:: Article


By Nia Davies.

for your [plural] continued behaviour as if you could not be desecrated*

the never-tired
the awl and the auger
leather pressed through until the light showed
and continued behaviour that
tastes like lighter fluid
as if not you were not overly sleepless
as if not fortunate and symbolic
as if you could not be desecrated
like all of us other
sacreds, jumping for proper money,
able to read signs that tell what us what indeed
the penury should be like
we don’t have a lens through which to view our behaviour as others see it
we just have to IMAGINE
and then the good king wenceslas
looked out and i dreamt that man flirted with me till he fell over drunk
and i slunk away, skittered in the pool of surplus shiraz,
burnt in the wicker basket set up for such things
i had another hand to hand just waiting in my pocket
but now i have frequent ball aches without the balls to speak of
and such a lot of dripping drool over tooth and gum
gutted i can’t be with you tonight darling
for your awl and augur and your continued behaviours
the purse is empty again, look i took the name of you in vain
dear god look upon me kindly with your unknowable unsubstantial
unverifiable looks
and your hot sauce
bring this desecration back to life

* Megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért (Hungarian)

also for those who have turned like counterrevolutionaries *

also for those best pleased
with a monicker
a halo uncertain
also in the grave
taste of salsify
a chip off the old collectivised
splitters gurning
on white cream
each wrote a poem entitled ‘dad’
carry on childish
a primer
claddings etc
you err on the err
scale of ten to one
scale of [sic]
and wonder, don’t wonder

*გაკონტრრევოლუციონერებულებისნაირებისათვისაც (Georgian)

for those who were repeatedly unable to pick enough of small wood-sorrels in the past*

for those of us repeatedly amiss
for those with ears on fire and
then the heat of the hands-out begging bowl night
in the past we used ourselves knottily
and burnished overcompensating
bureau-speak, safe-hands in the monetary shallows
we go unchallenged inourselves we forget to look
into those begging bowls deep enough
then again the waning collective appetite for sorrel,
for early-in-the-year green vegetable mass,
hasn’t calmed your brutal fish hook hands
and a surplus of mud is also there
we took to asking for burnt greens but not clearly enough
we got samphire and honey and a terrible hurt
it’s just one way to be amiss in this world,
those of us hapless but with enough wood sorrel
did know this once, with our pickings mealy and mouth-eyed,
we’d be trying to clear woodland hurdles and sun-ache
we’d try to be small enough to smell it

*nebeprisikiškiakopūsteliaudavusiems (Lithuanian)

to the least able to be making less understandable*

it would be telling to here make an observation about being understandable
not understandably hurt or upset
not a sentence where you can insert your sympathy easily
he was understandably tempted
she was rightly pissed off
etc etc
to tell you about making myself understandable would take several lines of FLAT
prosaic twoddle like some of what you will encounter here
communication is not the aim of poetry
poetry is not the aim of communication
it gets in the way though somehow doesn’t it?
happy morning, said the clock
this is all just guess-work, said the sandfly
i didn’t make a mess of myself for this
i had to ask her – what is the aim?
what is the objective?
to communicate of course
i said i know that, i meant what is the communicated thing?
what are you trying to say?
she said well the essential thing about us
is something we can’t really reveal to the public
so it has to be put into a very niche category
and they don’t understand that
so it’s best just to make something up
at the very least i said
but we have to get it right she said
at the very least you should just put your best foot forward
i said, into the vague
into the vague way we speak to one another
there is probably only one or two friends
i will communicate this to anyway
i said, speak clearly, i said
pay attention, what is it you are getting at?
i don’t understand,
why then, if you so say,
are you not at least able to put some language
into some order and say it out loud?

*nejneznesrozumitelňovávatelnějšímu (Czech)

Nia Davies‘s pamphlet Then Spree came out from Salt in 2012. In 2014 she took over the editorship of the quarterly magazine Poetry Wales. She also works on the international literature initiatives Literature Across Frontiers and Wales Literature Exchange. Her work has been published and translated widely.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, December 21st, 2014.