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feeding marigolds to a seahorse

Michael O’Brien
some of the poems first appeared in:
quatrain fish; faded out; the other bunny; failed haiku;
otoliths; cattails; neverending story; moonchild magazine;
rolling boulder
the mountain’s
! ! ! ! ! ! moon
! ! ! ! ! day
the tail end of a cloud
Somewhere over the Bronco

I lazily point towards the remains of the buildings. W/ every

fibre, atom, sinew and ounce of meat…. I mea(n)t it, Lord
god. I felt their fear and anger a(n)d I wanted to hurt them
all in the name of some-other’s big nothing.
! Meanwhile W bottles nebulas and plans to smuggle the
ghost of T through customs. A wink wink at the security
guards. A strange feeling passes through the buildings. Legs
tired on the escalator. The milky coming of day.
! That night I tried to write something about my thoughts
but all that came out were hyper realistic sketches of
marbles that I once collected on the banks of Goshen. I
remember looking at the blue in the eye of the marble and
thinking about the sky, in an innocent way devoid of
! Self medicated I feel the loss of losing myself and you.
I awkwardly draw a doodle in the margin. The squash takes
about 40 minutes to cook in the oven. Did you get the
herbs I asked for? What about the dill? Anyway, I’ll be
home in half an hour. Love you too.

! everything broken
! i sow the sky
! w/ oblivion
a winter sky in two
the blackbird’s trill
cold day
a hospital appointment
arrives in the post
frozen garlic bread
waiting for my middle
to thaw
! day moon
! my son’s
! first smile

As the zones were decentralised H commercialised most of

the property. Sometimes he’d talk to the night, other times
he’d take counsel w/ the soil. H believed that oranges were
at the root of kindness. On the first Friday of every month
he would feed his family just oranges and demand they
smile. This act made the town people buy statues for him.
They even named the local theatre after him. His favourite
statue was that of a pig that had little richard hair. He’d sit
up at night and sometimes think of the pig.

! hooked leviathan
! the moon moves past
! venus and mars
winter sonata
a blackbird plays
every bough
expressions of noself day moon
listening to the
birds fight
day moon
the 21st century asks
for directions
From the library window I watch the hospital across the
road being gutted and made ready for apartments. It is early
spring. It is wet, cold and grey. Grit laid out on the paths
two days ago foams and mixes with dog shit and dirt.
Colour relief comes in daffodils and the workmen’s signs.

! spring day
! finding infinity
! in the pigeon’s course
spring sunshine
my son runs his hand
through my beard
fresh wounds
wilting daffodils separate
the war graves
giraffe ossicones
my son reaches for
the sky
fan assisted oven
before the warm weather
a swift
dreaming of droughts

An airbus made of a waterfall. Whatever happens cake needs

to be made w/ sugar. Nothing can be done, good or bad,
about it. It’s like rain. Bela’s dead - nout to be done again.
Vapour becomes invisible - can’t repeat experiment in a lab.
I take it all on blind faith, the holy ghost too. Expanding,
the airbus becomes warm. I watch an old man sitting across
from me write out a postcard - I wonder if he knows about
the cubic volume of this yoke? Closing my eyes I dream of

! fair weather clouds a child learns a new word

ghost orchid
our hands accidentally
overcast a cat arches its back
Sadly the pepper dies. The debate that follows leaves the
olive oil upset. Six days follow w/ no dawn – so it’s like,
twelve nights, for those keeping score. Although painful we
scoop the debates into tiny supermarket trollies. Defining us
as hunchbacks the debates make it hard for us to live, even
though they are tiny – maybe even smaller than ants that
live in the gravel in the summer time. And if that wasn’t
bad enough the tiny debates overheard what I just said about
the ants and are now making sure we have no ants next
summer. It’s all a little unnecessary, if you ask me.

! warm front
! no oneʼs an arsehole
! when theyʼre dead
pistol suicide
feeding marigolds
to a seahorse
temple cat
without precepts
eating off the floor
melancholy the swallow’s wingspan
in the hairdresser’s mirror a hairdresser
Heaven in search of Hopper

Two hundred bodies fill the hierarchy and semantics of

wildlife. Wobbling and jostling, craning our necks. The
sickly tone of patriotism washes over the sallow birches.
Woosh, whistle, etc. Flapping in the woods I fight a
checkerboard. The same shirt from somebody else’s 1979.
We take etchings, w/ charcoal and paper, from random trees
and feel good about it. And feel good about the day.
! cold night 
! a mouthful of rice
! wobbles on the fork

Far from biography I note the tiredness of doom. Rusted,

rickety – creek, croom. The house like a Hopper – that is,
free, out of time, weird, honest and brave. That morning a
spineless light descends from heaven. Heaven is offended at
a perceived offense. Not knowing what to do they pack up
all the fences and move out further west.
! returning geese
! I give my father
! the bigger slice
not understanding
the metric system
the moon
a mushroom climbs
a tree
dial 0161 for nostalgia

The moon moves into advertising and door-to-door sales. ‘I

never saw that coming’ says some planet. To make itself
more relatable to potential clients the moon watches 6 plus
hours of tv a day. Watching the home shopping channel one
evening they buy Mecca and an unspecified amount of
seahorses. ‘I think it’s a good deal’ it says to itself the next

! cold day
! things-in-themselves
! as verbs

Watching a day labourer become a brick the moon feels

good about its posture and exercise regime - which includes
a tae bo vhs that always brings forth the dreams of OJ
Simpson. Riding the wave of feeling good the moon goes to
the bathroom and writes: ‘meet me here at 7:30 for the
plague and a handjob’. On the back of a bibliography the
moon writes down a mechanic’s number.
the white sound
of the moon’s stillness
surgical gown

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