Saturday, April 9, 2011

from Helsinki by Peter Richards

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He wore a tight aqua t-shirt which signifies
to me at least the end of June actually
the whole of March bears out in a reasonable
way my recollections of a well-known cellist
still playing at home her mat was made of horsehair
her mat was made of green horse feathers
and much to her disgust I sometimes wore
my uniform and sometimes I bit her seneca lobe
which has every appearance of being modern
and contrite but contains the initial error
I sometimes see behind Mohammedan curtains
or the magazine said to contain 70 of the world’s
most beautiful men they seem timid at first
but just start in with a little Portuguese and you
will soon find no man is a better authority than
any other man any divinity as the low end estimate
of a number some arbiters regard as a trick for it does
not record the fact nor contain action requiring
thought in clear view my recent attempt was like
my first in that I neither consulted the highest
nor was I ever truly released from Helsinki


+++

I do remember as a small boy being brushed
by a black man in the courtyard feeling the small
of my back lightly brushed so that it sank deep
into my imagination and partly the initial deathblow
Helsinki prepared for my boyhood drawing an invisible
orange line at the base of my skull leading to this villa
my parents shared between them each room holding
a portrait of one of my parts and one room wrongly
represents the cyst in my knee another captures my chin
before it was mended a third stretches to the evil side
of the room where this tear sits hard and white and so
I think it must be cold so cold the cold outnumbers ice
from when the ice was young no tear has taken its place
so it must live beyond the great doors of winter and sing
as many flesh and blood songs as a frozen tear can sing


+++

Providing these consultations
remain unsaid if he kissed me
he kissed me in fugitive droves
and disappearing were the soldiers
surrounding us both except they
were ably and frank and as soon
as undone he refused to do other
man bidding knowing our night
made for that negative evidence
compared to his eyes lesser black
was the lozenge shouting disinterest
in the ship in its spatial authority
some other being must have left
open and in places wantonly split


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My tube was never removed so this painting depicts
the continuation of sound passing through one boundary
wall to the next on and out into space where I still have
a more or less decent view of the villa though it looks small
and perversely flat and pink like a tile or patch of laminated
foil on the head of a rat still it seems fairly represented and I 
can still make out a little bit of me huffing in the wrongly placed
foreground where there is no eyewitness save for the disordered
fellow himself I suspect to be overwritten and miserably white
inside his chamber even the spirit of the hour won’t convulse
in his bed fatalist to excess he uses small bodies and forgetfulness


+++

I myself forget how my death was privately tended
it lasted about three minutes I awoke in a villa
to the sensation gently brushing my back I could see
his face looking down at me through masses of hair
then we started quarreling I don’t know something
malpractice or shirts until gradually I was no longer free
or prevented from seeing his face the locus for innumerable
variants elders volume rug pouting muscatels
I mean the variants were everywhere and they went on
forever even my first step was drawn from his face
but that I myself was rumor and whether or not we actually
went together I leave for you to decide because I don’t really
want to talk about that anymore not here anyways
where I can honestly say I know what it feels like to be
roasted forever on green spits in a cool halted valley
of repeating presence where no weather is the kingdom itself





(from his book Helsinki, Action Books, 2011)

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