modern times

the vague and incestuous regret felt by those who denied the conspiracy of stars was passed on to their children in the form of a pale luminescence that played fitfully over their secondary sexual characteristics thus giving their sons the aspect of helical boilerplates and steeping their daughters in brine

the mosquito rising from the sea will be adorned with pictures of cats and with bicycle chains so that all who see it will lift up their aprons and cry “this was indeed a paperclip moulded from air!”

in the caverns beneath my head a faint suspicion forms shaped by the hands that multiply on my spine and the blue artichokes of a day in childhood when my mother pierced my eye with a safety pin

all the incredible colours fly down to roost in the memory of my hair for I am old and my age wanders around the room picking up ivory hatpins and buckets of steam and when I sleep it perches on the anchor above my bed and showers me with buttonhooks and dice

old age is a cartridge of watercress hung from a tree

lean closer in and let me smear lard on your chin against the armchair that prospers by night that trails its jointed umbrellas across the land that sets up obscene effigies of earwax and string in the summerhouse by the lake that floats on the surface of the world

that whispers that mumbles that moans

on the corner of a street paved with spoons the salvation army band bristling with clavicles and pens strokes its blade and makes improper suggestions to passing safety pins

the disassembled puppet cast by the hand of god on the velvet pubic mound in the public square with the colonnades and the ever-decreasing owls where the electric lights make crutches of hammered skin

on the plain on the staircase the pier the alkaline salts of evening stain the mouth of the errant harpsichord here where sea anemones pulse in the long sigh of the shadows that muffle our ears with the jawbone of an ass while the candle-scented spanner trails its grapes of powdered bone

here at the clay mackerel of time

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