Surface


Linda Marie Walker
April - June 2003
The
island
is
tiny
and
so
dark
that
speech
gives
up
the
ghost
as
quiet
on
a
wire
fence
She is sober
and looks you straight in the eye, serious
Something happened
something like licking

memory shot, hanging on
to pale lemon walls
         (and blue shutters)

head
heart
one single finger
         (nail broken)
after all the talk
and the clean sheets

It's too bad
    being scared
    I should have told
    you
Yes it's late (somewhere)
    all closed up
    she kisses him slowly
My flat shoes flat
Flat shoes
    who could it be
    that becomes one
When peace is declared
I love you
I love you (etc)

These nights leading
  to winter
  what did I do, once

I'll know soon enough
If I can do it again
    when the roof caves in
    and the footsteps return
        (outside, late)
    (and short naps in the
    afternoon do no good)

All the leaves falling
And falling in heaven

    will you come with me
    to see the red birds
    humming
    hanging

Calling his name loudly
    while sleeping
    lands on
    deaf ears

Ring, brooch
    scent too
    all the drama
    on the body, grace

Big and slow
    ready to drink
    slow and soft
    as if you're already
    dead

Heart stuck edgeways
    dazed
    cheerful

    liquid

    come here and
    take the rap

I miss you
That's for sure
    (as they say)
    today
    someone
    spoke of you
You are still alive, then
    smiling in
a photograph
Looking as you did back then
Miracles do happen
    it rained briefly
    three drops fell
    the sky was blue
    the sun shone
    mid May
    too late
I went back -

    the small town
    looked good to me
    not small and grim

I grew up
    in the forest
    in the wood house
    in rain and wind

    - and wiped it out

    (it smells a bit
    like fresh cat piss)

    but it's stuck like glue
    to my moonlight sleep
      (such as it is)

Wiped it to smithereens, nowhere
    (homesick)

I'm a little fed up
Let's say
With things
This and that
Stuff
More stuff
Tidying
Forgetting
(Remembering)
Falling in love
Notbeingfalleninlovewith
Again
Is it enough to
Love a painting
Forever
Is it enough for life
I mean
And then there's the
Recipe for Anzac Biscuits
That includes wattle seeds
And I just wish
People would stand
Still
I come
Nightly
To this
Same place
Ears wide
Open

      sky clear
      stars bright
      new moon

They don't say much
   anymore

    I'd spell your
    name if I knew
    how, or even if my
    throat was moist,
    but it's dry as dust,
    so I'm lucky, and
    grateful, and I've
    saved a word

'that's something'

During the plane trip
I wrote prayers
Prayers for everyone
Prayers for everyone to
    'be well'

Sorrowful prayers

The plane flew on
Landed
    the city was …

    I missed it
    praying
Even though I walked
And ate and drank
    and
    all in all
    was moved
    to tears

    I missed it
    somehow
(They say it's beautiful)

The time will come
     when walking through a door
    I'll
    fall
    sure as eggs
    slowly
    like lead
That'll break the habit
Of the dead and gone
Still,
    while waiting
    stumbling will
    do

   . . .

I should be quick
    and tape the screeching
    train

   . . .

There's some poets
    I wouldn't touch
    with a barge-pole
    tonight

Sontag writing about
Canetti: “Breathing may
    be the most radical
    of occupations
…”

Water's a good thing
    too, and frogs

The trees are in the
    backyard, even at night
    with the lights out
    (there goes that
    slow stone-laden
    train again)

The gate's closed
    with the rowdy
    front bar round
    the corner and the
    squatter with his
    tin of rosemary
    (a little holy ghost)

It's good of the trees
    to stay put …
I'm fond of the
    inland sea
    too

One measures
    like a film-maker      
   the options of the day
    fruitless
    might as well
        wing-it

He says he has a
    “compulsion to
    overtake every second,
    like one car overtaking
    another … the memory
    of what survived me to be
    present at my disappearance …”

And I said: he's a racing car
    driver, and she believed me,
    formula one, I said, the
    fastest I could think

    and all I recalled was
    a picture of him as a
    small child in a tin
    toy car with pedals

They say the
break in the weather
will come Saturday

What a relief
      finally rain
      and wind

Something to moan about

      that's the trouble
      with writing
      it can only ever
      be personal

“'We saw reindeer
    browsing,' a friend who'd been
    in Lapland, said: 'finding their own
    food; they are adapted
    to scant reino
    or pasture, yet they can run eleven
    miles in fifty minutes …'”

      in the snow, that is

Two streets away the girls are
      playing netball, and
      from six till ten the
      sound of the whistle
      rules

At the end of the poem she writes of
    Sheldon Jackson who saved
    the eskimo by seeing in the reindeer's
    face the retrieve of the race

