Cook Ting

Circumstances analogous
to life and death, house cleaning or
clutter. Dante or an old shirt.
It’s there to cut, but not to chop.
Between the knuckle-bones it’s soft
as butter. Or you picked a leaf
off the road. What is it when it
reaches the sea? The gulls are a
white flap over sprats in the foam.
Call it an episode when they
tumble together to make it
one. The cliff is history. You
throw yourself in where the fish are
thickest. Take hold of a word and
turn it on. Tourbillion. A
blade is so sharp it can dance round
the joint. Silvery energies
argue the point. The carcase of
an ox flops open. Shall we leave
it at that? Some of the cliff calves
flat. The rest ducks, and runs like a
rat. Look about and wipe the knife.
But there’s more, there’s more. Rubbing it
out will prove there’s no nub of the
matter. There are too many eyes
for your own eyes to catch in the
scatter. Twelve blank sheets of paper
hung up on a string. The joy of
perpetual bicker. Your seat
at the open door. The shutters
banged back. A dark acrobat who
somersaults through to rob a few
of the glittering company.
Is there a wife for a viking?
A pair of socks in a poem?
Beetles and sticks in a box? Bright
bait. Bright bait. You notice what has
gone into the picture. Bite it.
It can’t be expected to wait.

from More or Less (The Many Press, 2002), copyright © R F Langley 2002, used by permission of the author's Estate.

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