The Toads review, posted back in May, of “After Midnight” was reposted today on Berfrois. After the last few weeks of more unrest around the contemporary world – on the ground, in the air, on-line – Irmgard Keun’s short novel about the life of a young woman in Germany during the build up toward World War Two feels increasingly relevant. Whatever time it is locally, cruise on over to Berfrois and check out the review and more.
“Heaven will be full of spam,”
he decried, “because
everyone wants to be there,
while hell will be whiteout,
an empty inbox.”
“Or the other way around,”
“Oh, that’s pithy,” he said.
“And there’s nothing I dislike
more than an epiphany poem.”
Climbing bolt eyes tightened so tight the threads strip, and the tongue, a dirty oiled belaying bolt, slips and slaps, and the whole edifice collapses, as if a plumber has grabbed the head by the ears and sucked on the nose with his plunger. The smith smites a bass anvil, hammering the hot steamed milk face forging the steel bridge nose, sculpting terrible white teeth, drawing and cooling the pendant tongue, punching eyes opaque blue, curling thick creamy hair around the handle of his hammer. This hyperbolic happy acid oozing cold blue face bowl of plum pits, bonbon pate of goose liver. “Don’t look at me!” cry the eye bolts expanding, lips stressed taut, ears hung like life rings. Far back on the tongue, a bitter spot to nap. The old couple lives now in a window box. The sash opens and a hand appears. A palm with a long curved neck pours water clear and concise. An electrician comes to replace the eyes. He breaks both sockets unscrewing the cold bulbs. Memory starts to flicker, the call of a far-off bird. In brackish blue eyes the tiller tongue feels spaces, loosed from its mooring, and on the sail of the nose, beating upwind for a kiss, ripples of sound, the soupy surf ringing in his ears, snores an old surfer paddling about on a dinged, wax-worn, sun bleached board, wanting to swim with you.
Embers of a partially burned ocean
In a box in a dank basement molting notes
A weathered surfer slowly descends the creaking
Worn stairs like dark swells yawning
Fish eyed and barnacle knuckled he climbs
Finds and opens the box, peers in, smells the pages
Runs salted fingers over the raised words
Rusting paper clips, chiseled letters in Courier font
Fading like beached seagulls washing away in an incoming tide
Wires spiraling like journaled waves
Bleaching across the page like ink in water
Blistering like sun burnt tattoos on old shivered skin
He can no longer read without bottled glasses
He chuckles like the tide receding washing scouring
White out rocks across words stuck buried in red tide pools
Like breathing into a snorkel
The surfer leers over the smoldering sea
Takes up the seaweed soiled waxed manuscript
And paddles out of the basement
Walks down to the beach and what remains
Of the water and casts out the paper like fishing net
Into a set of scaling waves
Lit with a lustrous industrial moon
The waves curling like letters in blue neon.
(Click any photo to view gallery)
I pitch my brother a tricky slow
curve that floats warbling past the pink
hibiscus and slides away under
the Chinese elm, but he goes with the pitch.
The yellow plastic bat darts
like a startled fish, and he sends
me back, back, to the wall –
and the white, holey ball
whiffles over the roof,
landing in the olive tree.
Happy Birthday, John!
A seeking breeze softly slips
under the sleeping cherry tree
a cursory note, “I am too busy.
Too, too, toodle-loo,”
smiles, hushes, and sounds off.
A branch snaps, and a cat recalls the night
when the owl, the nightingale,
and the toad went out walking.
The moon follows the trio into the tea garden, pulling
behind the sounds of the rollicking ocean waves.
In the garden, two women sit talking:
”I wrench or hammer or pull or push
To disassemble and repair
To build in empty air
The sound truth that is not
”I don’t believe the truth
That there is no truth
There are two truths
The one you reject
And the one you embrace.”
Drowned out by the singing waves slopped with frothing beer,
An old, lost surfer takes a hearty long piss on the briny rocks
At the water’s rough edge and mutters a half assed poem
To pass the night in song outside walking the dark beach
While the women sit talking with the cat in the cove of the garden
Under the cherry tree awakening and petals falling all
In one great breath the ocean waves belly laughing full.