Pete Spence


a cloaked mule in Babylon
blackbirds hover above
between the clouds
hunting pebbles
some pebbles fall
denting the pond

repairs are ongoing
filling the dents with
matching material
everyone wears tin hats
to keep their thoughts
from being dented

the proceeds of thought
like plump voids weigh little
branching out into odours
of shattered breath
sweeping tessellations
across a vacant courtyard

the drains and exits
are blocked a lean wind
leans against the walls
of the empty courtyard
dust deepens in the corners
covering shadows

torn from daylight
the air convolutes
in webs filling the corners
of the sky the sun
takes a deep breath
and moves on

The Broom Closet.

the gulp set sweat a while
while the heat is turned up
as the clouds melt
in the broom closet
to be avoided at a glance

did Jim Dine sneeze?
the freeway melts into the gulf
that seems to be dining on squid
suddenly the sky is inky blue
and the stars escape

a ranger is chasing the dog star!
can you lose your way
in freshly painted space
and be home in time for lunch
melting into the plate?

the freshly baked door
is full of splinters
and inedible! chances are
its closed today!
should we eat out?

the blue husk of sunlight
smoulders in a subway
a cascade of all
the xylophones in Casablanca
subdues the traffic

the sun sets hard
on the estranged metal
the smell of paint thinners
fill the broom closet
has a cloud come unzipped?

rinsing into the decayed night
a fable of mulch inclines
its tepid vocalese
onto the foreshore
where gravel is built

meanwhile at the saw bench
the ocean is sliced into panels
the new housing
moves with the moon
in folds and sways

from the depths of the broom closet
a tidal scream is heard
the stairwell stutters feathers
a bassoon is overheard
denying the nails of sound

Flying North for Winter.

i picture walking out the front door and the sky
is full of gladioli flying north i almost get to the door
when i stop and wonder almost loudly if the pollen
spreading goldenly to the ground would make me sneeze
i hear a distant sneeze and then another! i picture six
or seven crows on the front lawn staring up at the gladioli
about as stunned as crows can get! if i open the door
will the crows want in? feathers covered in pollen! i picture
all the cars parked in the street covered with pollen
all the same dusty yellow! i picture not opening the door
and the pollen building up around the house like a snow drift!
i picture the ants sneezing what a racket! i picture turning
the radio on and some pianist is enthusiastically playing
a polonaise! i picture raising the white flag in surrender
but it turns yellow as the fine dust covers everything!


if the telephone arrives i'll wring its delicate neck
its phobia for lakes maybe only hearsay
and its swan-like recital like wind in reeds
leaning against a stain of solid air
provoking the sun from its hammock

as the message drowns in the center of the lake
the switchboard is busy serving drinks
the lake turning slowly to talcum pampering meadows
the ducks in a spirited disillusion take a bus into the hills
away from the hordes of telephones breaking

on cumulus shores where yaks chatter and graze
on the silt of civilisation its panic overheard by crows
invading the singed remnants of the afternoon
eroding quickly upon itself like a darkening aroma
choirs of metronomes solidifying faster than thought

cover the earth blocks of night drift down from dissonant
hills a 'phone is ringing somewhere in the dunes

Pete Spence was born in 1946. He is a poet, visual poet, and filmmaker, and has worked in various jobs to cover the ongoing deficit. He is currently retired from work but not from any of the above.
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