Journal » Trout 14 » Yadasi Clips [Bill Manhire]
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Yadasi Clips

Bill Manhire

Cold October spring,
light lengthened out in the evening

But the wind!
Wind made the world frightening.

The water was blue, then black,
then the world went gray. Could the wind
blow every colour away?

Yadasi shivered
he felt a faint breeze from another place,
from an earlier time of day


Yadasi: he felt like a tree
a wandering tree.
He was trailing his roots
(but he had them).


When someone told Yadasi a lie
or sold him a rotten car
or a pot with a sorrowful crack in the bottom
he was just like you or me.
He didn't like it.
His whole head went wintry.

He ran and he fled and he ran and he fled.
Then he stopped.
Always being back where he started.


The wide sea was his father
and the river, and the harbour
and the rain which fell to make his father well
and make him a fed man
and a man who could not, would not
sink to the bottom


I'll tell you one thing, son:

he could smile in several languages,
but he counted and wept in one.


Some windows said how much;
some didn't.
That was unpleasant.


On the street, three men with no hair.
Yet they were hairy and horrible.
How could that be?

They came up to Yadasi.
Yadasi smiled.
You, said one of them, are a nasty wee cunt
and a fucking wee foreigner.

But they didn't hit him


But of course, Yadasi needs a key.
He searches for the key cutter.

The map had a key.
And there was always a key to the problem.
Education was a key.

His neighbour worked in a key industry:
electricity, something you couldn't see.

And the other neighbour, his music
should be sent to another key.
And then the key should be turned on it!

A keyhole was not a hole in a key.
The key-cutter was a locksmith.
A lock of hair lived in a locket.

Too much. Yadasi bolted!


So many adverbs rhymed with Yadasi.
Quietly, quietly, quietly.


She told him the past was locked in her heart.
and she had thrown away the key.
And on the streets the pretty girls locked arms.
That was why they looked pretty.


A load of ladders went by on a lorry.
So many people needing to climb.

Life went by
but he could not see it.


Talking to the world

his words were bold on the screen,
he wrote to her and told her everything.

And spam mentioned so many things he was lacking.
Money and drugs and girls who did anything.



It came in tall columns.
A page was not high enough, nor a tree,
nor a tower with twenty storeys.

There were two columns at the heart of the city.
On top of each, a black dog.
Each day he entered their shadows.

And each day he made a fresh count.
A page was not high enough, nor a tree,
nor a tower with thirty storeys.

On top of each column, a black dog,
watching far out across the horizon:
and out in the ocean was another horizon

and so on and so on
till eventually there were men
entering tunnels, and women watching.

Yadasi's people!

Each day he made a fresh count.
On top of each column, a black dog.
Whenever one barked, the other was silent.


A man went to prison on the TV.
He was a local identity.


She came to the door.
Someone from the university,
a girl doing a survey.

Her legs were bristly.
Inside she was bulky.
Would she always be wet?

Afterwords, she wrote his name on a clipboard.
Well, thought Yadasi, this is what you get.

Girls were a mystery.
Writing was a mystery.
Well, at least you can make your mark, she said.


Yadasi went walking.
It began to rain. Oh no, cried Yadasi,
I have forgotten my life. But he meant his umbrella.

Language again! He walked under a tree,
which was there fortunately.
Beyond it a railing protected a graveyard.

The rain stopped and he went across to see.
There were many tombstones
families of every age,

and many names, too,
like a pop-up phone book,
but not a single Yadasi.

Was this good or bad?
DonŐt know, thought Yadasi,
who was the first to devise this particular simile.

Then it rained again,
and around the graves it grew muddy.
Time to go home.

Goodbye, dearly departed!

But if this was a book, who would close it?


Yadasi went to the beach.
On every house a sign said: Vacancy.

He walked a mile or two east.
There was sand, then scrubby stuff,
then grass, and sheep on the grass
and maybe cars on the road behind them.
Then it quickly got mountainous.

That was far enough.

In the other direction, what did he see?
Water, of course. He ran towards it.
He swam out furiously, then relaxed.

He watched the horizon.
They were both treading water,
watching each other carefully.

But even out there he could hear
cars, and sheep,
their cries on the oily air.


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© Copyright 2006 Bill Manhire & Trout.