Tony Baker
five brief stray lyric things
West House Anthology
 
 
skull       ringing       the
neighbour’s plumbing casquette
on first name terms

with a jar of mint (needs
water)       kitchen
basilica--       Pilgrim

take up thy staff along
the borders la fenêtre
is not the window

a fly is
crawling up, slipjigs
on deux pattes

among the con-
densation-beads, running
liquide et mosaïque

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soft poplars fervour thinking not
so much of what John
Riley wrote as the tone &
junction of
                              those interiors’ alter
-ations to a chord going west tonight
some high cirrus above the trees if
I recall it was a documentary, a Greek
statue from the sea off Alexandria in
Helicarnassus’ rubbles we
            address identities (but
                                            dis-
                  trust this
                                      it
            was the light
            I meant the mid-
            earth, risen
            Mediterranean brink & queer
            fish-ink smell of the leaves
            shuffling that came so quick to
            mind it seemed like rain …

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gracious as the vines have these
          last few days turned brick & cream

cracker brown, what’s fixed
          upon the screen’s the spit of Stan

Laurel in an early talking film
          banging his head against the autumn’s

ceiling, and failing, to hymn the human
          being as much as its apostrophe

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                    “ …but
it wouldn’t take you long
to learn all those old songs” she
sd in her wheelchair oh you
must know Le
petit vin blanc tapping
                    her ear to
show where the sounds were
                  still
                           whirled
leaf-scraps took to the streets a fake
autumn burning in the skin of august
worn thin old
                        world three
months on from a war …

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A plan to light the city’s streets with fish
clogs up the works back there where it came from
a wedding with, far off, Edith Piaf’s tones, she’d know
how to give a textured finish to the voice.

They wandered lonely then as if by choice
& only later did someone who I didn’t know
explain that 4 days after death a herring forms
slow phosphorescences in its silenced flesh.


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