The Year of the Kiln Portraits (audio only)
Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.
A gapped circle of colonies
each staring at the ocean
through a glass plaid of imports.
Inland lies the still uncrowded
heartland once of steamboats and drawl,
now half desert, half freshwater province.
There the Murray descends its seven thousand
feet off the Pilot, zigzags over the plains,
forest and furrow, towards an outfall wash.
Shallow rivers connect to this one, or slant north
where the dragon Ceratodus grunts in ivory mail
and streets are shaded in peppercorn and willow.
Fume-glossed, unbearably shrill, this car is dilated with a glaze that will vanish before standstill— and here's the youth swimming in space above his whiplash motorcycle: quadriplegia shows him its propped face— after, he begged video scenes not display his soaking jeans, urine that leathers would have hidden and the drag cars have engines on their engines.
In the World language, sometimes called Airport Road, a thinks balloon with a gondola under it is a symbol for speculation. Thumbs down to ear and tongue: World can be written and read, even painted but not spoken. People use their own words. Latin letters are in it for names, for e.g. OK and H2SO4, for musical notes, but mostly it's diagrams: skirt-figure, trousered figure have escaped their toilet doors.