from EX CATALOGUE
[prose poems and found prose poems]



'In half-wounded syntax, grid, fragment,
chunk chord and collage, make
things to say things'
     - 'Draft 52: Midrash', Jorie Graham


'And a thousand false systems will invent an order for our world.'
    - Into the Looking-Glass Wood, Albert Manguel





1. OASIS

Someone puddled clay into these dew ponds, somebody has tidied up the village green. I really should cut the grass today, before it starts to rain. Spoken roses line up in fragile sentences, our garden is hardly overlooked. Our garden is hardy and over the hills and far away architecture and light from thousands of years ago, seen through a red shift of intention, bring raindust, weather patterns, underwater flowers. Black seas glittering in the sun.




9. PRE-FAB VIEW

At night in the courtyard, the deer sings as though it were a songbird, sitting on top of its cage. The skeletal igloo contains a nest, and casts a shadow on the old stone walls. Loops of light, fragments of plate glass, frozen fountains; there is a need for observation and affection. On its own this all means nothing, is the outcome of a failed experiment to build new minds for my people. Social and psychic experience can make a man blind.




20. CULTURAL PROMISCUITY

'A Babylonian Vest. Diverse sorts of Egges from Turkie; one given for a Dragons egge. Easter Egges of the Patriarchs of Jersualem. Two feathers of the Phoenix tayle. The claw of the bird Rock: who, as Authors report, is able to trusse an Elephant. Dodar, from the island Mauritius; it is not able to flie being so big. Hares head, with rough horns three inches long. Toad fish, and on with prickles. Divers things cut on Plum-stones. A Brazen-balle to warme the Nunnes hands.' 




27. TODAY'S UNIVERSE

'Every one of our communications, every conversation, every reading, every experience of a painting or a play or a film, every contemplation of a sunset or of a remarkable face, every listening to a concert or to the song of birds, every observation answered or not, every discovery, every intuion, every revelation, every epiphany, every moment of grace, takes place somewhere defined in this world of ours by volumes of history and atlases of geography.' 




37. RUSTIC PSYCHE

'Poetry has no social uses. The poet is not the antennae of the race, nor is he the purifier of language. Poetry is not therapeutic. It is pleasant and harmless for schoolchildren to play at poetry in class, much as they sing songs or skip rope during recess. I suppose it is useful for gloomy adolescents to write coded, incomprehensible poems about just how wretched they feel and hide these efforts in their desk drawers. I don't recall any society ever actually encouraging its young to become poets...'




38. PUBLIC LOVE

She is one of a number of women of the same type whose acquaintance I have made. Sensible and generous, married late in life to a man caught up in himself - writers, painters or academics. She has her own life, in fact she is more succesful than her husband in many ways, yet both are in orbit around his work. What she has suffered or inherited from him she absorbs, allowing nothing to be closed or broken.




39. HOW TO BE

'It is the slow passage of time, the sudden onslaught of great sufferings, the continuous tension between isolation and relations with others. It is the need for attention and affection, the need to find a comforting gaze in the other person. It is the curiosity towards other people's experiences, which sends you back to your own as if in a mirror. It is the memory which, always, is built in the present, in a long and timeless present.' 




46. ARTISTIC PAINTING

An abstract composition of simple wooden boxes, ribbons, windows, flat roofs and plain white walls. There are familiar faces in the paintings on the wall and the owner seems to remember us from last time. Everything becomes itself if we rely upon self-revelation and clear reception. Let the guidebook fall at your feet and learn to see.




51. SECOND NATURE

'Between our first memories and the forgetfulness of old age, between the formation of the memory and the erosion of memories, between the not yet and the no longer being able to remember, lie questions that are bound to arise in each one of us, simply
because we have a memory. It is impossible not to look astonished at something that has been our companion all our life.'




58. WINTER ABSTRACTION

Pulp them, mash them, grind them up, spit them out and there you go: mutant strains of noise lurking in the darkness. We are the ebb and flow of words, the language shuffling along on sticks, having one last trip out before summer ends. It has ended, winter is already here. It comes with a smile, an open wound's ghastly grin.




59. SUPPLEMENTAL REALITY

In one cage are earth and CDs, in another smooth white pebbles. The centre of the space is full of eggs in a grid, gently placed on a pile of sand. The room is lit in violet, to enter or leave you must use the stairs, which are covered in books you have to walk on. Everything is out of line, dislocated. There is a scuffed violin next to an empty violin case: the room is full of silent music. Empty bowls are full of space, a video loop flickers in the darkest corner.




60. NEARLY SOUL

'Éthe gold of time and the azure temple of water, the sun of the dead and the blazing cloud, the heartbeat of the worlds and subtle silence, the stone that speaks obscure languages, the laugh that announces burial and the interweaving of bodies, the words that make love with unexpected sounds, the voice that rises from ancient vineyards, the eternal moment of the hand touching the air.' 




62. FOR THE EYE OF THE BEAUTIFUL BEHOLDER

The coincidences are too much to bear. The distant moon over the entire city, the tree at the corner of the ruined temple. Serrated light and shadowed lines, a drift into silence and listening, the fallen tree. The place is abuzz with beginnings: flocks of birds, formations of people, panic before a storm. Families and friends are busy doing three or four things at once, patterns are in constant motion. Whenever I manage to stand still, you are never nearby.


           © Rupert M Loydell 2005


SOURCES

The titles of these poems are taken from the catalogue Jonathan Lasker.
Gemţlde | Paintings 1977-1997 published by Cantz Verlag.
 
Found prose poems:
20. Some of the original objects in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum, quoted in Into the Looking-Glass Wood
, Alberto Manguel
27. Alberto Manguel, Into the Looking-Glass Wood
37. August Kleinzhaler, 'There is No Scene: Mondo Condo Amricano', in Boxkite 2,
39. Lanfranco Binni, catalogue essay for Identit‡ nomadismo
, Palazzo Delle Papesse, Sienna
51. Douwe Draaisma, Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older
60. Lanfranco Binni, catalogue essay for Identit‡ nomadismo, Palazzo Delle Papesse, Sienna