Shane Book


from a series called Flagelliforms
Fixed in cold jellied fact to my knees.
After the gifting of soaps, coloured bowls, handkerchiefs, curved
tools. It’s a sharp row of Sundays inside the giant
articulated trailer, under the cut-away roof.
Except my scientist is missing.
And where they punched holes, my ankles leak.
And I leak.
Flies drip phlegmy egg clusters on a large rotting
collarbone. The acres of fact glitter
with coils and shards and a dark rim of ocean. The thin roof
or tall air or wispy tarp of far away sky
quivers with sounds.
My scientist promised and I signed
with my horns and now.
Now I am burning alone.
The sounds are whitish sounds.
The whitish men are drumming
one-two, one-two—
simple, cottony beats,
and writing all down,
the way they do.
What beats these are I think I know.
These beats are the beats that they beat before they feast on us.
My scientist tells me so.
My eyes are smiley, “buggy,” misty, and “shifty.” I admit it; and recall
the last theorems my scientist gave me:
Yellow bean tied with yellow lightning
and, Great squash painted with the voice of the bluebird
and, These are the stories and they are a swing
and, In the path of some moving shadows the grass won’t stand up again
O I’ve got titles.
It’s their tales that have gone and left me,
like the wild white dogs
of the whitish men, scampering away
to their wild white dales.
I cast a peep out as far as I can
to peep the shattered dugout hulls
and the wide Negro-y hole and the feathers
inside but there are no flags or ladders
with lounging brown sea hags.
I leak from the low, slow leak in my speed muscle—on up.
I burn from my spare eye, down.

Shane Book
Poem, copyright © 2004 by Shane Book
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2004, From the Fishouse