Positively there is no chair
down here to offer you - Joseph Conrad

such slices of the stranger
pushed into a corner
however misty the ending
of climate change
the stack of plastic problems
is part of the fable pattern
for conferring the diagonal
in or out of its shadow
on various rental premises
whose memory is being let
off the lead their forms
planted or returned between the cold
faces across the parapet

it is the same voice in the mouth
just vanished in the curvature
of the red worm then in turn
for symmetry the same breath
a fraction of the expected way
and in those a bridge appears
closer though still unsure
the figures piled everywhere
would find it hard to gather
the elements of the machine
estranged only from its surface
awkward and bluish
floating over real depths

after Wittgenstein

In your book the as world I found it,
all you've done
is change its shape, as if it were a film
on deep water, or the plan of a town

or a bit of face on canvas. As the landlady says,
it must take care of itself, though she dusts it
weekly and looks at it often.

Suppose I draw a meaningless curve through
this dance of motes in the air and want to report
how I found it. Can a child draw a window

in the wrong
way? My mistake must be
in waiting for the possibility of truth when
your smile is not quite genuine. I can draw you

a face, but what is it that makes you turn away?
Suppose we were walking by a river? Suppose you pushed me
into its patches of colour? Would you give a reason -

the path you took, a stone, the body of a man,
a bleeding statue as a sign of rain
tomorrow? In the meantime, is the blue

or grey of my eyes to be considered? Will they
be real if I give you the light and shadow
of my body, whose shape you still don't know?


As you see, we repeat the procedure,
isolated and without optical help
or pleasure. We build the fractal air,

see things other eyes don't. The tenets begin
where we describe -  humbled
before a form that invades as we enter it,

drawing a blank. Let us take the point
and move unit distance across the flou
frank and lively. A gaining

can be made on each hyperplane, the moment
without confines mapped in front of us. Even
by evening, though not exactly in the dark, the shape

shifter leans from the window. Its root
too must be real. One only needs a distraction
strong enough, or perhaps simply something

to laugh about for deviant, formal arrangements
to become shapely in their chains. Fragments of once
coherent bodies may withdraw

now that we have pushed the index open for good. The world
is far away, its shimmering dots of light
fixed in the silence.


Go figure why traffic lights
turn when they do, though
you're probably not thinking
much about maths. Equations

are stacked everywhere
we turn among those
rooting for a breakthrough.
They hope to nobble

the numbers from below.  Even
as we grow old, we still
fall back on those who know

about maths, with their in-

escapable loaves and fishes.
The weight of their formulas
refuses to drop away
from this odd darkness, where

we have come to hide
and which wishes only
to empty itself of
whatever's been netted.

    Ian Seed 2009