From the Archives: the curtains

This is possibly one of my oldest unpublished poems, probably dating from around 1992. I remember showing it to a girl I was going out with in the late 1990s; she read it and then exclaimed “But what does it meeeeeaaannnnn???!” We broke up shortly after that.

											
                       
i		they are like mayan designs 
			and indian temples 
		calico made from central america's
			brooding twilight    an instrument 
		as still as crickets in jars or needlework                                  				
                        zig-zag stitches      stools 
		and the edges of summer 
			and shiny shut eyelids 
		all slippery grey and wet like 
			spiderwebs        dawnyellow and dank

			that is the curtains     that is 
		when they are shut
			that is not the eye 
		when the eye is open 
			that is something different
		reaching a blue hand 
			through therein lies 
		the rent in the cornea an
			itch one itches to be 
		curtains closed with the pent-up 
			ache of eczema 
		and your solution is: 
			don't scratch them s-
		
		always you state the achingly impossible!
			always you are carving a niche 
		like a river-log in my mouth
			my practical man from the back country	
		but when the eyes open and close 
			the shiny spiderweb 
		of film (remember 
			a blue hand) flickers      becomes 
		a salt-encrusted martini glass
			sand-blasted like the 
		windowpane you found restless 
			there in the ruins

		there in the ruins 
			that is the eye that is 
		when it is left open
			that is not the curtain
		the itch the ointment shuts 
			like central america's 
		brooding twilight...
			that is again the curtain closed 
		not the eye         at least 
			not the eye itself
		but the open curtains 
					     "you are not
			the veils of a painting 
		nor a bright sunlit day
			you are the open staring eye of my azi"

ii.				if i ever make a movie 
			the opening scene 
		will be a continuous slow-motion shot 
			which begins at the centre
				of a room whose motif is 
			central american
		the camera will move 			
			towards a glass window
				ever so slowly 
			until it presses against the pane 
		until the pressure is enough 
			for it to ever so gently 
				break it 
			and then continue on its way
		out through the fields 
			and across the river 
				finally coming to rest 
			near my azi 
				propped up dead on a stone 
		my azi draped in blood on a stone...

		the importance of eyes and curtains:
			the eye is the camera lens
		and the curtain is the eyelid 
			is the one thing that stops the camera  
		from seeing the window 
			but remember a blue 
		hand is the one thing 
			that makes the eye see 
		central america and its 
			brooding twilight when 
		all the eye can see 
			with the curtains open is the sky-
		light and the cage that your father 
			made for us    to trap those beautiful birds...

iii.		it follows that the second shot will portray 
			a solemn golden-eyed condor 
		captured and caged 
			at one end of a long 
		wind tunnel           the 
			camera
				 positioned at the other 
		behind a sheet of glass
			will record the release 
		of the condor from its cage 
			and its frenzied flight 
		to the light of freedom 
			camera     the hope 
		and the sickening impact 
			of its angel wings 
		and its breast 
			against the glass    sounds 
		of crickets and calico twilight edges...

		the importance of cages and cameras 
			it is frequently impossible
		to break the pane of glass
			that separates the curtains 
		from what it is the eye 
			knows is there 

		when finally the filming is done
			my blue hand quivers 
		on the arm's edge of sunset
			the smoking compartment 
		in the second class carriage 
			bores through the jungle     behind us 
		tranquil plumes   rock edges 
			mayan ruins glittering with rain
		like the sounds of elliot's bird 
			in its cage        disturbing what i thought 
		was death's inviolate peace 

			but when jenkins     his merciful wings 
				shunts open the suffocating window 
			o his great and merciful wings
		there's silence       and though 
			the company doth protest
				we breathe the doomed air 
			of azi's last summer 
		and finally 
			i myself take flight...

		you are neither windowsill 
			nor spider       marksman
		cameraman-    you        the delta 
			and your voice are whispering 
		insistently as curtains:
			“i'll come at twilight i'll 
		smash through the window for you	
			don't you believe 
		in the importance of condors?
			don't you lie beside me brooding 
		don't you lie beside me brooding” 
			when finally the window is gone

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