Finding Halloween Footsteps

(image by artist and photographer Nick Dormand)

Either arrived
from its mess and hurried away, or sauntered
to this eviscerated demise,

so the signs on that
end-of-October beach – DO NOT WALK HERE TODAY –
were ignored in a dark reverie:

oh festivity / oh
appropriation – is Christmas too long a wait?
Autumn is the Fall as well,

and if climate
can change, so too this celebration
of deaths.

(A beachcomber
was carrying a pumpkin until it exploded,

More Penguins than Red Ceilings

Though the Adélie
defecate a reddish guano, it is not a good
building material,

and more
to the point: the Emperor, Gentoo, Chinstrap,
King, Macaroni,

Southern rockhopper,
Royal and Adélie trump overhead interiors
in Antarctica.

Yet in classic
construction and urban habitation, your Beam,
Suspended, Shed, Cathedral,

Coved, Tray,
Conventional and Coffered reign supreme.
Comparisons pall,

like more can be
lost to nuclear fallout than a government’s
incompetence in dealing

with Covid, or
how there are more cronies than altruism in
free enterprise.

october robinia

october leaves

coming outside
to sit in the sun
and all at once
being covered as
a genuine gentle
breeze blows
through the false
acacia and makes
its sudden shower
of real leaves

i want to say
it’s the simple
things and say
this to myself
and only for me
so that no one
else hears how
it sounds in the
drawing out of
an autumnal tree

as when some do
they’ll think all
is fine and good
when instead the
simple things are
less than being
agreed because
writing in this
seasonal way is
a death of irony

Not a Greek Tragedy

(for Kev)

With recalls like shifting sand, it wouldn’t be a
Greek tragedy had he lost my book on the beach,

a memoir opened in his hands to a brush of sea
breeze – yet forgetting it there, pages would

have unfurled after waves rose up to layer it out
in its to-and-fro of liquid reading. Or if he left the

book opened on a taverna table when drinking
to a different forgetfulness, chancing Ouzo

after a vignette about Derrida, trying to deconstruct
that hangover before it arrives caboose-first,

someone else could stumble across and discover
the problems of language. But to leave behind in an

airport lounge was the existential gift to fellow
travellers, others to pick up the storylines and

possibly connect – having lost and found like us
too – and we can think it an altruism of a fortuitous

share when bringing a wider audience in to play,
an improvisation with a framing in our names.

William Burroughs’ Cut-Up


This is from The Floating Bear small press magazine (1961 – 69), edited by Diane di Prima and LeRoi Jones, and new to me. With thanks to Derek Beaulieu who tweeted this link to free downloads of all of the magazines. This cut-up is from Issue 5, and there are other WB poems as well as a host of contemporaries across the series. I have only started looking through…