from Abandoned Stories


String crucifixion. Welded halos. Bright white steel.
Tin box architecture. Garage door living room.

Background grid and blue night shadows frame
statue's frame. Abstract blood doesn't frighten us,
the knot of passion does. Pull tight

then release, pull tight, then release again.
Hear French behind the movement, or Maori
chants and song. Longing stains the page,

we're fused together just out of reach.
Fixed posture, fluid attitudes. If only we
could find a barrier reef to sustain

or a small fishtank to swim in
we'd know more about where we live,
perhaps find out how to swim. Underwater,

our distortions feel more sensuous because more
chill, more impossible. Our lives slow into
a trail of water, spilt droplets, overflow.


Blood-stained paper, cord tightly knotted around
the package, a butcher shop packet? Or
a time machine for the highest bidder?
Over the yellow horizon, clear skies and
a lute plays road melodies. Roses catch
red laser rays, cats prowl the sofas.

Who pulls the cord around the horizon,
draws a line underneath our lives and
squeezes out the blood until we drop?

If we knew, distance might come closer,
the future be less empty and unnerving.
Twenty three moments to make yourself known,

if known be what you want. Unknowing,
becoming unknown, has been praised and takes
less time, but can be more terrifying.

The dividing line is never where sky
and land meet, just the shadow's edge.


He didn't even register me. The x-ray
showed nothing untoward as he strode past.

Photo of a photo of a seashell
in a bottle. He did notice that
tacked to the door. He made too
much of the past and its shadow,
the negative trace caught in the light

Keep walking, that is his motto, blank
though the walls be, hollow curve, bone
bent and broken, memory scarred and worn
thin, transparent in the dull green shine
of back streets. Compassion never shows up
in pixels. Forget trying to see such
special effects and concentrate on the invisible,
the impossible, the stuff that isn't there
even when we look through uncertainty. Focus
on that wall, its clapboards, the door.



Some moist unsavory brown specimen under glass?
And to the right, a molecule of
biogenic puzzledom against the void computer screen?

Someone stained this glass good, another froze
the spectrograph's swirl of colour and passed
it on to us. Molecular rainbow domed
over the old Roman cloaca. Starburst fireworks
forever fixed against a biological night sky.

Under the mud something gleams and glistens
perhaps dear Blake's 'serpent temple form'd, image
of infinite / Shut up in finite revolutions.'
We'll never know. Excavation's forbidden, touch light
and burn, dig deep and something spills
blue light, violet golds, subterranean rainbows ready
to lead us to a treasure we
don't want. But things often find their
own home, and here is often it.


I'm dizzy, time to breathe. The shadow.
The horizon over the rail. Words all
a spin and hard to believe. Shadow

comes through every text I read, darkening
my vision, infecting me with the writer's
disease, the need to breathe out silence.

If you're singing along then beware:
happiness is at stake. Remember my letter?
I called you on it, your fear
of success, your dishonesty, my empty refusals
drove you further into print. Let go

of ambition and authorship, I wanna life
on a wide open mezzanine, overlooking a
room with a big open fire. Books burn

their authors beyond recognition. Proclaim yourself banal,
give up all hope of meaning, plunge
through the fonts of life into ink.

         Robert Garlitz & Rupert Loydell 2005