Poetry / February 2009 (Issue 6)

Two Poems

by Blair Reeve

Of Horologists & Jazzologists

Watchmaker Perrelet
  taps a balance cock
to lock down the movement.
 The pallet fork horns part
from the escape wheel and cog-click
 two tick-tocks of his heart.

Timekeeper Billy Cobham
  flicks a cymbal brush
–a hush like frozen breath
 with snare roll imminent–
one rimshot kickstarts his jazz rock
 to lock down the movement.

Breguet's perpetuelle
 spins in a pin-vice
precisely keeping time
 from dying, until death's
sprung coil unwinds in a rush 
a hush like frozen breath.

Hard bopper Art Blakey
  tightly syncopates
pulse rates and finger snaps
 then turns it on a dime
to polyrhythms tossed and spliced
 precisely keeping time.

John Harwood's self-winders
  are worn like bracelets
beset with jewels and studs.
 This complication caps
off his life's work and celebrates
 pulse rates and finger snaps.

Thelonious Monk frames
  time in stops and tricks
two tick-tocks of his heart
 with an improvised blood
of spurting valves and thumbs of debt
  beset with jewels and studs.

Periplaneta Maldiviana

When I woke, an onyx glimmered, or the creamy curtains shimmered
whether like mirage-blurred sand dunes or star-twinkle, hard to say,
but a mass (gross for its ilk) there, clutching to the fluted silk where
from the ceiling pours like milk here, now illumines clear as day,
for when I rose and crept up close, I could eye it clear as day;
                                                            my first thought - to get away!

Fearing not to fright but keeping both eyes on it, while my sleeping
bride lay breathing, flitting over dreams which woke me feeling fey;
there I stood stock still and wondered from what wrong it must have wandered,
paused upon this spot I pondered my repugnance on display,
its guilty bits - antennae, cerci, hairy legging on display;
                                                             I resolved to find a way.

So with hatred fully smitten, bloody-mindedness me bitten,
blind with instinct like a raptor circling high above its prey,
to the bathroom of the morning so as not to give it warning,
quietly I stifled yawning, caught out by the dreaming bay,
the halo-grey of greening dawn shilly-shallied on the bay;
                                                            such hues carried me away.

Shallow wave-washed sandbars melting deliquesced my spite in doubting
for a minute, then recoiled - darkling spark of startled day!
- entering the bedroom clenching fist and flannel, malice drenching
heart and mind to stop me blenching, found the thing I meant to slay,
this ill-shaped form that fouls our sweet surroundings, I mean to slay;
                                                             I'll do its foulness away.

Sure my faith could not disarm a deeper disrespect for karma,
stabbed my hand forward like a beak and snatched the bug without delay;
through the cloth I felt it wriggle, twitchy legs and body jiggle
causing an annoying niggle; - that to kill a bird this way
would turn the hearts of moral men, but to kill a bug this way
                                                             is trivialized away.

"Squirming thing, I want to still you, but can't bring myself to kill you"
so I squeezed and lightly wrecked it, wanting still to make it pay;
threw it out onto the jetty, sat myself upon the settee
puzzling over why some petty qualm had brought me light dismay,
and there it curled its half-mashed case into a ball of deep dismay;
                                                             the sea can take it away.

Bug then rolled into the cleating of the planks beneath the seating
under which my wooden conscience dragged upon the ocean sway;
waves licked up a wooden pile as the sun spun on its dial
rising over Cocoa Isle, cruelly burning up the day,
and though I stayed beneath that sun, cruelly burning up the day,
                                                            I could not resolve a way.

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