White Scarves

 


Starting at the wrong end of everything, part of your translator's response. I guess. You have always made that distinction, stare me down with Dewey's mad eyes. Stay up for a week on coffee and stories. Playing like your very hair is on fire.

These fictions in any event, true life wandering at night through shelf upon shelf - the infinite stacks. Marshalling the natural forces like all men of the Library, I have traveled in my youth in search of a book perhaps the catalogue of catalogues A man changes. Gives away his ugly life, burns a pile of habits in a Kingsland garden. Indigo paper, japanese silk, all manner of observations. Acquiring credit. Honours his lover with a book of approximations, signing God's name beneath the almost title.
I open a door, throw rocks at the moon / wooden kimono. Passing out wolf tickets, headlights stapled to my chest. I have eaten strange food, french horse, timorese dog, monkey brain tonic in pagan. Placed the crisp wafer on doubting tongue.
People of the Book, alien arrivals, we are all heading for Hades. This reed hut on the edge of a sky shedding great ash flakes. A million martyrs marching wrapped in the white scarves of loss.

Moon on the edge of mountains, your head among rocks. Listen for the oars of swift long- boats the sky raining milk Naming places you will never see. Fathers and daughters. If there is a purpose you cannot see it. You cannot see it. The story of the path to god. Order of the White Scarf, act of contrition , a jar of oils brought back from pilgrimage. I have covered thirty-six countries married in the colour of mourning, gifted a short list of favourites.† From the simplest materials we share bodies. Nestle in the arm's warm crook, post saliva through the mail. Love, it feels like driving in the Mamakus through fierce winter storm without lights without wipers feathering feathering Godís brake pedal. You have it all backwards, living from one moment to the last. The poet waking from dead climbs from the wooden kimono, scratches his last poem off the hoodoo wallpaper. Calling God's name calling God names. Falls back hungover into unmade bed.

 

Brian Flaherty
Text/Credits
Turbine/Best NZ Poems