Paul Summers


contrary to the advice
of the disaster management
communique, i re-read conrad’s
typhoon as my principal preparation;
muster the essentials: a golden cache
of tobacco & rum, a sack of plump
pistachios, capacity for light & sound,
my nearest & my dearest.

we huddle in the gloom
of the laundry’s bland cell;
stripped down to the bloom
of anxious skin, like the crewmen
of das boot, pending the percussion
of depth-charge or mine.


a complicated light;
the sort of night

when edward hopper
would have painted you

reading by storm lamp
in a foxed veranda glow.

(had he ever lived adjacent
& been no longer extinct.)

as neither is so, i marvel
in this slowest dusk

at flawless lines of neck
& arm, the swell of hip,

your silent lips awaiting
the burden of a hero’s kiss.

black milk of daybreak we drink it at dusk
at noontime and dawn we drink it at night
we drink and we drink
- Paul Celan (Todesfuge)

nothing is as far as truth - Judith Wright (The Man Beneath the Tree)

nothing more sacred
than grief’s black milk

the light & the object
reconciled in shadow

nothing as stubborn
as a blue-lipped kiss

the hollow lyric
of gilded memory

the currency of pasts
a moment defaulted

a cup of ashes
to nourish a rose

an ounce of laughter
to spawn a star

Paul Summers is a Northumbrian poet who currently lives in central Queensland.

His latest collections are primitive cartography from Walleah Press, Tasmania, & union (new & selected poems) from smokestack books, UK.
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