The rain falls
The headline says
'Water water everywhere'

My first boyfriend
    was from the West
    and came to visit the
    woman across the road
    one summer

He was beautiful
Perfect

'Do you have any
    thing to say' he said

His name was

'Glen'

A narrow
Secluded
Green valley

Beneath the nectarine tree He wrote me poems

The sea and the mist
      the lasting blankness
      the ruined page
      the chopping block

At the door
      a white moth glowing dawn At sunset
      falling from
      the pink sky
      a white flake
      in my eye

After dark
      at the gate
      a white cloud
      above the roof

The heart turns white
The night comes fast
      with football's
      tight bodies

      'beautiful in the air'
      'doing damage'

The big fat white cat
Pins the grey one to the wall

I can't wait for the line
      to drop from the ceiling
      and so there is
      no first line here

      just a pink wall
      and a black horse

She has lived her life alive
And her words are syrup

      and I vomit

Still I go there and she
Brings "the bouquet to my
      face to intoxicate myself
      with its fragrance"

I go there
“I go out into this narrow garden”
“I go out into the broad daylight”

      she is too bright
      too too giving

“They married,
      they crumbled into dust”

      no-one was around

I've forgotten what
surrounds me
I start again
no remains
I start again
they've gone
I say things
a quiet comes
a slow dark
time does not pass
at once I'm not
and the child did not come
did not come
was not called
just black waters
no namely soul
no made made
it was as it was
un made
he will come
again
ready
The story begins:
    “she smiled so curiously
    I could not keep my eyes from
    her pale face …”
Tell me about a yellow
      daisy
      instead

Pillows curl around each other

The desert sand takes off
The night is only
      early dawn
The old jail
      is beautiful
      death masks
      hallowed halls
      'such is life' said Ned Kelly

A body wrapped in plastic
      one laughs
      again

      famous last words

A line of words
    a grave dug deep

    a verandah he said
    instead of a wall

      bugger the art (he added)
      its fierce path

      it prevails (no matter)

In your humble belief
    the path is not the work

I hope your mouth
    grows black stitches
    and your walls
    throw hammers

The writer writes many books
    the moon does not yell  
   please explain
    in a newspaper

The moon, ghostly love
    is there amongst the
    stars, bony bird
    singing, his fingers
    trembling

I asked you Saturday
    if you knew
    'Anna Akhmatova'

And you didn't
    which was a relief
    as I can now quote you
    favourite lines

        and I don't mean
        to covet her
        simple awful
        beauty

You can't tell in Anna's poems
    what is what
    their surface is
    another surface

Anna was expelled
      "half-nun, half-harlot" he said

I can't know her grief:
“The mountains bend before this grief …”
“They took you away at dawn …”
“I found out how faces droop …”

I'm like
    a likeness of me
    unlike you who
      oozes you       lucky you

She left her ruby ring to me
      bless her soul

I have never lost it or
    given it trouble

“'What are you?' I asked,
      'A prince?'”

No flowers came my way
    with the murmur
    of the audience
And you ask
    nothing and I'm
    nothing
Even though I await
    the knock and
    say my prayers

That's what you do then
    make a lot
    of fuss

Write it down


    don't understand
    one word
        limit
        for instance

        the instant of
        being said

    like
    'conducts of time'
    and
    'awakened by beauty'
    and
    'a lesson of water is disparity'

        I'm lost
        no doubt at all
        easy as pie

And then together, all at once
        a dog barks
        a train passes

Suddenly the world
        is haywire

She holds the cigarette
    graceful fear
    there is nothing new
    in that (with sunglasses)

Her eyes are cold

    'do you have anything to say'
    'yes I do' wrote Charles Manson
    'you don't tell nobody
      nothing, you listen'

She's a fire demon
    guarding the gates of hell
    a heavenly voice
    who screams

'I was hiding in the desert
You came and got me'

Remember
No
Not really

Things went wrong
        in the night
        with the night
If I'd listened more closely
        to George
        perhaps I'd have
        heard him say
        that Marianne Moore
        grew wings

        slowly at first

        atom by atom she
        became a dragon

        blue black
        grape black

She took to the sky
Hell bent on making a fuss

Things went wrong anyway
        in the night
        with the night

“I would have liked to
    speak to you for hours
    about the hour …”
    he wrote

But he didn't
And she didn't mention flying

It's as if I've never been born
    everything is dead
    all the love I have

      - nought

I go about as if born though
I talk to you
I wash dishes
I weed the garden

      - nought

My belly aches
    from the sugary wine

The leaves fall
    then drift up
    cling to the
    gutters and
    rot happy
    with the rust

Perhaps on the other hand
    being unborn
    is life

      - mine

The “single certainty
    of having lived”

