louis armand


1. a field an embankment a mound of scree
beside the exhumation site--
lavendergrey & yellowgreen like an illness

stealing over it
of the old divided loyalties--wind
raking the grass & stones & barbed
wire--& the mutinous voices
rising on the tarn
are so much clishmaclaver
of crows & wasp hives

the mountain shrivels under a low mist
as the tide grovels down
inch by inch of water & the stain

drawn from unearthed marrow

2. & the body lay in the house mostly succumbing
on the old bed dragged down
from the room above the stairs--& its bones
beneath the flesh were like an
intricate geological form
conjured from basalt--to seek
"virtue in internals" as wrote chun tchi
& didn't he say the whole night sky's invented?
snake oils & dark intimations--
a zodiac lodged in the
penitential eye coiling & uncoiling
like the canaanite's plumčd serpent?
or something more commonplace
the shed skin of a body
passing from myth to remembrance--& back again

3. seeks direction--north
is not to escape as they expect but who
are they? the visible border
is not the line to be crossed--secretly
excavated in stolen half-
sleep the sky
a bleached-out lintel--apportioned to a god
whose supervision is
habitual, whose element
is the indifferent conflagration

an outer light that sets ablaze & illuminates--
the electric lights in the bay &
grumblings of thunder. a powerful scent
of fuse & ozone--remote shipyards
factories foundaries--the great engines
turning the locks

inheaving & outheaving
& the peatblack remains of a body acquired by
uncertain means--the price for which
it was purchased & its use

4. how to speak plainly of
what cannot be spoken?
that words are not some
accidental effect or outcome
of a lapse of "vigilance" ...

a side of the world bulges
outward from its bearing--
north or true north?
as though this too were
nothing more than allegorical

5. a voice across some distant
mareotic lake that muttered
revenge for the death of
pádraic pearse-- madman
saint or imposter? the land
knows nothing remembers
nothing. to live & die once only
is an ambition you fostered
but did not believe in
true god swirls in his man-
made universe like a sump
of splintered bottle-bits
circling a plughole--the axis
of a voice revolving in darkness
"the dead were dead, the living
lived." or a green outer husk
that seeks exemption from the
rule, turned to a mystic
puppet image of our enemies--
its dance is more solemn &
less serious, caught helpless
with its motives red-handed--
to hold in a single thought
reality & justice?
a crow barks
above the ledge--a sound like a
grappling hook lodged between
two contrary intentions: the rift
between what happens
& what we wished to happen?
grown tense under its shadow
& the slow beating of its wing--
a symbol already of fatigue
& obligation convicted
by our own consciences
. or it is
the sound of history laughing
in the face of morality
& a lone voice hissing back
vengeance for pádraic pearse?

6. upon this verge where all the pest
of ireland cast its lot

(ejaculated into void)
has grown a mythologic reek

that mocks the pious snake cast out
by artaud's magic walking stick

e-mail the poet at louis_armand@yahoo.com
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