new zealand electronic poetry centre

David Mitchell


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slow trip above atlantis

            ( a prayer for my daughter, 1964 )
 

shipping passes daily
japanese fishermen
‘ pirates ’
swung across the bow
. . . 3 grinning men
      in blue serge
      signal . . .

cheeky & camp
on the high seas
‘ I love you. I love you. ’

our first officer / stern danish
clark gable
will not believe that the NZ govt
pays to have deer shot
thinks I am
. . . a strange one . . .
                                   I AM ! I YAM !

½ dead from self abuse / swung under
the tropic of cancer / & weird
daylight dreams
of homecoming
like a birth & a death . yeah. &
the sea . like the weight of so many
dead relations
on my breast . . . &

I am terrified of the sea.

now
all down the coast of africa
                                    africa
sometimes visible to the naked eyes !
I listen to radio
                 radio
                      & I hear the tongues
                      with my nude ears
& advertisements, too, in swahili !
& the beatles too, O yes. strange songs
when all alone on a glassy sea . . . like
‘ she loves you; yeah.yeah.yeah. ’

while watching albatross come upwind
from the buried masses of the spirit

‘ under the keel 9 fathoms deep
  from the land of mist & snow ’

gliding into great dreams of future bliss
like christian souls ! . . . christian souls !

swooping in stupendous silence over the ship.
one lands . . . it is eyeing me . . .

as I grope feebly for the transistor
& avert my unsteady gaze &
cool glance
                 out
                      & over the ultramarine . . .

& I am terrified / of course !
I am terrified of the albatross.

now
all around the table mountain
I am watching the sexy , flying fishes

one day a whale . . . & thousands of miles
away
this day, my daughter is drawing her first breath
but I am pondering
lush
malcolm lowry / in his cell
‘ 9 fathoms deep ’

& the sharpeville all
blacks / & martyrs too, all

savage african queens & all
great transplanted souls
lost lovers !    skin divers !

& all darkened suns & daughters
black & comely / & all
the authentic dead / whom sartre has named

& freedom riders too / in all lost continents
of desire. ah ! jesus ! it hurts for truth !

it makes sense too / despite cowboy kate
& the stealthy ease of the first five eighth

& the dutch massacres !

now
I am terrified of those blond angels
whose swords are of the logic of words
& those dark angels too / who persist in the myth

& I am terrified of the greatest intentions
of each & every state / & I fear their acts—
for I have learned to dismiss their words . . .

& I am terrified of the white heat influence
for ‘ good ’ as much as for ‘ evil ’
from out the buried cities of the flesh

& I fear their fresh schemes & compromises
& I fear their pacts & their treaties
& I fear their dreams & their lamentations
under the guises of ‘ love ’ . . .  yeah. & its all true
its all happening, under the ‘ blades ’ of love
& ‘ justice ’ & who can ponder for long & yet
remain, unafraid / sane / & hope to hang , to place
sweet children on the christmas tree
of this world ?

now
I’m hung up , myself, in this late blue & white day
but great / with hope
                                nevertheless I see
a city growing
‘ just like that ’ / up
& out from the pleasant sea

a klee city
like a slow & leaning cartoon
as this day passes into night

gold for white / white for black
& this slight ship
rounds the last soft point
of the coloured cape
                               while at my back

a sudden sunset draws its cloak too
like orange smoke
against this fitful night & those to come !
                        yeah.

a sunset draws its cloak
about this steamer

in the dark blue night.

 
ęDavid Mitchell
 


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Last updated 30 March, 2010