Poems by Stuart Cooke
sip vegas mocha do me
in the slot parks star
my bucks white w/ saccharine gimme
give me chorus / flying
and cheap gifts / women verging
on pretty what we lose
focus: what we lose thrives
on waste capital piles
up / hotels spanking roads
the old cancer aching
for credit capital p
pot & poets jiving
on the freeways like comets
gobbling similes like sluts
ugly heads & mutts
glittering cancer / everyone’s hotter
lonely old tumours / couches
pouring your elvis down slots
eating a canyon a skinny
beach / crystal
ground to wave two
bucks an hour / popcorn piss
type poems or a paunch
an ugly old paunch say
limbs going yellow
singing like an engine / shitting on desert
flashing red flabby
cocks going goth going gimme
some quarters australia’s hottest
men pasted on the sky i
bet i can get it back phone
the atm i bet i can get it back
Red Rock Syntax
with a mineral’s
salty polish, bulge
of vanilla heart
pumping blood crust
while vulture scratches
sentiment the spurting line
of reptile, darting
into summer’s stun ( )
or late autumn gaze
or a cold night’s caress tracks
of cavernous crumbling fetid
with a prickly pear’s wet
in dimensions of wind
a thoughtless throat each
burns late exuberant lozenge
slops and floods
geometry of spine
into a skeletal renegade
a chalky bat brittle
limbs laced with an old spring’s
then love yelps hides
in sandbanks’ heaped nougat cries
coyote, crisp as
crying could be dingo’s blurred moon
(shade, foliage, then)
how w’s fragile stamen
between the two black mandibles
of myth’s curious wings
Bold Lines Pushing Up
We were talking about magma pushing boldly out of the earth,
it was bursting through the trees, it bloomed for a while,
cooled to a clear line of mountain descending
like a cinnamon brush-stroke.
I was thinking: my life could be a drowning seed
and you are the waters of the ocean,
or you’re a spun cotton twister on the surface of the ocean,
an elemental song, ephemeral as dance.
Then: that particular kind of sadness,
a forest’s edge
struggling against a canyon’s stomach,
struggling into a conversation
loaded with consonants, slim wakes
of rocky smoke, hot wind’s creek
I was thinking of an open, or a sadness
becoming itself, still growing, still
without a body
(an expectation crying from the gulf)
(‘ ’ drowning in a void)
(now: headlights burn into my thoughts and I lose them).
I was thinking of how little I say, and of how much we say to one another:
the pace of an escarpment against a river;
a river threading between the forest and the night.
We say ‘forest’
but what we mean to say,
of the trees and their swaying black hole, is swept up in the wind.
What we say is windy as vowels.
As if this gets us anywhere.
I was searching for a beginning without you.
I’d wandered back to the canyon’s tawny yawning,
the waterfalls tumbling down silently
between its teeth.
You turned those waterfalls into icicles,
curtains of water frozen into spears
and thrown across the vast lungs of the ocean.
Then: chocolate rock. Then: late sky, glowing.
The breathing, the translucent, volcanic sap
which overwhelmed me like a surging wave, like an accord,
those intimate contours.
An icy crystal spinning quickly. A word.
An edge of light.
We always wrote of ‘late sky’
and ‘late summer’
as if, at their ends, the days and the seasons revealed themselves
or made clear their intentions,
as if we, like the terrible stretch of that great valley,
were frozen in search of silence.
I remember thinking: our saying its name protects us from it.
We spoke in order to begin,
rivets of wood and wind in the rock.
I pulled light’s soft blanket over us,
its leafy-wet membrane stained
by the booming capital of a continent.
Towers burst from the pampas and forests swarmed
while a mouth’s shallow soil
crumbled into murderous drops.
Our roots reached blindly,
wrenching into sharp crucifixes. They caught the ‘we,’
let it dangle fantastically
over the velocity of a dark-skinned trench.