[…]


Oscar Schwartz

Three Poems

Ode to Walt Whitman

I celebrate my dandruff

This is not facetious

I give thanks to my scalp

I give thanks to my dandruff

I give thanks to the torrents of black stuff on my head

And the white flakes that ride them

In my thick hair they are delegates whom I praise

I praise the small dusty flakes in the dim light of dining halls

I praise the nourishing chunks that collapse on the page as I read

I praise the gnarled nuggets I prise off with long fingernails – it is the

Pleasure of every man and woman to remove the removable from the body –

Praise to my luck: I do it hourly!

My coat’s shoulder pads, my reading desk, my car’s head-rest, my lover’s
morning lashes, the keyboard and the mouse, the treadmill and the park,
pedestrians and lunch-eaters, the black-jack table and the library lamp, the
summer wind and the winter wind, the swimming pool and the ocean

All ennobled by the multiplicity of my skin and the charity of my scalp

Without reductive notes of sarcasm I praise my dandruff

Why?

It’s there.

To All Gone To Look For

Duets between the neatly folded and packed away

And that which is simply packed away

Are duets beyond good and evil

The duet between eating steamed crab on the wharf

Cooling your fat jowls in the pacific beneath the pier

And describing the crab experience as one beyond

Good and evil describing the pier

As at once repulsive and alluring

Like a burger you say

Or like this whole country

Especially like this bridge

A bridge of nylon limestone

A bridge that fires bowling alley red

A bridge held up through the arse of a windshield

And when viewed through a pop song

A bridge that flows like an ocean

Over an ocean that is built like a bridge

The bridge an analogy for the transitory, the random

The ocean an analogy for the unfolded sock

The bridge impervious to satire

The ocean an election campaign or a fast-food-chain-names

The best being Carlos Jnr, or Fat Burger

Which, like a bridge, are vastly motherly givers

Unlike the ocean or troubled water

Serving breakfast to the cliffs until 11am

Do you imply that this is simply a stretch of water between

Hearst Castle and the famous pie shop en route

To San Fran – The pies beyond description

A Billion of Everything

In a galaxy of obscene cities
there is Kafka
becoming and thinking
a multiplicity worth visiting

                     For instance , he thinks

That power-line is not my sister
           but there is a gas-plant of sisters
           their hadal eyes gazing at super
           markets

That town sign is not a sock
           but there is a map of unpaired
           socks , those reversible receptacles
           those doubly articulated toe-breakers

That field is not a horn
           but there is a spring field of tiny
           horns , a wriggling magnitude of
           winding sirens

That road is not an eye
           but there is a freeway of contact
           lenses trembling , forensic as the
           trucks approach

That mountain is not a singlet
           but there is a valley of singlets
           reminiscent of the first touch
           of unisex

That rock is not a spine
           but there is a quarry of spines
           crushed in the absence of
           hardhats

That book is not a urinal
           but there is a library of urinals
           where beauty and tact are dealt
           in equal measure

That dollar coin is not a verminous rabbit
           but there is an economy of rabbits
           starving like a vineyard of forgotten
           businessmen

That tricep is not a Mozart
(it isn’t even a dance craze)
           but there is an anatomy of Mozarts
           giggling , zig-zagging , getting stoned
           on their carrier beast

and just next to it
that soldier is not Dionne Warwick
           but there is a whole platoon of
           Dionnes , feeling the gallop of
           a hangover , marching impeccably
           to the taste of hurled aftershave

and that cross is not Batman
           but there is a church of Batmans
           f’ing cool , dark and rich

That ice cube is not a saint
           but there is a glacier of saints
           their false capes hollering under
           an immovable roof

That sick boy is not a billboard
           but there is a virus of billboards
           sweeping through our sports fields
           promoting cattle-filled pies

That rumble is not applause
           but there is a thunder storm
           of left hands clapping across
           the pacific (the right ones held up in / gift shops across Hawai’i)

In the cool 4am moonlight
Kafka is peering out over the passing freighter
           but the train-track is not an open wound
           but an entire logistics of scars
           pink and trembling with the horror
           of transport

And that hill over there is not his black hair
           but a valley of the stuff
           matted , flowing , thinning

And that apple tree over there , to the
South , that apple tree is not a dung beetle
           but an orchard of dung beetles
           all sentient and confused

Kafka walks South , descending the plateau
           From a distance you can see him climb
           the fence of the orchard , sit down
           and very rapidly , almost imperceptibly

           take his place in the crawling multiplicity
           of his kind.


 

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