V Day

Karen Fletcher, Ocean Press karen at oceanbooks.com.au
Thu Feb 13 17:31:36 MST 2003

Inspired by Louis' posting of Nazim Hikmet's poem, I thought I'd post
another. Any association with a certain saint's day or festival of
consumerism is strongly denied. KF

Invoking my Muse

Suppose these lines
Were to try for her grin, being
Slightly ironic yet
Altogether serious, if you see
What I mean?

Suppose the dark times, of unmarked cars,
Of our half expecting an unwanted
Knock on the door.
A room which I enter and something is hurriedly
Shuffled away...

A pamphlet? An illegal pamphlet?
It might be because

I would like these lines to invoke
Suddenly from out of those times
With a certain facial expression
One eye closed to modulate the glare,
Her head sideways tilted, mouth wry,
The back of her forearm sweeps
Wisps away from her brow...

To be remembered in all this?

Partly, the light I've switched on, and
Partly: (SHIT MAN Jeremy, I almost thought you...)

Her grin.

Itchy with its
sound of crickets
this night could be
              anywhere (almost)

              - but it isn't

As the first watch warder
arrives in our passage

Two remote controlled doors opened
and clanged shut

Three manually operated grilles opened
and clanged shut

Five locks
            just the beginning
of what lies between us.

But my love
to be removed
jailed endorsed out banished
man from woman is

After all
nothing unusual in this

Our country, in these times
in this night full of crickets
when to say plainly:

                'I love you'

is also
a small act
of solidarity with all the others.

Tonight is an envelope
Into which I climb, sliding between its folds
The letter I, flesh made paper
Turning in half, then again
                     sleeplessly over
Never more than 500 words
One letter per month quota, I take
Three weeks at least to arrive.
After their reckoning of words, after the censors,
After the ink-check, code-check, comes
A rubber stamping.
Tonight is this envelope into which I slide
As the self-same letter formed on my tongue
My tongue turned into paper - tonight perhaps
Taking off as no more than 500 words
In a bat of the lids, it's just
Possible to consider me as flying at last
As three week old words, behind the inside flap's
Touch to reach you.

Jeremy Cronin, Pretoria

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