slow trip above atlantis
( a prayer for my daughter, 1964 )
shipping passes daily
‘ 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
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
like a birth & a death . yeah. &
the sea . like the weight of so many
on my breast . . . &
I am terrified of the sea.
all down the coast of africa
sometimes visible to the naked eyes !
I listen to 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 &
& over the ultramarine . . .
& I am terrified / of course !
I am terrified of the albatross.
all around the table mountain
I am watching the sexy , flying fishes
one day a whale . . . & thousands of miles
this day, my daughter is drawing her first breath
but I am pondering
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 !
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 ?
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 !
a sunset draws its cloak
about this steamer
in the dark blue night.
First published in /Steal Away Boy: Selected Poems of David Mitchell/ (Auckland UP, 2010)
UNPUBLISHED JESUS JOCKEY FEMALE NOVELIST REGARDS nude drawing
of her SELF in arcadian pinball / ice hockey; silver $ light machine describes for
her a new chapter / LOST LOVE / who’ll fucker? strange new testament & last /
DEATH WILL !
END OF TITLE:
Out from the cool lunch of her thighs
flowers of death. soulful, lost minstrel
half in love with easeful life
ambitious & lazy
WHOSE GREAT WORKS WILL YOU EXHUME?
There comes the fragrance of an eastern philosophy
from the cookbook
Sunday school teacher
one second as the heat rises & the plants droop
in her sad
visions of christ in duck
along the unsealed streets & in the jungles
like spiritual fowlshooter Billy Graham on heat too
saying his w g grace
of the broken bread
WHOSE GREY PALACES ARE CRUMBLING
while the flowers wilt & thigh
high systems like poles tilt
& the machine switches off
& the hip
& the balls disappear
& the fuses jam with in the coils & rocks split
& flowers are exhumed after all
but do not bloom
DESPITE THE TECHNICIANS SKILL
END OF TESTAMENT:
(being of coal)
SEAL: conceived & written this thirteenth day November ‘68
by WILL. END OF SEAL
NAME: DAVID MITCHELL: END OF NAME.
First published in /Free / Poetry/ 4 (April 1969), Sydney