new zealand electronic poetry centre


Janet Charman

online works

red letter

(something terrible happens in the Russian film
but life goes on)

this is the hostel
where she is neatening her room
and receives my letter
containing something unspeakable

The Bomb in the poem
                                   as soon as it was posted
                                   i was ashamed
                                   but itís too late now
as she reads
a parcel of light
appears on the ceiling
a hologram
                 that means this is a lazy morning
                 towards the opening night of winter
                 natural neon to entice us into the
a bee flies out the window
as if it knows where itís going
and she turns the page
to find the words that leave her shaking

the detonation

                     do you want to hear this?
                     but itís in Russian
                     no subtitles
                     you wonít understand
                     anyway she doesnít speak here

                     think of the letter you got
her lover is dead to her or sheís pregnant
or her mother says that she is selfish or
the parole board refuse her application

supply your own

now she is putting her uniform on
with a lot of lipstick
as if her mouth were slashed

which it is

and leaves for her shift

the hologram remains
for hours in real life
changing on the ceiling as the sun moves

long after weíve gone


© Janet Charman

Last updated 11 May 2001