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Goodbyes in a Coffee Cup


I play "God Bless America" on the rim
Of a fire porcelain saucer, the bitter
Sweetness of two cultures, dark and light,
Satanic and white, fresh on the tongue

Puckers my lips into a question mark
Somewhere in the hazy recesses. Today,
This day of British Mandate past, swift
As the spinning earth. This mixture shudders

And forms a puddle of sugar-sapped sand.
The spoon I hold leaps from my fingers
Turning the spirals of a stricken gazelle
As it replays reflections of the bleeding sky.

Time
Holds
Itself.

In the sequined sky twin tanks of kerosene
Powder their noses in metal and glass
Those whose minds at critical pin-points
Are already three steps up heaven's stair

While the asphalt blank beneath shivers
In the manner of something dying again.
Close by three bodies, limb in limb, dive
Making origami semaphore of their fall

A code scribing two wishes in the sky::
a) that this falling never end its fever and
b) that the haywire bodies remain unkissed
By those whose images now tempt their God

Onto pavements these pledges clack
Unsettling the calm sea of my coffee cup
Whilst I hear the soft-crack pillow-thud
Like poems thrown from an open window

Dancing chiaroscuro pyres of confetti
Down into the street, and painting epitaphs
As they butterfly here and there like worn
Phrases of a million Victorian headstones.

Time
Holds

And the concrete and steel bends like butter
Scythed into bandy legs by the sluttish heat
And trading floors begin to make ticker-tape
Of the wind as the whispers of smoke flutter

In the wake as if the whole city stops.
Dead.

And waits until it can breath again
And slowly, one by one, lights come on
Paving the broadways and boulevards

With the slow handclap of sweet revenge
And the portraits of loved ones flap
On the windshields like the billet doux
Of some stranger fictions of the once-loved

And the smoke of demons, rising like
Some toxic morning opiate from the sea
Seems to rinse the sky with memories
And the crush of each man and woman

Now stumbling like winter-wakened wasps
Coated in the guts of mighty minarets
Creases itself into nothing living.

Nothing.
Lungs teach themselves again to breathe


© David Incoll 2001


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Copyright by David Incoll 2001