions are serious and should not
be brushed off without a moment’s thought.
Think of the havoc a spider wreaks on
the dreams of sleeping children. Imagine,
without spiders, the evolution of flies.
I think that it’s safe to say some ideas
prey upon other ideas. That is
the issue here: not that human beings
prey upon other human beings; no,
embraced by an idea, the mind tries to
exterminate by terror and by fear
an idea in the mind of another.
The ideas are the predators here.
And perhaps there are beautiful, fertile
ideas that are the prey. For example,
the idea of peace, embodied by
Christ, is perhaps the ultimate beauty.
It is easy to conceive of evil
and political acts of social control
as parasitic ideologies on
gentler ideas that have a Christian
nobility or purity to them.
But I think, if one were to examine
the links between our civilization
and the church, one could make the case, or one
might well assert, that evangelical
Christianity and Islamic radical
theology are predator thoughts in hosts
whose original meaning has been lost.
These two ideas are in competition,
not for us, really, but for space and time.
We do not think of them; we are their home.
This may seem an outrageous hypothesis
but other people have thought about this.
And the irony is not lost to me.
As I observe human behaviour closely—
and when I learned of this incident—
I began to fear that, you know, it wasn’t
wise to love ideas of humanism.
Such thoughts are terribly misguided. I’m
afraid they may even be dangerous.
I must say, it was never my intent
to provide you the details. Not because
they are gruesome—they are; that is not why.
I feel you have perhaps not been listening
to what I have had to say. After all,
I am sharing with you an idea,
an insight that I feel is important.
Some ideas deserve to die. To kill
an idea you must never speak it.
Well, you know, they were inventing new terms
to cope with what happened after Peron.
A rebellious teenager, if overheard
by the wrong ears, could “be disappeared.”
My cousin was disappeared. Soon after,
she was reappeared at the door step, a
travesty of an abandoned baby,
without a blanket or a basket.
No, enough. Listen to me. Your fetish
for the base does not become your project.
If you must seek out the gory details,
I suggest you watch a documentary
or search the internet for nunca mas.
But you’ll have learned nothing from what I’ve said.
You want to tell the cane-swinging codger
to get off the plywood in your back yard
and find trash of his own to fall down on
but in this neighbourhood the arteries
clog with identical mansard-roofed red
brick houses, identical driveways cracked
by the relentless crush and stretch of freeze and thaw,
carbon copy red hydrants on the south
side of the street, street lights that perfect eyes
could not distinguish. You stoop to lift him
while his daughter apologizes with
such humility you’d think falling on
someone else’s trash was a kind of theft.
And your thoughts turn, like a crow in flight,
to his surprising weight, say, four twenty-
kilo sacks of P.E.I. potatoes
stitched with enormous skill into the shape
of an old man, a monument for some
forgotten autumn festival, or prop
for the Halloween play at an abandoned school.
It’s at that moment you begin to wish,
‘May this be me in another forty years,
wetting my pants in someone else’s yard,
failing to grip with my cane the discarded
plywood from a neighbour’s renovations,
unable to recall my daughter’s name,
flailing for my woollen cap to cover
the white relics of my remaining hairs,
groping for glasses that could never fall
from my broad fat nose, wondering why
a stranger holds me under the armpits,
blessed with a sense of humour and the wit
to curse the taxi driver and the barman.’
Se Transformer en M. Busbib
What is that in the mirror? A hair
in the ear, tragedy of the tragus,
sprung like a spruce in a Glengarry field
from the Laurentian Shield’s
inexhaustible supply of conifers.
I’ve become my high school French teacher,
who pruned his ears like old growth vines,
not to cultivate: to control.
Pouvait-il regarder les cils
forêt sapins, lèvres mûres
d’Anne-Marie sans réfléchir,
<< J’ai mal élu mes couleurs ce matin.
Ma ceinture brune et mes bas blancs me gênent
dans ces pantalons bleus et ces souliers noirs>> ?
When Karikura played fiddle and sang,
you thought the day would end in sunrise.
We loved to hear one Karikura song:
Bee lem ah la
Ee nay gó la
Bee lem ah la
Ee nay gó la
Hamari o no la ma
No goro o h’mo Allah
I asked Karikura the meaning of the words.
Karikura said, ‘The first verse means,
“My goats are gone.” The second verse,
“There is no grass left.” These are repeated.
The third verse means, “I too may have to go.”
And the final verse, “Thank God for my fiddle.”’
Three Short Poems by Karikura
These reeds conceal a crocodile.
They are so sharp they slice your legs.
Listen to them: the wind has turned them
into harps. Perhaps they were cranes
who practiced stillness so long
they recall only how to stand and sing.
The bright red mantella on the wet leaf
is like saffron, but only to the eyes.
Whoever disturbs this small toxic frog
deserves every dreaming moment
of his long visit to the infirmary.
Some seek it in the body of a lover;
others, in the handiwork of artisans.
Too many look into the mirror at it.
But it can be found in the voices and footfalls
of children who have had little time
to think about it. They run after it
with a net, gleefully, in the square.
They sing a song they learned at school
or from their grandmother. No matter;
they do not know that they are singing.