Poems by Justin Clemens
mauling and misericordia
the mirror was the first tool says me trumpet
looking at himself looking at himself
with the love of the beast and the slave.
i am not so sure though when i see
warms of swasps effervescing overhead
— O! proleptic mimicry of evil!
— O! dissatisfying sexual encounters under earth!
— O! mutable administrative vocational appellations!
as the stuffed arse of a Tasmanian water-rat
squirrels itself away like a rectal speleologist
in the metastatic barrows of lack.
The King of the Amphibians! be with me now
in all his folly and his loss, absent from the spreadsheet,
the dining-table, the auditorium and the office,
the impossible one, the gardener, the typist and the consultant,
the mashed-up wild berries, the hinterlanders, the grains,
breakdancers and ’80s rappers, the poésies et dessins,
the downsizing corporations and corruption taskforces,
the definite article and the real deal and what is and what’s not.
may thus me and me trumpet scream vastly together:
be we not ideogram nor fiduciary symbol,
just a flared brass funnel for feasting upon trash!
ten thousand fucking monkeys are blowing me trumpet
the whole thing’s about to evacuate itself
like a farting party balloon wrinkling into flaccidity,
insolvent, relentless, self-important, impotent
in a way that, looking back, one sees now what then
was both to be done and not but was and wasn’t
(at least not in the right way whatever that could have been)
perhaps leading to all this argy-bargy in the present.
Helots! Butlers! Freemen! lone me your shears
at 14% compound interest calculated gaily!
ride ’em down and round ’em up
take ’em in and take ’em out
break ’em up and break ’em in
evaluate and waste ’em
‘watch your grammar & punctuation’ i scrawl carelessly
in the margins of ten thousand plagiarised essays
not written to do or to say but just to be written
that having been written are qualified as existing
given bare existence is seemingly exuberant enough
at least in the milieu of the present conjuncture
gagging for the ghost of une coupure épistémologique
that will arrive in that lonely hour of the last instance
that can of course never really be said to arrive
Edited by Pam Brown