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Author: david-prater

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  • 7/31/2019 Abendland (2nd edition)


  • 7/31/2019 Abendland (2nd edition)




  • 7/31/2019 Abendland (2nd edition)



    The poems in this collection were written between July and August 2005.Walt Whitman Service Area was first published in The Age. 18 Fields and

    The Two Faces of Zlatyu Boyadziev were first published inMirage #4/Period[ical].Drer: Innsbruck 2005 first appeared in Cordite Poetry Review.

    Thank you Katie, Liam, Keiji and Andrea.

    Cover image: Zmajski most, Ljubljana (2005), by the author.

    1st edition (2006)

    2nd edition (2012)

    2012 David Prater


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  • 7/31/2019 Abendland (2nd edition)


    for Sarah

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    Ira Caplans sonic squall ripsNew Yorks fourth of July gullsfrom the captivities of silencelike a chainsaw down a boughof glass, or chalk on yesterdayspavement. A soul possessed bydemons determined to explode.Indices Richter-scale on Jerseys

    fret board: blinding sounds eruptthen ribbon outdangling notesalong the blue-green themes ina park for homeless evangelists.Shredding civic programmes deepin the feedback dream (bloominginto atonal squiggles of soundan express blast of manhole heat),peace bombs dropped on Americaheave in a swollen thrashed loop

    of pure non-violence & entropy,each firework of snarls & stripestearing the sky a new arsehole.

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    I sing the throbbing pains ofyour great nations bad coffee!Hot plates keeping the entropywarm. Out along the turnpike

    your name is dissected by themoon-like stares of motorists.Stupefied in the concrete glare,

    I sing the car electric! May it

    render your oil wars useless!Though to be truthful, Walt,these you never did envisage.May the worn hands of peace

    close together over industries!Radios play The Turnpike Down.Rock us into that gentle sleep

    in each of our final rest areas.

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    Not the tree but the man.Not the fire but the boys.Not the emergency plan.Not the silence nor noise.

    But the swan or the glass.But the time or the dream.

    But the elegant trespass.But the wings and the stream.

    And the wind not the boat.And the blood not the bay.And the soundless float.And the voice but the day.

    Or the nail nor the wishes.Or the tray but the ball.

    Or the unwashed dishes.Or the men but the all.

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    Nor the key and the woman.Nor the girl and the moon.Nor the blindingly human.Nor the shard for the tune.

    And the hill for the crescent.And the pond for the scale.

    And the continuous present.And the smile save the Braille.

    In the table save billows.In the mirror save clouds.In the triumphant pillows.In the bib its the shroud.

    Its the same now the ebbing.Its the time now the most.

    Its the estuarine webbing.Its the girl and the ghost.

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    18 FIELDS

    18 fields (sites, battlegrounds)17 banners (standards, uniforms)16 bands (spartan, militaristic)15 ribbons (loose, fluttering)14 sashes (bright, coloured)13 clouds (grey, foreboding)12 drums (clipped, regimental)

    11 fires (effigies, crackers)10 rows (deep, breasted)9 steps (slippery, barnacled)8 hours (waiting, working)7 days (blessed, counting)6 rounds (fired, targetted)5 friends (rioting, missing)4 slogans (graffitied, shouting)3 leaders (inspired, pathological)2 winds (changing, dying)

    1 blow (kingdoms, coming)

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    Who will give colour to Joe Saccosblack & white cartoons of Goradesafe haven& who will go thereis it needed are the people safe?

    When will the mist shrouds onthe mountains give up their secrets

    these criminals, those war dead &wearywhich daughters, sons?

    How are we to read the inverseBraille of bullet-studded buildingsriverside mosques that pierce the skythe river itself a great onward flow?

    What happened to the generatorsthe flywheels paddle steamers hydro-

    power creators that fed the peoplejuice to watch war movies in the dark?

    & where do you go Joe Sacco in yourdreamsis it black & white or docolours invade that paper-thin canvas& bleed the edges of your stolen sleep?

