blackmail press 35
Richard Taylor
New Zealand

Taipari O Maraea - Penny Howard
Bn. 1948.Various work. Published in Mate in 1970 then nothing till the 90s. The published (inter alia) in Pandar, Pica* (Chicago), Poetry NZ, Brief and online in Jacket2. Has an ongoing art-lit project (a kind of confused and gigantic "poem") on a Blog called EYELIGHT
Lives in Auckland where he struggles to paint his ailing house and curb his absurd obsessions with books and chess.
My Voyeur

Trapped   inside   a  poem,  or an  idea,  we climb inside or outside the
room, or  slam   shut   the  illumined book,  unfinished,   splatting  the
answers,   and,   it,  which  if   then  opened,   the   insect-logic-smear
shape will be there  -    still  not  death    –   still  only  wasness,  seen,
we think.  So we must read on and on and on and away from the real,
not   partaking -  in fact -  must   rapidly  passage  the  passages,  and
the  diagrams  of  things,  the ovoids, and the unreal sexual,  pushing
us  out and into  and  beside  and  dragging  changing  us back in;  to
become  the  ideas,   ourselves,   the  story  never  being  been  told  -
she,   the   lustre    one,   beautifully  delicate   as   a   smudge — yet
inviolable,   for  if  savagely  Philomelled,  death would be die,   we
know  we  read,   as  in  sexasm,  nightingaled: so we trudge out past
the   pillars   and    the   metaphysics  of  yes   no  yes  no  yes, until,
limply,  we either  back  creep  or  creep  back: consummation  being
destruction,  the  story  expelling  us — the shuddering  now  telling
the  not-Truth  into  a  shrinking  phallus, or  something  or rather of
that   ilk  -  you  know —  like  a, like  a...a   molecule  in  a mass, A
Mass. A Mass,  whose  very  Oblivion, destroyed  into  light  is.... A
Mass, sung, how we wereare not here or there, wobbling further and
further into the possibility  of   something   beckoning,  moving  yet
not moving - the head detatched, the  body elsewhere, and,  like  the
loop   in   the   story,   told   ages,  and    that   calm   face,    convex,
motionless, beckoning, moving yet not moving, a molecule, massing:
it   all   so  nearly  almost   perfect  —   but   it   would   be   just   as
triumphant, or  futile,  to walk   inside   the   words.  The   loop,  the
Mass, the claritas: we open  the  book,  we  shut  the  book,  it  starts
again yet  ends. Yet  it  urges  you  on, this fatal  command  to know
and  disobey, you,  yourself,  who are not you.

My Hand

I study it, suddenly aware.
It has been with me so long, and yet
I seem not to know it.

          Is it mine? I look at the brown, flesh-folding back
of this five-thing; this murder-thing; this love-thing.
         It, as old as I and older, has served me and saved me;
         in thousands and thousands  of days and ways, and it –
it moves!  It is. It is and is of – me.   So much me
that I forget the miracle of it.

I should know this fold the back my hand – and yet
it is not like anything.

          Looking closer it expands to a land:
  a strange land, a weird living world: this five-ridged land – spreading
           reaching rolling and roving back through all millennia:
So flexuous, so seeming to erupt: its valleys, rivers, fields, cities, plains;
and mountain spurs –

Unfolding the palm, the Central Plain, I note the ‘prints’ – I had forgotten
         them; the birth-uniqueness of them – and
the cross-crissing crevices; unreadable, inexplicable; 
         in this foetal Carravaggio light-dark I study it:
        “Hullo hand,” I hear said: “It has been so long, how are you?”
            and as I greet it
                       and as I curl it in
                       I see that it is
                       as animal
                       as I am – yet
                       as ‘spiritual’, and as alien and
                       as deep
                       with its own secret:

its savage, Coleridgean chasms, echoes, stones, rivers, and its
muscle-bound bones.

For have we resolved ‘the Thing itself’ –
Is this not Edgar curled in the primal, dark, and hopeless mud?
        “What muddy man is that?!” Indeed, what Thing?

        We have forgotten you, Hand. You are us, we live, and you work,
        miraculous machine, by secret device of signals; marvelously you
touch and turn. You have touched, have Been, have
felt flesh or flower or soil: have plunged in cool water:
been cut, bled, scalded, crushed: held pens or pails or bolts, or
made switches switch – or, caressed other hands, cheeks, brows. Touched
in seeming blindness out to a loved one’s face…

And, as now I turn it in to show the five fingernail faces:
(these now so strange beings – praying –
  these Moon Men –

they feel silently me to accuse of what I know not:
of what I have or have not done: or, what I, indeed, have, or
could have been;  and yet these finical fingernail Face Heads
do not judge…

It is I who lurch at the thought of the years of this, my
Infinite Hand: and our end too, our finale
and the sad lost love
and the cry that Nothing ever move again:

Yet. We celebrate its Huge Life, its flawed, fatal, living Machine:
this death excretion, this this  - this queer screwed Quirk of life,
this twist of stuff: this instrumental Devil-God.

Yet this five-thing, so unknown, so near dead – is so alive!
So alive and so silent beyond accusation or even time itself;
and yet so aware, in its own way, this Familiar; this alien and
all too knowing Thing! Ach!

It shows: it points the way to death.

My Child my child – My Child Hand! – my Bairn, my Child Time –
My mother, my father, my –

And this miraculous of you and me – of we who live:
This Thing, this seeming endless moving Thing –
This mortal miracle, Fanny, You –
Spurned  - You –
This living, moving, throbbing –  This –

The wild, lost years.