Kent MacCarter


Tent sags blow industrial plateau
the German language I
voted to install
retrofit and pitch upon
the polyglot business
late in Gorbachev’s era. It’s still
heavily occupying, dim and square
an empty lot my head had

set aside
for expansion, air, its fluency is
tearing vermicelli limbs
off my bugs, lying in states
a disassembly
of panels, flaps, dials and lead
greyed paint chips
antennae of phonemes snapped off
some fluorescent, obsolete machine
my incisors crunch

at. My tent, it murdered me. Position levelled
and one now said
in a flecked conversation
spoken through downpours
of correction that worry
layers of enamel away
corroding its circuitry, the hairdos of maniacs
cut to its verb
to be

remains. What remains (?)
of the grammar and me
oxidize behind
butt factory
supine from its unstoppable whispering
of why? If only … don’t kill me, but

for a year I made volleyball
polite. Became more efficient
my productivity complex and plum
through the ceiling, walls got
moved and halls
widened to be altogether more accommodating for smarter computational machines
but that was when
and this is how
in their dormancy
these parts mouth — we are the visitor, you are the host

I am eaten in. Parts
un-dead souls mumbling and flailing about
a socket’s hope
and arms
crusades a lazily driven forklift
and dispatched them from. Transcripts

of metal
cannot squelch the inexhaustible hum
blueprints of fluency
positively shout
with Chromium. Yoo-hoo! Look! Over here
rests a discarded syllable
a predicate of thistles
sharply pronounce
forgetfully snapping
out of it ... and back

into a blooming attention
and there lies some odd pressure gauge-er-other
squinting face up
through topsoils
still stubbornly assessing the valves
of agreement. Verbs that do

in tandem, blood-proof
and with an industrious magnetism
as some politicised gadget
a headless, mechanical Weimaraner, say
bonking and scraping
towards any comprehensible use
like my bilingual abilities
peaked at back then
when foolishly aiming
bolts of Nylon toward the Burgemeister’s lung

for whiz-bang precision
the Bundesbank adds up to
or fuel-efficient
paragraphs of traffic
sounding out Alexanderplatz, Alex     ander     platz,         Alex           ander           platz
exceeding the speed limit of contextual flow
like a spelling bee champion
manufacturing idioms
and other widgets of language

only one rudimentary sentence or three
slot back into place
the big smile of hatchet
camping out deep in my forehead
daggers eking out sense
lines such as: do you know
what time o’clock tomorrow
him starts at
… or … how
much is that translation software
in the window?

Kent MacCarter is a writer and editor in Melbourne, Australia. He's the author of two poetry collections – In the Hungry Middle of Here (Transit Lounge, 2009) and Ribosome Spreadsheet (Picaro, 2011) – and editor of Joyful Strains: Expat Writers on Making Australia Home (Affirm Press, 2013), a non-fiction collection of diasporic essays from international authors now living in, writing from Australia. MacCarter sits on the executive board of SPUNC: Small Press Network and is active in Melbourne PEN. He is Managing Editor of Cordite Poetry Review. He was recently awarded a Fulbright Travel Award to read in Indonesia, promoting American literature.
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