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    you dispense with direct emotion/experience & become the secondperson the observerits saferhere you see & as for your readerwell shes gone her own way shellmeet you later in the old townfor now be content to sit & watch

    as tourists wait impatiently fortheir boat to arrive a three islandcruise you supposeits late & theharried salesgirl repeats in threeor four languagesone more hourseven more minutes five more nowthen someone challenges her inItalianthat was ten minutes ago!

    she raises her hand as if to hit

    the sky & the Frenchman looks athis wifeat his command she riseshe flashes his ticket at the browngirl & demands the expectedarefund & while shes off to fetch ityou see the look on the womansface & sensing a small part of yourself there you close your eyes to theAdriatic sunshine & for that momentof shame you cry & you want to die

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    crystal: dignitary portraitshis men clean-shaven the womenstern children on sleds if youremember rightly panoramas

    of coal mine towns silly dogschins pointing to the futurethe sungold haloes spiritswith whiskers window frames ...


    crumpled: just out of bed

    or home from a long night ofdrinking all traces of artificestripped away peasant lovesmore silly dogs the omnipresentminarets Bulgarian eternitieslifeless eyes trembling brushesa grandmother in every canvas ...

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    MIT GAS!

    could you be flirting with me (tiny periwinkle of a trip-hopsoundtrack? was that a smile (pretty vacuous air bubble atthe bottom of my glass? come here & slide down my throat(abstract freckle of a thirst quencher hobo of the backwashpast (reboot the soda stream of our invisible passions (poetof the cafe bar menu (lifeguard of the frozen bottle (removeyourself from this moment (stolen password of my internet

    identities (echo chamber of that dream lovers rehearsalsrefill this loneliness (unbranded apple flavoured cinnamondoughnut of a daydream (me wearing sunglasses (crucialsunshade of a postcard meeting (intern of hotel romancerschange my channel (aqua blue invisible shapeless nomadsof my early morning coffee headband greeting (effervescemy face (pigtail non-plussed crude translation of a mineral(once more mit gas (repeat mit gas (kiss your aerated body(pump the spray (ignite the liquid gel of these silhouettedtraces in the neverending (nitrous of our emissary specks!

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    she emerges from the bobble-cordoned bathing areawith her pigtails wet & sticking out like unicorn hornsfrom the back of her headinstantly shes a girl againthe shining happy memory of herself as a swimmer adancer & singer all at once like a sea monkey queenreacting with water swirled & sequined in the jar forall to seeive been reading too much Murakami not

    to understand what does drive the mind growing oldwhat cues the eye interprets as summer holidays:chipped nail polish lines of a different bikini beneaththe new pair we stretched our legs on a gaudy beachtowel airport novel open at a random page left therelike the roof of a Swiss house sometimes i forget thati cant speak Japanese & this books just a translationits Americanisms irritating as the endless parade ofParis Hilton stunt doubles along the beachvacuousstares hidden from view by designer fly or wasp sun-

    glasses they couldnt ever hold a candle to this girlin pigtails emerging like reality TV from the water

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    a silent cartoon wandersthe non-descript chausseeover bridges it casts itschisel comic-book shadowsilluminated by a passingpolicemans truncheon lightas air; that withered stareturns flowerboxes to stonesor the dogs to barking fruitstalls there in the internetcafe glare Baudelaire callsBurundi for twelve centsresenting the booths semi-privacy (one hand in pocketjiggling ... hear the retortof someones little gun (asthough hes not there & the

    women are all black now inthis frame; thought bubblescrammed with grammaticalmarks suggesting curses inparlour rooms or else thatunbearable harpsichord &he sees in this zone betweenfalling empires the rest of hisdays collapse like a cloak ona corpse (Nina Simone sings

    run tothe river (to the rock

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    bad boy scouts wearing redbandannas & hiking boots prowlthe outdoor bars bringing alpineairs to Ljubljanai wont beclimbing the steps to the castlewont conquer whats not eventhere (the view the haze) instead

    ill walk around photographingpink buildings for you ... do youremember that cold afternoon atScheherazade after the Mallarmgig? i can see why you liked ithere where the boys ride bicycles& sit by the river smoking longwhites joints& sparrows bumcigarettes from strangers fora larki missed Primoz by two

    weeks but theres poetry here inthe inventiveness of the streetperformers or the flowers on thecobblers bridge ... i know thatsomewhere here theres a boy youonce loved if even for that oneshort visitits summer & allthe pastels aglow despite thecrumbling flaking skins i canhear you & only wish these fewphotographs could capture theiraudible declinethe boys whosehair alone makes me feel so mucholder so much younger than eventhis breathless poem ever could

