The Rules of the Kitchen

Vol XILX, Infinity Pool



you aren't thinking clearly as you enter the bank
on the day leslie nielson dies
the coldest december 'in living memory'
mark's badge reads
'have a good time all the time'
maybe you should think about getting a motto
maybe you should think about painting the fridge blue again
maybe then you'd feel less like the shape of a person
suggested by the fall of light on a bookcase
you find you're thinking a lot about your friend the monk
who won't share with you his secret
to be sure he is a very complex gentleman
but hardly deep even if he can burn leaves
with nothing but the power of his mind [link]
he is a remorseless self-publicist
maybe that's his secret
or his secret is he doesn't have one
he claims to remember where he buried
a live beetle in a matchbox
but afflicted as you are with awful memories
you're not sure you believe him
filling out the paying-in slip is difficult
maybe you should stop growing your fingernails
"shhh" he went this morning
pretending to be listening




The sort of really attractive junky sitting
on the wall by the Magdalen Street
drop-in centre who said I looked
4-dimensional and asked me
to dance in the gorgeous
level light of 5.45




okay what if I tell you
I am writing this in 1989
opposite the Taj Mahal
as large ferns shade my diary
with their wingprints and actors
screaming "this isn't a movie"
are defenestrated you can't trust it
knowing something of the world
it's like the lights are out
and you must listen to my voice
tasting the grey coffee in it
my real name is not decided
and signs me as your co-star
okay stay still a minute
let's see what's really *here*
looking almost invisible
between the windows
not forgiven by your focus
nor giving away a face
to anything that's real or fake
but in this long 'room' somewhere
like a roofless carriage on a train
you can see the trees and lanterns
at the stations speeding overhead
in this long room blown with sun
our feelings are waiting for each other
okay I've stepped into the next one
to say goodbye and even if
you've seen it before to describe
to you its sources of light.




unlike the poems onto which you could plot
a graph of improvement each one a little
more than the last & still there's room
to get even better to keep inching
away from those atavistic
mutants that spawned
a whole species
you took clippings
from their handsomest
sons same way they bred
bananas from genetic fuck-ups
& were able to present ever better
bananas have you noticed they never
have those black seeds in anymore the last
banana is glowing in the centre of your perfect
poem & the problem with it isn't the one of
preserving your origins in dusty drawers
but that it'll be impossible to conceal
all those times you didn't survive
every wrong turn you took
to stamp out your steps




But for once, I was in control.
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Lawd do you watch the moon on that hoe.




this is what you couldn't shake
in the basement's earthy dark
your long hair hangs
like a death rocker's your
dirty sneakers swing & even
if it isn't true in the strong light
outside I picture a tree
the quiet held in its branches
its shape shot through hundreds
of windows of which you
dropped between dry rafters
still smelling of summer
are nothing but a root




and something else happens
a few people who come across my work think
I am in fact a girl I know I really
don't know how it happened well
I started to think what if this idea
was widespread & I did as it happens
from a sense of mischief
think of entering the myslexia comp 1 year
how would I account for this my
presence/appearance at readings
awards ceremonies etc
would I pretend I had a wife
that we shared both names it's possible right
I'd read a speech prepared by her
tonight it would go something
like "I'd almost given up then I thought
how crushed I'd be
if anyone gave up all those beautiful poems
written off so I stopped pretending
to write poems it's like
everyone simultaneously stops
pretending they are deep or anything
& for that I must excruciate
and thank this guy I take you
as my wholly openended subject to have
and to hold there is no separation
you can't be unselfconscious
about doing anything so generous
till death do us part you'll accept
on my behalf the prize"





a face becomes more beautiful
as it says it doesn't want to be with you
the cemetery has trees like the memory of fires
this isn't really *like* anything actually sorry
there's the rest of the year to think about it
to become trees or fires or whatever they are
we documented the whole thing remember
that's what we were doing or didn't you notice
I don't want to know which of us wrote it
it's like asking who engraved the gravestones
you're literary why don't you *read* them
guess I can't believe anyone'd want to keep
every note & I thought I would be glad
you called but I'm kind of not




a student talking showing off about a poem he wrote
for his poetry module about a man who covers
things in post-it notes which apparently his
tutor found 'refreshing' reminds me of
when the artist simon newby had
taken acid & used post-it notes
to label all the objects in the kitchen
he ran into difficulties when he came to
actual post-it notes each sheet in the morning
covered with very neat microscopic script expanding
many possible uses of these semi-adhesive labels
interesting I just found out post-it notes have
never had an advertising slogan but are
encompassed it would seem finally
by their brand its pertinence
has if anything increased I wonder
now how close the student's poem was
and if he'll have any other ideas