new zealand electronic poetry centre


Richard von Sturmer

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology



Greenish Lights


Greenish lights
in a dark nightclub.

She punches out a message
on her cell phone
to the strumming of a guitar.

‘My x-ray eyes
can see into hell
and there’s nothing surprising
down there.’

He prowls the city rooftops
with a surfboard under his arm.
Clouds are rolling in from the West,
dark clouds that cover the blue sky.

Our texts, our photographs
our memories―
all cut up and pasted
into an endless collage.

Rafael stands behind Paul Eluard.
Who stands behind Rafael?
A small, medieval grandmother
with grains of pollen beneath her fingernails.

Paul Eluard, the poet of clouds.

300 miles below the Arctic Circle
grasshoppers have begun to appear.
There is no word for grasshopper
in the Inuit language.

Everything is fragile.
Everything is so

An overbearing American narrator
proclaims that ‘In a Visconti film
even the china closet is filled with real china.’

And you remember how Helmut Berger
in one scene from The Damned
was lit by a morbid, greenish light.


On The B.B.C. news
a Mongolian voice reports
that something terrible
is happening
to the grasslands.

To the vast grasslands.

I tie up my straw sandals
and put on my travelling hat
while the ghost of Bashō
lingers around the bus station.

breaks the surface
of the old pond.

Ripples beyond the water,
a head filled with static,
the dusty halo
of a forgotten saint . . .

My grandfather would wear
a green sun-visor
even in the darkness of his room.

My grandfather
who threw away his walking sticks
and turned into blackbird.

Through the dense foliage
cicadas continue to sing.

Who are we
but envoys
of the universe?

A collection of cells
sending messages through space.

Last updated 25 April, 2005