His heart ran like a motor fuelled with a mixture of euphoria
and melancholy after a little practice too automatic
to be called his own. Were his words really his or half-
remembered figments, no sooner heard than buried
and now repeated like some minor share-holding
in the starry bank of another’s fame rendered unimportant
by the trees conjuring statues to pick up their stones and walk?

Born of neutral zones like railway cars and airports,
so many chance palimpsests he made of waiting
Between began to seem his not-so-natural element.
Striped horses of exclamation roamed the tundra
behind his eyes, hooves registering riffs of thunder
no dictionary can contain. Shyness he made up for
by converting his imagination into a floor
for unprecedented meetings, then scribbling notes:
Whalebones and grasses, the colours of the spectrum
related to reflections upon last year’s Budget,
spark-plugs, pinetrees, Catherine wheels,
Mozart, Ella, the Acropolis and a bar of snow.
His twin muses were solitude and boredom,
Nothing Doing forging monuments to a rainy evening
spent basking in the adolescence of its whim
until the newscaster in genteelly clipped accents
announced the latest variations on catastrophe
and woe. He would be left brooding on the butterfly’s inadequacy
as an image for the soul. O for a butterfly of steel!
Yet, he consoled himself, is it not in being gratuitous that,
like a magic carpet, poetry’s most aligned to the far-reachingness
of the sky? Though just then the door of words banged shut:
Once more it was time to go out and tend his beans
whose silence he so admired...

Martin Bennett | Mudlark No. 12
Contents | Bahrain Fish-Market: A Random Inventory