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    the hands that made the handsthen passed her to the second setthe hands that plucked the humanhairs & threaded them into a wighands sewing on the yellow jacketpassed then to unknown hands thatgave her eyes to see herself mouth

    to breathe in cotton hands to holdher head in until she fell asleep two hands that made her cheekspink in case she was called uponto blush the hands that filled herbelly full of sptzle or gruel handsthat kept her upright while theysewed her shoes into place & lefther there wobbling but alive alonebut made of human hands of hair

    the skirt to hide her girlhood haircombed platted maybe dependingupon her mood then the hands thattransplanted the still-beating hand-made heart into her chest coveredbreasts & silken brain with whichKthy produces her first thought:

    their hands have stroked my arms& legs my dolls face into dreamsmy heart beats like a baby drum

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    the planes fly well overhead now& couples no longer dawdle downby the jetty where an old dinghyrises & falls on the fluke wavesof passing powerboats ... & thecicadas chorale across an emptybay old pipes protrude from the

    muddy shallows & the trees thoughblooming still billow untended &unloved (though the summer & thisgiant cross remain drifters areits only pilgrimssnorkellersscan the basin for discardedbikinis or martini glasses (theold wreck of a hotel still hopesfor a reunion with its past lovesthe storms at sunset or the mock

    evacuationsshells burstingunderfoot as the guys with theirminiature five string ukulelesserenade two lovers demolishinga lobster all gone to the greatfairground in the skypackedup like crates of beer bottles &shipped off to another islandor another beachside retreatnow i hear the choppers swinglow coming in for their dailysightseeing passdissectingsea mist like its cold cabbageinspecting abandoned futureslike so many real estate agents

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    Do not throw anything yet, Albrecht;It is dangerous as well to lean out!Customs examination of luggage:Important notice. In winter, steamMacht (Thomas Mann) mobil. Also ...Kinder unter 15 fahren gratis. YouHave no claims on the blue-green

    River waters flowing backwards toTrento. This is our Tiepolo. SeeGerhard Richter (193 to 13122005)Run. Informazioni per il Viaggio:The most brilliant SF mind on anyPlanet (Rolling Stone). Read morePenguins online. With an introductionBy Venezia, S. Lucia. Penalties forImproper use. Plus Blake Morris onThe lost art of editing. One Saturday

    Poem by David ... the art of hint. (5)

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    there was no need to be toldof the Jewish custom wherebyrocks are placed near gravesinstead of flowers (e.g. lilies

    in the place of the barrackswe found an ocean of stones

    larger than a fist smallerthan a childs head just big

    enough to force one to walkmore slowly than normal & tothink with each step abouta person who has passed on

    nothing is expected of usexcept understanding (& an

    opening towards knowledgelike the burgers of Dachau

    whom American troops forcedto march through these gaschambers saying look! lookthis happened in your town

    rocks grow in every countrythis world is filled withgravesone day they willreturn us to the rivers &

    smooth our sharp edges overcenturies of soothing (easyfor me to say on windy daysi think of Anton Music who

    drew pictures of his livinghell in charcoal & who isknown today as the Dachau

    artist born in Slovenia &

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    a student of fine arts in

    Venice arrested & sent hereonly for his talents to berediscovered its chilling

    but necessary to look uponhis ghost lines of tangledlimbs & to know his words:we are not the last ones