It's done, this Sunday
    I've seen better sunsets

    the wind was cold

    I waved the sea goodbye

Some things are best undone
    like talk
    like shock

    it takes too long
    to speak in tongues

    and you have
    left the gift
    high and dry

We go along, then we go home
New strangers

    (we love you)

    we are given like grass

    poems and wars tire us
    (“And the wish to see the pines again …”)

I turn into the street
    and see the train pass
    under the bridge

    just that

    a hundred
    square blooms
    this time

    magistry

    and thumped back

    downed to earth

    by a spider
    hanging over
    the driveway
    caught in the
    headlights
    up in arms
    splayed

I sit in the car     holding my breath
    then dash for an
    old shoe
    and smash its fat
    golden body
    to bits

A terrible juicy moment

    fog will roll in
    and low ships will
    glow at anchor
    
    sun sets
    five twelve

    this is as it's been
    in and out of love
    
    we breathe

    pine cones
    white stones

    love secrets lay
    along the shore

    white grass

    doors creak
    
    the grey silk dress
    behind the door

    the dark matter
    buried in cloud

What was wrong and right

Your face gone
Your voice quiet
I don't hesitate to kiss him
I don't rejoice
It's true
I've seen Everest glow
I can't talk like her
"I promised him not to cry
But my heart turned to stone,
And it seems that always, and everywhere
I will hear its sweet voice"

    the bird

    the River Yildiray

    the film opens
    in the desert
    and one
wants to go home

    and make trouble

And then he died

In the evenings I used
             to plan my life
             when I was twelve
             and the rain fell
             month after month

What should I wear
             for this love story

The land is flat and
             huge lakes turn pink
             in June

             tonight though
             the house shakes

             there's banging
             at the door

One thing upon one thing
             “petals flutter
             rivers flow
             autumn leaves scatter
             bugs chirp and susurrate
             lovers meet and part
             moons wax and wane”

It's winter, anyway

I heard you
And weeds thrive

The woman's great red skirt swirls

There's no-one here, no-one at all
And the warmth sucks you dry
All those years ago you loved music

And you can creep around
    all you like, silent
    all you like, falling

    does the colour pink mean peace
    and the beautiful man tears

    and I do not speak of you
    and you do not speak of me

    (Miles Davis 'Lift To The Scaffold')

    under water
    reading

He walked out into the Paris morning
Moving from one foot to the other
    walking
    rocking
    from which there was no return

You must live with
      things
Rain and fire for starters
      things
      lived with
      call
      you back

      finally
      you
      call them

The wind breaks branches
You wake gasping to
      a glorious dawn
      'my little butterfly'
      'flowers on the windowsill'
      'my Irish friend'

Alone with her pen and paper
Spread in the sun of the beloved

made poem




"Lucy was Lisa/a real fanatasy"
(sampled) Lyrics: Linda Marie Walker
Composer: Johannes S.Sistermanns
Just And Thongs
Surface


Linda Marie Walker
April - June 2003

Teri Hoskin, design & code

FHS surface
(Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Bennington, Jacques Derrida, trans. Geoffrey Bennington, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1993: 5) (Marianne Moore, Rigorists, in Selected Poems, Faber and Faber, London, 1969: 24/25)   (Hélène Cixous, Third Body, trans. Keith Cohen, North Western University Press, Evanston, Illinois, 1999)   (Philippe Soupault, Last Nights In Paris, trans. William Carlos Williams, Exact Change, Cambridge, 1992: 1)   (Jane Kenyon, Introduction, Twenty Poems, Anna Akhmatova, trans. Jane Kenyon, Vera Sandomasky Dunham, Eighties Press & Ally Press, Minnesota, 1985: 3/4) (Anna Akhmatova, Dedication, in Selected Poems, Penguin Books Ltd., 1969: 91) (ibid: 93) (Epilogue, ibid: 103) (Anna Akhmatova, By The Sea Shore, in Selected Poems, Penguin Books Ltd., 1969: 63)   (Jacques Derrida, The University Without Condition, in Without Alibi, trans. Peggy Kamuf, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2002: 228) (José Emilio Pachero, Certainty, in City Of Memory & Other Poems, trans. Cynthia Steele and David Lauer, City Lights, San Francisco, 1997: 36)

(Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Everywhere, Selected Poems, trans. Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi, Penguin Books, 1996: 19)   (Anna Akhmatova, By The Sea Shore, in Selected Poems, Penguin Books Ltd., 1969: 63)   (Thomas Lamarre, 'Diagram, Inscription, Sensation,' in A Shock To Thought: Expression After Deleuze And Guattari, ed. Brian Massumi, Routledge, London and New York, 2002: 150)