John Birkbeck


At Altitude
John BirkBeck

You were not at early mass,
not at the small café with
the blue window drapes and
empty bird cage in the window.

You were not in the clouds,
nor were you on the ground;
I tried to remember how you'd
say "Oui" as if inhaling it
like a whisper in reverse.

In the passenger lounge at
the international airport
I endured time taking its time,
my memories gone into hiding.

I dozed at a higher altitude
as the plane hung in the sky,
aimed for my own horizon--
nearest you I was farthest away,


House On Nameless Street
John BirkBeck

You'd rush off to Patagonia
or Guinea-Bissau-- but no
it turnt out to be Brasilia or
was it Tangier? Marrakesh?

Your disposable wardrobes of
surnames and True Loves and
shit-storms of disaffection ran
toward far edges of your maps.

You'd be old now like me
a veteran of frivolous loves
and meaningless hatreds
and escapes into distances.

You might this moment live
among your cats and violets
in a vast creaking old mansion
with ghosts to keep you company.

I want to think that you'd be
finally at peace-- amusing
yourself with memories of
explorations of impulse.

And not just another piece
of sun-baked real estate in the
wider world beyond where
fresh starts at last run out.


Ex-Eagle Scout
John BirkBeck

Subjective quasi-anarchic
embryo ideas interject
stray dreams into literary
war-stories and maybe two
language stunts, etc. and
get a fluffing-- a tingle
of nerves, a spasmodine.

The last flushings-out of
madhouses and slammers and
missions and workfarms, eh?
the self-talkings-to and
reasonless leers at passers-by
should (must!) be on a ward
someplace instead of here?

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