new zealand electronic poetry centre


Mark Young

online works


I sit on the parched front porch;
around me the house is falling down,
soon my rocking chair may fall through the verandah.
The lizard under the shadow of the rock looks at me
as though I am its new tenant.
My skin is dried and crinkled like my landlady lizard.
I may shed it soon.
Perhaps human skin is the latest lizard fashion —
Lazy Lizard, poke your tongue back in.

Old Elijah in the pawnshop looked at me between rows of watches,
‘Latest crocodile skin bags, Sir.’
I wondered if his wife had died.
E. Levy’s Emporium; goods bought, sold and exchanged.
Amongst broken guitars, pictures of flowers and chipped vases
ruled ’Lijah,
amongst his rocks, in their dusty shadow.
’Lijah Lizard, put your Woolworth glasses back on.

The sun beats down on my little verandah.
Here I am sitting like a guard watching my own Sahara.
Join the French Foreign Legion.
See the sands.
Allons enfants de la patrie.
French generals, German captains
dwelling in the shadow of Moroccan rocks,
Legion Lizards, put your kepis back on.

It is near the end for me now.
Perhaps it is best to rest
instead of cramming in all those little things
I would like to have done.
I wanted to see the big city.
Still, there is an even bigger one
waiting for me now,
waiting for me in the shadow of the rock of ages.
Leaving Lizard, put your halo on.


© Mark Young

Last updated 10 March, 2004