Poetry (Online) #36 – November 2005 Online Magazine Monthly…since
December 2002. ISSN 1479-425X
Sentinel Poetry (Online) #36 – November 2005
Online Magazine Monthly…since December 2002. ISSN 1479-425X
Who can fathom you
but an explorer who plants flags like trees, expecting them to grow root?
Or perhaps, a squint-eyed cartographer could contour your body
With his steady, unshirking hands,
lined blue with ink
like the tributaries of the Amazon?
I would be
at the very least, Livingstone,
in your African mists
parting jungle vines like a cascade of mermaid hair,
gazing with a colonist’s disdain
at village squalor pruned in the sun.
In the afternoon heat, I try to decipher a basking serpent.
I hope to read its scaled coil like a clock.
After a few months, I build myself an ingenuous mechanical menagerie
of square-wheeled bicycles
and airplanes winged with palm branches,
of arrow-fisted clocks that cannot tell time.
I wind them everyday and set them hissing and flailing,
gilt gears glittering with snake-eyed menace.
Feeling industrious one day, I plate the hut roofs with tin
the rain stings against them pleasantly
until the whole thing falls in.
Parrots cackle in the canopy.
They appall me with their blazon, devil-pitched tongues,
baby pink in hue.
Garish green rebels,
they shriek curses at me that only the natives understand.
I ask them,
“What are those damned birds saying?”
but they just grin and nod their heads,
I want to return home to canaries, tea and tailors,
the chime of a clock at
– everything at right angles-
but I am still searching for you here.
Under the tyrant sun in this exiled land,
I will bend you to my hand.