I.   first base  


One could have all kind of kooky conversation

with the certain combinations of flowers.


Yesterday we talked with rue.

Periwinkle for  pernicious wishes.

Daffodil for        hello, put me in your pocket.


Arum lily for I’ll cling to your skirts.

Ivy for you’ll choke me for years after I’ve left.

Forget-me-not,                    did you never realise?


Goldenrod for   sniggering into your scratchcards.

Next,      high-speed flower arranging,


or, reading the clouds like tea-leaves

f’r’example, modest oblong clouds first

lining up the wholeway horizon-across

and the sky it goes the wholeway round


you’re  at the Highline though, where

the vegetation was CHOSEN, yes, to

PAY HOMAGE oh glory BE, to the

wild plants which indeed had colonized


th’abandoned railway, the choochoo trickish

tracks, before it was repurposed, oh!

New York!



II. thither


(to the work, then)


Transcription: this is where the words are written down

without discussion.

Shibboleth:   this is where the word is written down

without discussion.

Name:   this is where the name is written down

without discussion.

NAME IT!:    this is where the name is written down

after discussion.

“secrecy”: this is where the names are written down

without discussion.

Gentle reminder that none of this is any of your business:

this is where there is no discussion.

Excellence and hard work are possible at the same time probably:

this is where there is discussion.

Signature: this is where the name is written down.

The co-signatory was missing from the conference:

this is where the name is not written down

after discussion.


III.    two too late


three being two

a list, beginning

my retarded son

I am envied

the shame fell

you disgraced me

terrible times together

drink it over

now we gather

the lost things

my son my

son oh Absalom

Absalom my son

the last time

we were together

you heard me

a broken record

turned against me

a record broken

which makes three

time times time

I am envied

two is three

the unknown code

you my family

the cruellest bones

the necessary marrow

denial with blindness

the heart’s sorrow

for the lost

for the last

for the blistered

for the burnt

for the starving

for the falling

for the hell

for the fun

for the glory

for the money

for the children

for my son

oh my son

the terrible lesson

the fearsome book

the awful page

the last look


IV.   hither




Here is the manner, four-

wingèd spite full’f gurning.



The watchman fell at the o’clock

   his regret was sounded loud.


Here is the dream. It

    churns and circles and curses, it

    spits mongrelly teeth, up-

    airs them to the cloudless up.


They never sound as loud as when you

    don’t speak words at them: they never

    are heard more than they’re listened to.    




V. twentyish


What does it mean, he says,  Win — chest — er ?

    From Belfast no I don’t believe it with your accent,

you aren’t German? Polish? How d’you come to be here?

    I’m staying in The Clink , I am , but I’m, I am a free man.

Why did the cathedral bells ring? for

    all Souls’  or all  Saints’ ?  what was the word ?

Solder, or, the linden tree    ?

    Yes, he says, I use the darkest charcoal for your eyes.


His art materials spiralled from The Marriage of Figaro,

for example, matching it all, as sort of romantic,

sort of unexpected & spontaneous, sort of unavoidable,

sort of making sure I lost that job, sort of.


Señorita , he says  (fivefold flatterer),

Sarah of the good skin,

of the poetic and Biblical name , of the dark, sad eyes

and the gentle lips and the poet’s long thin hands.


From fond España, no, Odessa, he was, and divorced, a

cartoonist of politics who, he studied Holy Art at

(oh, Oh Holy Art!) Milan, Odessa, London, now, on a London bridge.


Writing a poem was the only faithful elephant of the deal.

Nevertheless      I      loved   this person,

just like all the inappropriate



VI.    visionary(’s) proposal:


I am just the imaginative cockroach for you.

Our hair will grow still long after short-

term cryogenics.  We’ll be refrigerated   right?


These decisions must be made and stuck to regard-

less of loss of sealsong, wherever you keep the knowledge –

your guts’ll do.


Not really since   your brothers still are dead there, in the

narrative background, historic, in the some-term freezing studio.

The stadium fills with cold undead, unsinging.


The library ’s where we keep tomorrow’s records : many

more dead than have lived a full and, &/ or

happy life.

Paper skeletons  have been chewed

to pieces  by once domesticated cats.

Don’t hang them on the

December trees!

New disturbances  will last a century, we are  ho-

bblede  –  hoy in-

to tomorrow spit

spat towards crunch gravel earth spatter crunch.

In an hundred years’ time we two’ll be living oh six  days  a  head.


by Sarah McKee 


Sarah McKee lives near a lake in Berlin. She inhales a large amount of comedy. She, too, has an irregularly tended blog: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/gormandgasp. Publications and projects include Metal Magazine (upcoming), Poems Underwater (upcoming), This Recording, The Moth, Blackbox Manifold, Veer, Varsity, Volta, The Harker. Kiez Oper (upcoming), These Carewon Cairns (sound installation, Scott Polar Research Institute), Bonesong (contemporary opera, Carmen Elektra).


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