new zealand electronic poetry centre

Michael Harlow

online works


Inside the question that has not yet been asked:

     The master is a parabolist, he is a guru. He has arrived in the city, on time. He is shoeless, he has no valise; under his arm there is no sunhat, there is no hair on his head. He is, venerable.

     He taxis to the marketplace. He looks at the pushcarts, the fruitstalls, he touches the bent wedges of light that fall between the buildings. He sits on a pavingblock, he sits . . .

     The master’s students are there. They have been waiting since yesterday, since before yesterday, and before that.

     They are balanced on eggs of immaculate conception. They have heart. They listen. Suddenly, inside the question that has not been asked, they raise a shout. They throw their fists into the air. They roll to one side, and look at the buildings; they roll back; they look out, they look in; they stand in columns of blue air, they look for the master who is a guru . . . He is, there, in the air; he is, yes, he is levitating on a shock of blue light!

     And, now: slowly, without a sound, the master’s students reach down, they lift up the eggs on which they have been sitting; and they break them open, one by one, they crack the shells; and, one by one, with quick, sure, steps, they crouch inside the eggs, and they seal them, and they stay there – inside the question that has not yet been asked; and they stay there.

From Nothing but Switzerland and Lemonade (Hawk Press, 1980)

Michael Harlow

Last updated 20 March, 2005