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    took a photograph of Sunday nightthen blew it all onto a wall in paintsomething stirs in the brittle lightabrupt denouement; studio soundserupt into white (the powers down)this wasnt scripted neither wereyour forearms shuddersclosing

    in on abstract stalks that make asilhouette in green a single figurewalks on your microscopic moonbut hes a fake the paintings doneon Corsica perhaps in a sun roomor alone at last in a private churchwhere guardrails keep the volk atbay or catalogue this desperatesilence that makes photorealisticsnow swept the candles gutted or

    a chair pushed back like a lockof black & white hair; poised foran ironic pose Jackie Onassis isbecoming bored reading newsprinton the freshly-plastered walls ...inside an album sleeve notes keeptheir peace; & revolutions occuron a momentary basis swinging onchandeliers borrowed from the cast(we all need to eat) in this essayat last the landscape is given itsdue & sleigh bells ring out likeBroadway tunes or stolen dogs &here finally stands Gerhard Richter

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    I hear Lady Vaders footsteps clang on the stainless steelgangway & look busy attending to my knobs & buttonsbut the force is so strong in this one that I am forced toswitch on the emergency powera light bleeds acrossmy console & I swivel in my chrome-plated Bauhaus/Ikea captains chair to face her wrath should it come.There is another Death Star, I explain. It contains no

    flaw, unlike its predecessor, into whose plans Vader forsome reason saw fit to introduce design tics that wouldmake a first year engineer blanch; perhaps he knew eventhen something of his fate ... were those two hideouslygreige orbs a metaphor for his own bodys penetrationfantasy? a slight shudder as the X-wing entered the duct?how else to explain the ridiculous ease with which thoserebels identified our killing machines weaknessotherthan by referring to that space (in Vader)? But I digressour plans progress: would you care to inspect? & with a

    slight limp she follows me to the docking bays, whereour transport awaits. After you, I murmur, giving wayso as to watch as her plastic skirts sashay, only hintingat the unseen power of that incredibly spherical

    argh !

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    in Abendland our eyes reflect the windowsof real estate agencies couples roam theresmall dogs shit wherever they like everyonehas a bulging belly here in Abendland guitarmusic is de rigeur words like de rigeur arenever used rivers flow & woods are pictureshung in galleries frequented on Sundays &

    feastdays only post offices never close oldaudio cassettes remain unavailable soughtafter only by newcomers phone calls will bemonitored & can only be made from insidehastily-assembled booths & there are notelevision channels only movies with in-built& hard to avoid advertisements girls wearstripes & old boots that make their ankleslook skinny boys maintain a gruff personaonly enhanced by permanent thirty six hour

    growths love is an absence or closing timegarbage piles up but no one seems concernedin Abendland beer comes in bottles that thehomeless can collect & exchange for penniesor one more beer poetry has not yet beeninvented nor cricket which would be absurd

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    two intersecting lines radiate strings of heart beats in four timesdouble the directions secreting small agents into the surroundingstreets & lanes transfers of desire stilt-legged voyages hour-burstrambles freshly-bottled smell of the underground random splices ofmuzac shred the dark corners of an interruption clocks soundlessalarm men follow women towards escalators triggered by their

    muffled boots the station entrance collapsing out into the waffleprints of passing tramline desires meanwhile youre down therestroking tokens that get stuck in the machine above our headsamongst the stars giant pulsing nuggets of steel erupt in longingwhile the red lights blink delaying our union by variants of minute-long bursts of motion this is the station called silence at which i longto get off with you so as to emerge into some blinding shower ofcertain life-affirming illuminations as blades of wet rubber hackaway at the heads of screen actors we shoot our own minimalistmovie under the smurf-blue-on-white of KunstWet this n-dash

    between breaths where electrons & whole atoms wander aimlesslyplotting dotted lines on imagined vertical sheets of glass & of her far-flung snow-bound commune dappled with spots of rain love.

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    all the concessions have finally closedthe luggage tags likewise now unravelIve spent the night in an airport aloneeven the cleaners have all gone home ...

    out on the tarmacs the rain is a canvasthe planes are invisible up in the sky

    at every counter the shutters have risenonly perfumes of the flight crews linger

    the terminals redevelopment is completenow theres nothing left here to expand& duty-free shops disappeared long agoinside the food court a fake fern sleeps

    departure boards flick like REM dreamsbut the gangways are empty of tired feet

    the veins of the airport throb in safetynevertheless I will practice my tai-chi

    I use broken glass to create my muralsticket stubs provide my fire with fuelI walk naked through abandoned latrinesin arrivals halls I begin planting trees

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