all the rage


time available in catafalques       scruples
no honestly you didn't think       locked
into the logic of the utterance she
whatever predicament you first thought of

then subtract       courting this disapproval was one
way out of the dilemma shirking the inevitable
with freak admissions       jealous accumulations
of cash in has-been accounts       slushing funds

in glacial calm       small claims chasing
snatched appropriations across strewn floors
caught on camera & identified immediately
using the most basic face-match technology

stupid or deliberate       a desire for incarceration
the body's orifices yield up the manner of their
construction       a cracked cartouche the name
escapes me       while one by one systems crash & burn


hold that thought (horace may well have a line
on this)       mores observed along an axis of
delinquency racked by ever-mounting anonymity
& getting into deep water       she's in the thick of it

& out of here       a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder
& a jewel-encrusted navel       see that sail
on the horizon it's where the contraction in the economy
samples the best it has to offer       symptoms of haste

in departures from the norm       stations airports harbours all
crowded & every owner of a fishing boat clapped out old banger
or helicopter out to make a killing       where does that
leave us       stuck in the middle of a new

heterodoxy making up the rules as we go along
shrinking allegiances to fit the exigency of the moment
she tongues his foreskin piercing & he shrieks in pain
& pleasure then leaves him to his own devices


at the third stroke       endlessly looping into that
embarrassing moment & with the bruises to prove it
the brainier ones will have the wit to see through it & find
a way to circumvent the rules of course they always do

leaving the bottom feeders to revel in sweet
opium sustenance       tops & bottoms agree on the best
way to concoct the transaction       the drip of hot
wax on buttocks needles inserted into inside thighs

the food thrown away after the party would have fed
two villages       the cant of the axis indicating something's
wrong burning towers collapsing rather too neatly into myth
with helminthic traders on the floor encased in glass & steel

old men scowling       serpentine curls whip back
revealing her birthmark like a love bite       fallacious
semantics derived from dodgy hegemonies       she cycles
through streets rendered more plausible by shards of syntax

city state

# 8

what keeps you watching       compositing the
skyline of the virtual city with
actors shot against a green screen to build
a 3D world from nothing creating
illusion       you can't see where you leave the
practical world to enter the virtu-
al world & come back     what more do you need
i think it be some ghost crept out of pur-
gatory       government forces again
today shelled the civilian popu-
lation killing eighteen       the observers
arrived too late       a celebrity self
destructing with all cameras rolling
look out for some sharp showers later on

# 9

all of this has happened before & will
the boredom       the long wait for whatever
will to      wet glistening roofs       abandoned
architectures slammed off the wall       the gaps
in understanding when the internet
radio loses signal mid-sen       or
an obvious pause goes on just a bit
too long       beige taxis funnelling through wide
streets       that's when we cotton on       as palae-
ontologists squabble over bits of
bone about human origins       happen
again       a tense stand-off in the churchyard
depending on your system of belief
the foreman's spotted us & we scarper

prognosis of discontent


the pleasure is in the appropriation       battle
lines adorn landfills where       the end-of-life
experience is a marquee event pulling in eyeballs

but even then a concert among minds
is to be avoided       even common species
can be vulnerable to weather       & what a spin

that puts on events the progress of the autumn
owl wars       yes all extrinsic niceties are off
fiscal multipliers declining and turning negative

& what's left to slug it out in the undergrowth
an augury of breeding season failure       it was not
his death but the speed & timing of it that caught her

by surprise       empty plots raddled with pits
anomalies in air pressure making for another hard
winter       with genuinely random underpinnings


a precarious admission to rest a case on
taxing times to turn the heating up & hope
to find all the eggs still in the basket       the foxy

gentleman bares his       close the book       all bets
are off for the time being       retained income
intact & untaxed       dodgy deals notwithstanding

the advance of mutual interests for mutual benefit
no expense spared       we applaud the artistry
of the trompe l'oeil       the irresistible lightness

of the line       revisited the place seemed dim-
inished       held together by its own adequacy
holding on to a form of words       of partial

invective       what engine can fail to purr
convincingly       allow such back-seat con-
versations       fair enough       set to default


selling off the common life to the highest
bidder       a change in strategy       coins erupting
into history from pits & ditches       unperturbed

by red shift neutrino oscillation & all
the rest       in finite space particles will
combine finitely       a collision between this here

& its replication causing a ripple in cosmic
background radiation       yeah       with pain
an unavoidable side-effect       obsolete

technologies on the blink again       off
the books       friends conversing in a room
reflected in a curved silver surface

with a credit rating perilously close to junk
you just have to know what x
is       blinded by so
much data       the behaviour of the bears is changing


genetic disappointment       what's in a meme       it's not
as exotic as you'd think       ostriches in brandenburg served up
in a restaurant near you       a limp flag hanging from a balcony

above a skip of rubble       nothing to film but guilty buildings
quantitative easing set to give a glib response with licence
to gas all the badgers in the area       subverting the usual

rules of       poetry that's put a hard hat on & taken off its gloves
that doesn't care for tea in tender porcelain       betraying
anything that means       suffering understanding       patient

still in a critical condition       when they first found
the expedition they snapped the frozen arm off the leader
trying to move him       a blank space in the journal

that has to be acknowledged       was not revealed       ten
feet to infinity the appropriate distance       the historian
indissolubly part of her history       muddying the pool

    Catherine Hales 2012