Chris McCabe (London, UK): Two Poems


The Mannequins were premature –
Their suits too big –
Sport sacks catnapped shoulders –
And so they shared time –
Across wristwatches like grass –
Grasshoppers in a milk-dish –
While cameras grazed red bricks –
Swans at ease –
So the Mannequins took art careers –
Ice-cream vans carouselled in funny mirrors –
Began at a Gallery called –
As before, they arrived early –
To read over their notes –
And drink enough coffee –


GUINNESS is a kind of meat
a sustenance

that stains us
(with excess)

the Teddy slick
of oil & cream

in 1 magpie’s tail –
it was not your heart

You said

that stirred beyond
the myth for this

– these –

killerwhale birds

© Chris McCabe 2009

Aidan Thompson (New York, USA): from Kind in Glass

From: Kind in Glass

The confidence of the photograph entices
narratives that linger on a line of pine trees and
the arrangement of poppies bordering a path.
Will taking a walk in your illusion help table my
uncertainty or cradle waking for good? Or
should I follow the eye dashing across the
valley, traveling the whole range of light and
shadow until it depletes itself of facts and
climbs over the hill? This won’t prevent the
messenger from getting lost or dent the slope of
change tendriling the surface of chaos.
Nonetheless, I study the map as if having the
whole picture in one’s hands will contain
getting older. Time can never be fully embraced
or understood but rambling farmland, deceived
by cold stretches of weather, produces
character-building endurance, assuaging attacks
of precipitation, settling you in the loam, which
helps in the end. The tailbone compresses when
plowing furrows, while cross-fertilization colors
dreams and expands the range of creation,
although yellow is brash and obdurate with its
lemon taste and shrill of canary. I’d get up on an
orange crate and beat my chest, but the truth of
the matter is fruits have cleverly manipulated us
into spreading their genes. Malevich’s Black
Square and Red Square
has a way of
representing pigment that both minimizes and
amplifies, which is something like frogs never
hopping exactly the same distance or the same
way every time. We need the unpredictable or
we wouldn’t be able to create. Of course, I’d
never kiss a toad no matter how princely. Man
with a Hat
with its dislocated eyes, ears, and
lips is not rational or calculable, and the dawn—
blaring bluebirds and crows, trumpeting irises
and lilacs, offering their parts to bugs—has
always been immeasurable. Deep down we’re
all concerned with leaving copies of ourselves.

We considered reason to be a laser beam
hacking away at doubt, but it turned out to be
the mind chasing its tail, yoking intuition into
sleep. Habit forms a relation between the worm
and its word that is as thin as lips, but then, the
wildness of an apple maturing on a tree, braced
against temperature’s ambiguity, is a hard act to
follow, especially when there are unceasing
variables circulating in the breeze. Routine
challenges because words do what they want,
and if we are alive, we will insist insistence is
better than repetition, never using the same
emphasis twice. Language is troublesome and
sometimes etymology, grammar, and meaning
struggle into a boat like shipwrecked mariners
to save themselves from furious killer whales.
Or is this a simple case of personification? “The
dew is all over us,” exclaimed the purple
morning glory with a yellow smile. Words are
little gloves for picking thoughts. She looks like
a sunflower tracing the sun, yet how can one
stand open mouthed considering the desert of
life when Arkansas has the country’s most
dazzling waterfalls? Questions absorb heat, act
as a motif repeating the familiar until someone
says, “I looked into that at one time but found
you could go too far.” He needed a short
humorous poem to fill the gap between truths
because meaning, like God, is dead. “Nothing”
makes itself felt in the flight between Arizona
and Alabama, but traveling from ennui to anger
made us aware of the subtleties in which life is
actually lived. Finally we could relish in the
sound of a key turning and the clip-clop of
hooves galloping to the gate. Mules on narrow
paths climb buttes stratified with russet and
lavender. It is quiet, not even a swallow song,
only stones humming with the sun on the edge
of a horizon. Once mystery arrives, it has a
negative capability to shine courage under
rocks. Or was it their ability to sit on the brink
that allowed them to feel a brush of a kiss in the

A table means steadiness, even though
cascading fruit in the foreground teases my
original perception, convincing logic to take a
nap, or is this irony spinning in the corner? I fry
eggs and cry over my shoulder because the
cantankerous verb snorts and the all-sound
music of the future bursts forth on buildings
made of glass, taking America by form. Hang
on to your waist and laugh because revisions
shake and the equilateral triangle is stronger
than the box. Paradox is one way of fighting the
unpredictable. Then again, don’t we have the
world by a tale? I try to be a stylish person with
coifed pink hair, while the rosy rose in my right
hand droops with withered beauty. That's what
we do—one generation showing the other that
movement exists. Caught between the tilt of the
head and the crossing of arms over the chest, I
follow eyes following the arm following the
chalk across the board. Certainly you see what
is right. A guru holding a wineglass raises a
pinkie in the air and students write this down.
Carrying handfuls of liquid gives a knowing of
nowness, while resting on one's laurels in the
yard drops habit into a whole lot of nothing. Or
am I over investing in vastness and doubt? I
know the savagery of a tiger bursting into
flames can destroy expectations, but how else
can we contrast venal with vernal and the day to
delight in? Rambling in forests leads one to the
enjoyment of things as they come. It was a set
of whispers that had Bilbo tooting his own horn
in the fog, proving that the locus of meaning
resides in off-stage commotion, interrupting the
main action in the sun. I couldn't wrap my
illusions around pinnacle-like plots, so I jumped
into the sounding hole of his guitar, which had
me do-si-doing on epiphany's hat. I jostle and
overlap looking for the T-square and the
architect's table, but stasis has no
correspondence to satisfaction, even when we
carry it out the door.

© Aidan Thompson 2009