Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Poem - from Collusion by Brook Emery

Perhaps the first thing I notice is the sound of pages being
turned. Crease, uncrease. Crack. Almost like a whip. This
is pre-determined, but difficult to anticipate. That’s one.
There’s another.

The second thing I notice is the way the paper is impressed,
the way the pens are squeezed. This must be necessity.
Sometimes pens dangle like cigarettes from lips in silent

I notice eyelids. Visible because the gaze is on the
intersection of pen and paper. The faces look like plaster,
even the tanned and swarthy ones. When eyes are raised
the focus doesn’t shift. This is concentration or some drug.

Eight rows across, sixteen down the length. Walls a lemon-
textured grey. A clock lacks numbers and an hour hand.
Suspended from the ceiling twelve independent moons
distribute almost even light.

Now someone stretches her arms above her head, rotates
her torso against a chair’s resistance, then pushes fingers
through her hair, pinned and tied to stop distraction. This
is still distraction.

Something about the silence is amiss. Yes, every cough or
crack or scraping of a chair is startling, but beneath it all I
hear a low collective hum as though, unorchestrated, every
throat is growling.

I think of a scriptorium but the analogy is wrong. I think
of mass production but this is also wrong. I think of
cryptographers, the word ‘enigma’, prisoners, turbines,
cells, a multi-bodied brain,

schoolgirls taking an exam, an olive grove, a graveyard, an
aviary of tethered birds, but metaphor is beside the point
as they are beside each other, separate and linked; and the
growling, it’s insistent now.

Here is a poem from Brook Emery's intriguing new book Collusion (John Leonard Press). 

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