‘With a seriousness
that can only be
described as British





Today Its Name is Legion

Carnivorous as though
there were no
cavernous way through
if the shown were found

they’d shun it. They
and I do mean they
have no sense of irony.
If the Met Office
calls it disaster
metaphysics answers
no matter what
by balloon count ago

is that it? Cankerous is
as cantankerous was
as if to say Yesterday
the barricade
Tomorrow the barcode.
Two of a kind is no
better and no worse
than an umpteen
difference even if signed
and since so many
words are easier to
type than to say
when I looked back

the empty was still there.
Some rust to a fault
but quite as if the final
figure meant it first.


Ars Poetica:
The Tennis Court Oath


‘Some smudges
on the front
and back cover
of these reflections
on how
we see the world.’
‘Minor silverfish
holes on
front edge.’


‘The day of the week will not save you’
between 2 and 3 p.m. on the last
once signed
verses in a manner of speaking.
Top up your pond. Talk to your neighbour
Try numbers instead.
Count how many buckets of rain you can collect
once upon upon from a gutter the boys said
As to yourself
Remember that Numbers
used to mean Verses and that
day of August (repeat)
once forgotten they’d made shipshape.


A similar wiped
but smaller biped
sw. shuddering
o/w a nice crisp copy
w/ owner’s
signature & date.


From the first there was too much green
but there was also white. Milady’s
malady appeared to consist in believing
all the failed ones were fooled
and if transparent transplanted.
Another spot of green makes more than too much
and then there is the sea. As the violet glow
spread on Mount Hymettus (page 38)
Socrates at last drank the hemlock. Encomiums
tend to arrive like false economies
in twos and threes but not before
someone writes ‘place’ and means ‘palace’.
There is some yellow also but
generally speaking the green is excessive.


If a verb crash-lands at the end of a question
is it German? ‘Not I’ says the verb ‘I’m Latin
with household gods you’d kill yourself to own.
Do you love me? I’m yours. Take me home.’


Groan’s got by mixing glue and hello.
What does the deaf monkey think he heard?
Are those ellipses spoiling for a fight?
Dust an omen down. Welcome to Yorkshire
the home of parataxis. After page 64
the reader is advised
to put his flying helmet on and best goggles.


The poem considered as a body-snatcher
confirms it is English despite the French accent.
Gangs half on the hangway in the absence of adverbs
East Anglia’s always been a puzzle.
At this distance (page 81 and still rising)
the green’s disappeared
did someone bleach the lawn? He’d check
on the graph but he left it in one or another
‘unintentional village’. Such a sudden guest
it’s either a novel or an unnamed inflection.



As collective
nouns go
‘a subordination
of lovers’

isn’t bad. But
who knows when
if the kissing
had to stop

(Time is short
Wyatt – did or didn’t
he think time would reinvent

him? – that the 21st century would hide
behind saying Let’s
not forget
how his darling died)

or if and when
the gist of such
a matter could be said to
have been got across?


Ars Poetica

Remember Vitruvius
convinced that grotesques
don’t & never did exist

Imagine the grief
when for his eyes only
one performed an arabesque

alanhalsey's books include The Text of Shelley's Death (West House reprint 2001), Marginalien, a collection of poetry, prose & graphics 1988-2004 (Five Seasons 2005) and a selected poems, Not Everything Remotely (Salt 2006). He and David Annwn have recently published their account of The Last Hunting of the Lizopard (West House 2007).
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