Murray Edmond

CAMPING IN THE EXISTENTIAL FORREST
L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symbols
Qui l’observent avecs des regards familiers

—Baudelaire, ‘Correspondances’
I
 The bourgeois cuts the
 forest to an inch of its life.
 “How come you don’t fall?”

II
 Empty bottle. Think
 of Baudelaire camped in his
 symbolic forest.

III
 Someone coming in
 gumboots. Tramp tramp tramp. Beat
 of own tell-tale heart.

IV
 The forest watches.
 Watch out! Wrong way! So the
 forest has its way.

V
 Forest’s colour is
 fish. It smells of dancing. Tastes
 pink. Sounds hand. Feels shoe.

VI
 Through the forest: monk
 on donkey, hitch-hiker on
 thumb, plane flies over.

VII
 King of the forest
 wears clean white socks every day
 washed by his mother.

VIII
 Birds of the forest—
 dead swan, captured albatross,
 and a golden blackbird.

IX
 Narrow road leads north.
 Tramp washes tats in the sea.
 Returns to forest.

 

 

MILES TO GO for Eileen Myles
It happened to be a satanic moment in my career
If I could only find the lecture room I knew
One look from my mascara-tear-stained face
From the back of the hall and she would stop in her tracks
And I would say say it loud tell them and she would say
I am a teacher and I am useless and she would unhitch her
Microphone and retire from the podium and then
The walls would fall back and lift up simultaneously
And a Swiss mountain vista would be laid to view
I had a small scrap of paper in my hand with the number
Of the room written on it and I meant business this was
It I was going to rip the fabric from the archangel
And show them all his naked butt and dangling googlies
No more veils I would say we are alone with each other
So pull down the blinds turn out the lights and drop
The good stuff let the room fill with water green and comatose
The bodies floating on the surface will sustain us for several
Days and all this had been foretold by a nightingale
That sang two notes F and then F# and then F again
The yoyo bird I called it even if it did make us all aware
It would be there long after we were gone
You can’t be a teacher if there’s nothing to learn
You can’t be a bird if you don’t lay eggs and so on
The necessary thing is all that matters built in
Ab ovo as the priest said to me before I wrung
His fat neck and hung his entrails in the cloakroom
Give me a break I know who owns the woods and
He doesn’t come from Boston there’s no question that
The hypochondriacs are out tonight asking for crowd-funding
Just open the door and stick a dirty handkerchief in their faces
The world will be a better place with these normal people gone
To the left of China a line of Milton’s leads them away

 

 

Murray Edmond is the author of 14 poetry books. Recent publications include Then It Was Now Again: Selected Critical Writing (Atuanui Press, 2014), & Shaggy Magpie Songs (AUP, 2015). He edits Ka Mate Ka Ora: A New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics, & is a dramaturge for Indian Ink Theatre Company. Murray lives in Glen Eden, Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand.