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from City of Language

John McAuley

. . .

The saga ends but for my stalling it?
Read Duffy’s “Poetry is an enigmatic force of hatred”
Thus the muse cuts off heads
What did you do this summer?

Lovely eyes on the metro
Pyramids of stairs, sidewalks, keys in my hand
I come heavily into your space
your timeless earthy soil
Are the arms of destiny growing?
This could be all wrong
I could be all wrong.


There was a train-wrecked circus
in my hometown during the twenties
elephants the size of locomotives, lions crazy for dogs
The milk wagon running for Pine Beach
passed the gingerbread swish of the piers
Now the traffic engineers go to behavioural school
and little sails along wisdom’s rails.


Dear sleeping princess how I miss you
I am still the Prince of Kissing, I’ve got love breath
I am not a mere artifact of passion.
Please do be kind I come from a crazy, solitary kingdom
where every birthday is celebrated under a full moon.
I have reflected on my bare & autonomic youth
& my lockstep boredom to reduce that numbness & fixity
I must give: Let Garbo find Borgart
Let everyone named Humphrey find love.

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