Shadowtrain

Nathan Thompson
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Carriage 42
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Carriage 15
Earlier carriages

half partita for prepared piano

1

in the house they are considering leaving

it’s the snow you see      fake and

falling in its own mirror      music

beating wings no two exactly alike

 

we are painting a floral tribute

all it grazes perched to return to normal

shaking off cautious feathers

‘the poultry bulbs make little noise’

 

 

2

 

far out on the harbour’s edge

the gardens are seen for what they are

mawkish specifics levelled by mourning

‘white is the new black’      we tend the images

out of time among spite dusted roses

 

as it is spring-winter you remember the lilies

considered and conspicuous in their gaudy scent

filled to bursting before oh god oh fuck

their treasures covered in sleep we cannot seem them

turn again and snort      one too many martinis

 

but of course at this distance

just about the door opens

spirits of doves sordid in the heaving branches

I cannot part from you now      again      we are close

other trend-setters smooth back their white hair

 

 

3-4

 

‘it’s cold outside’      your record

is what we make of it      the blue

hair of night hanging down      (reference)

‘a martyr      smoking another cigarette’

I am too tired to understand the letter

you cannot say      you hand it to me

from the pluralist stalk of your heart

 

‘an archaic scotch for a widow?’

the TV is tuned to channels of imagined adverts

punctuated by white drizzle      flickering

‘the rest is only for the wicked’

I lick you and my tongue sticks frozen

as the candle burns down      (while to...)

endorses            something like the dark 

 

 

(one or two phrases owed to John Ashbery)

 

 

do you realise

 

geography becomes instant history

the TV screen presents the same image

central park in the dark

itself a simulacrum

 

‘a cafe is empty while all

the others in the square are full’

 

this is the epic of the west

a big simulated folksiness

of popsicles and ice-cream     

Sundays caught on celluloid

 

a wall of mist is coming towards you

making itself a backdrop

on your own sunny day      we’ll head for harbour if our submarine

            but where were we anyway      sitting there all alone

citation embedded in the speech of a particular self

 

I plumb forgot      we were meant to be

on the other side      the transmission is shifting

like a similar word into another language

 

the principle      I said      is leverage

and we can’t have this evening without you

are you too busy to be thinking or is that

just the nature of art      ‘you say such things

as would empty buckets of snow in summer’

 

up in our balloon we see all this

like a lighting rig without a stage

continuing      sans subject      the pig

on a stick its eye peering up

out of your manger      this is frightening

finding only odd socks in the sock drawer we’d burnt

the rest      our bridges for lightness

 

this is not dream reasoning      I’d insist you understand

but I hurt my hand on the bedstead

that evening when the rugby club attended your exhibition in Wales

who’s referencing whom      (total of the night drum

heard across the years from the pits of Africa)

collapsing the sea’s big word into the sky’s bigger

‘I’m out to find you’      trimmings served

on a freshly spilled rainbow      politics is always

faintly redolent of the political/ predictable

psalm chant logic forced through the harmony of a needle

 

they’re clearing the tables now      the light draws on

a feinting      did we make it      I’ll let you know

being here to listen      and forget      what it is to rhyme

regretted decisions      a cat takes to the nest     

thanks      we’re very aren’t we      back to normal

 

 

 

working softness

                                   

for a long time the rain has not been heard

something about its voice led me to trust

local texture      covert      aware of distance

the intimate curve of pearl bright moments

 

you ponder whether      your life may have been changed

the relationship between time and place in Cambridgeshire

mingled with snow in New Mexico

a growing sky      its delicate sense of exactness

 

the light wind falters      leaves

in the cottonwood      it is barely

milk grey      a set for the evening

offered free of charge      conveyed in juxtaposition

 

this dislocation is you sitting      singing in the branches

a real sense of interest in the land below

 

Copyright © Nathan Thompson, 2009