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A man I know wrote a book about a man he knew
1          and this man, or so he the man I know said, fucked

You free your body
from its height: she
slides her stockings
off. No

one owns the hour
you met, the weather
outside your bedroom.
You let your selves
down into day
break; put the evening back
on with those clothes,
feeling the creases
in each other’s face.

2          and murdered a girl to save her from the others

On the day of the Fall
God tattoed the virgin
         with the serpent,
         with the angel.
Her wonderful belly
shuddered under his eye
         and her hipbones
         became rainbows.

The creases of her thighs
symbolise the seven
         days of labour –
         she never rests
with the man who made her.
She has to generate
         fresh transgressions
         and then confess

         her innocence….

3          who would have fucked and murdered this girl

please explore
the fault-line
carefully

rearrange
the silences
with your tongue

dismantle
the darkness
and drag it

out of her

4          much more painfully and without finer feelings

an immaculate statue
heavy for a caress
in the barren bedroom
she has no cocaine
only sleeping tablets
only an angel's shadow
fiancée to a corporal
she searched Berlin's rubble
three weeks after
unconditional surrender
slept with a slum landlord
said love is always extra
marital

the child in the garden
the adult in the bedroom
that recurring miscarriage
love become monumental
who wolf-whistled
in the first person
now the devoted friend
now the declared enemy
that hat doesn't suit you
your hair's better short
the future isn't what it was
constantly remodelled
martial

October 1986, Normanby, Dunedin – 15.5.1989, Church Square, Christchurch.
The title and section headings quote ‘Dichtung und Wahrheit’ by Allen Curnow.

 


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