Poems by Peter Minter

Peter Minter with daughter Ruby.

from “Incognita,Book One

Forget what I write          at sea the night makes stars
Graph the hollow          my pen’s untidy swell and slap
Of waves          aurora phosphorescence on the oars
My steaming head remembers nothing
Forget what I write           I just write
To abandon my nascent beauty           even I am amazed
By my enchanted senses
After blazing down through the unmarked heavens
By Canopus          my insatiate eyes           antelopes of the moon
Of course I am nothing          floating weightless
Obsidian waves rise & fall         cold troughs of salty darkness
Black sockets on the face of the wind
How cool it is down here          swarms of cuttlefish
Fly beneath          a shoal of silence echoes from the bay
I am momentarily submerged          there are no stars
No firmament bar a smudge of luminescence 
The dark sea suffocating
Light then stars and planets spluttered break again
Through aeons of nothing          I taste
Rise then catch the scent of oil          eucalyptus fumes and dirt
Radio static          a brilliant fire coralescent
City on the ridge of night
I hear tresses of flame aerate the silence          rustling multitudes
Naked furors mute but for their cry
How can I pass through this unmarked?
How can I endure this bleak horizon
At the limit of my courage          black water          black air
The roiling heavens’
Wrestle through the seething waves          the deep
I hear faint words when flung above          their signature below
An echo of my buoyancy
In ink           or what remains           in undertow.



The Latter Shall Prevail 
In the event of daylight
your body becomes sun, pestle sharp
dream peony
I crawl to you in russet green
my simple math
a chord kept by tender sluts
In the event of agreement
cantabile monarchs flicker abed, garden
spirals spruce
Colour to the laurel
I blink, the winged creatures gone
upon the laurel limb
In the event of renovation
chop down gums, sappy flesh
pale and grave
A wolf’s blue eye
possessed by human closure, bloody fur
stuck to my fingers
In the event of ecology
the enchantment of property shrieks
poppies, mere nature
Descends into decoration,
a pileup in winter, angelic weather
crenelating anonymous cathedrals
In the event of false sorrow
estranged but enchanting, cross & recross your mouth
your naked province of power
Two hands blow sistrum
courting a seminal fancy, most valuable lover
held to the light
In the event of chestnut, oak, boredom
the dead season swells into wolves,
salt, rooftops glistening
Light angled highlights
fault mysterious & private, each eclipse
equivalent to shit
In the event of technique
shards of water, obligatory guns
perfumed grace
I am happy to die for each shade of whiteness, witness
mortal lingering
in hedges, humans, horrible dogs
In the event of anticipation
empire’s lucid contour
embroiders over underworld
A tally clod by distant oxen
free fall forests
afternoon orange
In the event of conjecture
enormous hedgerows socket tomorrow
neon marrow lunar flavour
Only wolves’ golden eyes
acumble snow
In the event of darkness
uncommon sirens’ soothsaw poetics

Thumbprints calibrate night, &
betwixt a lightning or a carbon sky
the latter shall prevail.



Claustrophilic Lavallière

You were too good to cry much over me.
And now I let you go. Signed, The Dwarf.
                                             —  John Ashbery

I’m presuming, I know (just as winter will
unite enemies in spring, betray soporific words
left a tiny bit unhingd &, all gilt, such paroxetine
somnolence weakly ornamented—I thought
error might better pass enclosd, your coercion
somewhat sluiced by a subigated rose, an ouevre’s
brocaded recitations, garlands left dishevelled
in the fog; my foliate despair (a locket) shows
(ingenious as mind-control ordaind by queer cherubs)
a Sun King smiling radiant while drawing
unself-conscious blancs from her morphine powderd
throne, an asthenic coterie (kept glad of work!)
laying about the cruel enclosure with studied
cartouchés, eyelids clasping inlaid silver birds.
So, the reason why I right up Verse, ills aside,
and carry charmd totes inside this bird of paradox,
informants gushing tedious and jocund, is, honey,
instrumental — the republic, enamelled & reductive,
its interiors’ consigned affiliations, slops of law
and capital’s bulbous, cordial seductions
grant lip service to this beguiling inheritance
(materialist, undetermin’d, in arrears) common sense
depositary and melamine; Wallpaper faces
unletterd & besmirchd by mismated possibility
drift across the onerous couch, a city wakes bedazzld
by the birth of a gildd, stirrupd fricatrice.
The reason for this mise en scène is, you know
’cause we live like worms) & think to like it.