new zealand electronic poetry centre

Michael Harlow

online works

Apollinaire’s Bandage

The photographs we thumb:
Not that flat habit of revelation
But the lost shadows of the sun.
That square, squat jaw
Like a ‘loaf of bread’
Or pelican’s pouch.

A fine lust at table, you sprawl
Through evenings of talk; such
Revels of conversation, swarming
Into the air your words the persistent
Imaginal, and a whirlwind.

Poet and Polish gentleman:
Nights around the town, unruffled
In your China-ink cravate and gold watch,
Dans la loge d’un ambassadeur ,
During the performance tossed off
By a splendid pale and young lady.

Guilhaume, soldat dévoue
Beaten finally from the trenches;
In your skull the opening
Of a ‘window’ to ease the pressure.
And yes – that white, wreathe –
Bandage: sign of the long passionate

Returning now, your voice
Slipped into place on this disc
From Paris; you are talking
Underwater in the Antipodes.
Talking curves we know into Zone,
You recover the deep way
We are driven to speak – holding open
The gates to the future with a word;
Knowing how it is, waiting
On the darker side for a direct
Line to lesser gods.

From Giotto’s Elephant (John McIndoe, 1991)
Michael Harlow

Last updated 24 March, 2005