Allan Phillipson
Department of English
University of British Columbia

Deep South v.1 n.2 (May, 1995)

Copyright (c) 1995 by Allan Phillipson, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the New Zealand Copyright Act 1962. It may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the journal is notified. This consent does not extend to other kinds of copying, such as copying for general distribution, for advertising or promotional purposes, for creating new collective works, or for resale. For such uses, written permission of the author and the notification of the journal are required. Write to Deep South, Department of English, University of Otago, P. O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.


                            polite cough of a town
opened your arms to tall ships
but a long spit of sand 
                                covered your mouth
rich silt settled inside
                                  leaving you full
and empty

like Wilde art
                       or a flower on the trellis
                            of a house boarded up
for sale


Lying full stretch
                             by the cliff's edge
arms spread wide
                 fingers clutching tussock grass
unable to stand up and look down
                               drawn to the edge
inching out
                           down there gullspecks
                            bouncing in the wind

"You sit stiller"
                 thought Pound
                 in the cage at Pisa
"if whenever you move something jangles"


It wasn't the
crossing the line
                                 or even winning
that drew me
                                 but the game---

something langer than its parts
like a whole body
                                     or wild art
                 in love
                                   with an image
motion unrestateable
                                losing its heart
when you try to explain


I thought of animals, machines, lovers
but to give either one of us
                                        an image 
would be cheating
                        when we smashed together
we weren't anything
                                   but ourselves

my neck twisted
                              down to the ground
curled like a wave
                        just before it hits sand
and breaks.
                                    Mouth opened
                                        no sound
only fear
                                       and years 


                              Lying full stretch
on a trolley
                            head in the sandbags
arms laid straight
touching legs
                            every thirty seconds
to make sure you still
                                smelling clothes
they're about to cut off
                                       your body

your mind
                             longing to stand up
look down
                                make connections

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