|HOME ARCHIVE [Previous entry: "Four poems by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé"][Next entry: "Four poems by W. Vandoren Wheeler"]|
|Three poems by Billie Hanne|
CITY OF SKIN
The stars the flies around the bin
in a syncopated street
they lie to me in words
and not a speck of sorrow
dangles down their chin
yet a sentence tied around my wrist
like a watch
and I know it is late
so I swallow the moon
for a belly glowing guide
before I set my feet
callous and wry
to make way to the yellow house.
HARVEST OF A KISS
Mahler came to town
played domino with the mayor's wife
until she fell forward
and we splashing the mirrors
that dot the street
hummed to his radiant laughter.
Through his heart he punched a hole
for the thread to pass
from him to you
from you to him
and back to you
and through to me.
And when he left: insomnia.
Canned music in a radio voice
aloof and your hands flowing
off on a tangent
brittle sounds on stained glass
crumple my love in your mouth
in your tongue.
WAITING FOR ALFRED
A man on his way and a canal
where a silent boat drifts past,
opaque, until the sun pours out
languid rhythms to all summer
ends. The surface swallows segments
of town and sky, mirror of clouds,
bubbles on a palate of milk
and tangerine. On a tree lined aisle
between houses a car pulls
over and traffic rustles a kaleidoscope
of papery motions. Feet come out
and hands touch imaginary
keys to sistering thoughts and
oblivion. Heels and elbows
shift onto wires strung together
loosely. Alfred hangs in his skin,
just held up by the remnants of his
voyage to the northern fields.
Have you seen Alfred? He
should've been here days
Oh yes, very much indeed. I
Would you like to eat
while we wait?
You're probably right.
I don't think so. Sometimes
About going north?
Could you stop tapping
your fingers? It makes me
Now that I come to
think of it... he did speak about
the irreversibility of Norway.
Not much. The idea of something
never to become a memory
scared me, I recall.
You're tapping your fingers
Flakes drip from cracks in
his face and he adjusts his sullen
coat, tapping into the soundings
of town. One foot in front of the
forward other, behind to go
backward, sideways to go left
or right. Alfred examines life's
possibilities, measureless, but
full of hope, with utmost care,
strolldancing in circles round.
Solving world famine problems or
distributing escargots in jewellike
spoons to the poor further down
the aisle. Going to the Eternal
Festival of Overtures for a sip
of old foreign wine to wash away
a trip long gone or staying here
undecided among circular cryptics.
Did you hear that?
There it is again!
I'll go and check. Just
to make sure.
is that you, honey?
Oh Henry, I thought
it was Alfred!
We end up finding
all sorts of things when
looking for something
Oscar, look who I
Would you like to
stay for dinner?
Under the smell of oncoming rain
and delicate lamb shoes not suited
Alfred gets into the car of a thin
man passing by and decides on a
skinny driver with droplet voice.
Doubtful of the benefits of a
cleansing, he relishes the ride on
strawberry coloured seats, oh soft
leather and protected shoes, and thinks
of the early life of Joseph Georges
Dupont. Curious misdirections,
allotted space and time between
buildings, open the window, only
a little bit. A breeze settling in
Alfred's hair. The beginning of
conversation and then the continuation
of words aller-retour from driver
to passenger and all the way back.
Have you seen
Nothing, it's just he
should've been here days
ago, but we haven't heard
I don't think so. He would've
told me, wouldn't he?
Do you think he is right?
That it will always
It has started raining.
Hopefully he's found shelter.
The rain ticks away as Alfred
sees a blackened face pressed in
the shadow of an aisle corner.
A memory vague and still tanned
by the last summer sun. I have a
house here somewhere maybe
there, he says to the thin man
coming to an end. A door in amber
and Alfred's hand on the knob
spinning in vain M and A, D and E,
L and I, N and E, he starts walking
along hollow footsteps and facades
growing into whiter cotton
windows. Wind fills the sails in
their spars and a city in motion
embarks, leaving Alfred to the
lines of have been aisles and water
stained with unrecognisable shadows.
I hear something again.
By the door. Do you hear it?
Billie Hanne (Brussels, Belgium) walks endless kilometers through town, hides obscure literature in bottles under the sink and has poetry forthcoming in the next issue of Kerouac's Dog Magazine.