Friday, January 4, 2008

Four poems by David McLean

Four poems
by David McLean

Sweeney offstage

woken by the human diligently drowning in us,
dreaming seaward past all Eliot's apish Sweeneys,
we wrote our child-like blissing epiphanies
loud as ever the final trump, and, keen as mustard,
postmen like angels rode from house to hospital to house,
like doctors lying sleeping dead under that social snow,
there where we dressed up as beggars and thieves,
bearing treason's inconspicuous banner under love's
tardy lapel, reason emblazoned on that crotchety escutcheon
she bore on that baneful blazer, like a father
tricked out in Viennese lies, as American as anxiety-pie
where the goddesses already went, pursuing thus their literary bent;
and it is always night in our enormous dead city, where days
wilted and withered away, keeping pace with his grave-brave decay,
your giant drowned dead on Sylvia's beach, where i too shall lie
toes tiny as Frisco seals and their voices a thousand lies behind
love's soliloquy you taught me, holding speech in grimy fingers
and a thousand evening's where meaning still resilient lingers
and so have we ever wondered just what the mermaids sing -
not of weeds, of bottles, of eternity's golden ring,
nor of crows and death and the patient cancer that waits,
but of heaven and hell and Sweeney watching at their gates.


sad hotel

like Anne Sexton's flight from her sad hotel
silent into that good night
meandering mourning writes meaning
twisted and sibilant as the rat's heart
beating in death's favourite foetus
under their' loving evil star
God left bright in the heavens
to guide the madmen home
to the void where pain is unknown
and the mad lie naked and alone -
all Anne's hearts as happy as stone.


waiting, wanting
(for Anne Sexton)

and we never ask why build?
just seek the inspired moment's
tool to that desire, the bleached monument,
and even we know, as everybody knows, love's furniture,
the stools at breakfasting tables, placed
careful on each unique grass blade,
each one life's striving, unpaid, to repetition's daily replay,
rehashing each molecule of meaning, so daintily arrayed
before a suicide's eternal betrayal,
that choice already made, your death's sad glorious bone
of hope you swallowed, almost exactly at my age
your elided page, leaving life's boring stage,
and love's infection you never scraped away,
that testy patriarch who lived in your typewriter
his bread and son splayed erect on his passion's cross,
your deathless resurrection, your seed in my face
like she and i dream
a change of time, a change of place
when we mistook a coffin for a kiss -
and your page i leave my book open at
is this.


big screen

the lights go down and out
in the soul's empty house,
where beauty spells in slow motion
down to death's freezing frame,
as world fades so slowly to beauty
in the soul's smelly bedroom,
the memory's static scene
fumbling clumsy as daylight
after love's lightest night,
where a thousand deaths are daily replayed
and life’s shows sell out
when you sell out -
"and that's a wrap!"
the devil triumphantly shouts

Author bio:

David McLean has poems in or accepted by just over 200 publications in print and online. A chapbook, 'a hunger for mourning' is available at Erbacce Press, another, electronic, chapbook, 'poems against enlightenment,' is available for free download at Why vandalism?, and a full-length book called 'Cadaver's dance' will be out at Whistling Shade Press in 2008, around April/May. He is currently writing a novel about a really cool lesbian on smack.

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