Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Kit Kelen - some clouds (for reference, as published in last year's NPP anthology)

a field guide to Australian clouds


these are strange faces for a heaven blow-ins
you see a fleet first, coasts dissolve the new place shaping up
you have to keep an eye on it or it’s always already there
the pages have to have been dreamt weren’t we?

aren’t they islands downside up? ladder kicked out
gone if you blink parliament quorate when inchoate

a new sun every day they’re coming
merino, sky-sill crew dark and bright, the sorters’ bin

I see them from the window seat – weigh parts of the fleece
the moment’s silence skin in which – I must be the welcoming party it falls to me to speak

hello clouds then – this is country
I think of the ones who were before


here's a present of fine writing
mallard, storks, sing in, from, to – mist tips them

in a chariot of this, the ancients (over the elixir limit,
sentenced to more of immortality) – they must have overseen
an edge to us – blue halo and then peering in
regolith, pedolith – mobile mud mantle – grey day of menacing tide

they have been inscribed, harp held on stately seat
Horus in among, falcon-headed were gods so Cirrus-thin?

they fight with pillows there’s nothing to rule in or else
tilt and lay you down to rest – you’ll get another game

isles prise apart, an England goes
whether or not you watch, other worlds are
shadows chase sunshine over the water

see here the Bountiful, and Roar of Lion, Messengers of Rain
Parjanya drives the clouds before him there's Rüppell’s vulture
and the common crane – vagrants of the troposphere

they visit us as well our friar’s lantern’s wisp with a will nose cut off
to spite smoke stands from the rye

from a large family of haloes – this sundog set among the crystal
misty, thus portending


I came in a boat you came on a boat it’s a long way back

Wanjina was here – by this time painted so many times
(a little sky on the ceiling makes rain)

what washes up we’ll hang to dry
(the brush off as with Dampier’s flies cover the sun’s face)
from a pavilion in Peach Blossom Land seas south as ours
see a bank of them gilded and we look up yearn for lotus, dancing flame

the great bird comes to bear crews off it must be the River of Ocean
Purgatory Mountain’s the counterweight for all that holy land

I came in a boat and you came too whole year’s cheque, a sheep’s back
yeeha our boat has come in

dig! dig in till you’re just about in China – it’s only a matter of time

fray shape, keep to the line breaks up go dead still then take the air

no other world requires it – nor speech, perception, pain
meaning’s the universe mammoth – will speak till it’s extinct

still, hear the song as if a voice under all that was said
sky-writing in a trail of vapour mortar’s bones of the free

bob in the mirror read what you like when it comes glass
heaven’s there backwards too
that’s how darkness passes


there’s the awkward thing you tuck away or try to sweep whole carpet under you swim from it but it’s the sea

as funnel blue blown wander lonely meet my fate somewhere
in caverns of rain and sphere fire over on couch and strewn to billow

a window in see them see us (so far sighted)

by vimana or by magic rug (priced so many knots the inch)
we are the doubt the suds bathwater shepherds look on
see infant in swaddling must be a body in there

as if it were buttresses and vaults let fly
the architecture of one day and never to be repeated

of course it’s alive breathes as you breathe
punch it and you’ll find a ghost this is what distance does

if ever foe should dare dig here at the foot of the cross
hump coal sack place sharks all round a continent
and crocodiles for north pinch a salt
then bake in orange tub with lid you only need a sun!


call it our confusion, saluting of empires vanished
what we call farm’s a fence fog

climb at a right angle, under fire – what are your legs?

the grey – it is coming to light from light
hills were woven from it – levitated suburbs lost past thought
fumes are this way – cloud small as a hand I set my brow in

takes its hundred years… dust again
you can’t see through it – that’s how farm and fence are ours

build for a future and firmament up
sure as the egg we’re in scratch a name, that’s the wall papered
you know where the voice comes from

at the sign of the Cloud & Cuckoo (bolts flashed here and there)
hat equally floating the drowned man suggests troopers three watch on

who would dwell in the dark? who watches the wind will not sow

all passing aim sabre at windmill ectoplasm joy strains
face trench down digger! here’s mud in your eye


imagine what furies pursue years and no home

or there is a message – Hermes’ sighs piteous, crossing desolate sea
no joy here for him where none will sacrifice

and still the fact is rattling opal faceted so sunglasses
may be required – this is the furnace of the rain

there’s one account in which they never move
but time surpasses so they’re seen

it’s as if each were numbered in God’s head
instance the biblical elevation of frogs
risen from seventh, now on number 9

like the market up then squalls gather they have been banished for wishing (myth of the hailstone size of a house)

who’s counting? you ask me to care?
is that for the record? or knowledge as it wraps and coils
and trails away, wonder taken for a sign? we will decide

here – hold this burning pipe be told! I must light my cigar


imagine them dolmen still – fixed as if to the present
shape of a question mark carrying over

in pyjamas, upside down, map mobile
is it cerebration? ribs white rewarding with years all to earth
some laid paper, canvas fresh primed feathers past the bird

still a last stitch insubstantial lips bring together silence

under the mountain then silk river weed whisper ways
heart of clouds moon-bent, green pine bidden

the cowherd and the weaving girl
either side of silver – it’s only ages part them
and a flock of magpies comes

stone bridge still stands joins nothing to nothing
one day among immortals ten thousand years down here

what if the traveler never arrived?
if a bird had nowhere to light?

the queue was innocence after all
as history much later taught, it wasn’t a queue at all

fata morgana was sea’s top edge skewed

true, self pity is world embracing
patience is taught with spare time


what’s prayer but truth to lack a listener? hoarse voice finding

witness the fraying and the forming could have made a meadow of it
and pollen sneeze of season rings like church across the glen

it’s all within a tree’s reach the masterless sign gone floating caught here then herring in the rafters

too close to the sun and melt or else the deep drags down

but fairy floss is cotton candy (that’s clouds from both sides now)

don’t blame me if I talk to them what have we given to see?

over the rainbow, arrows let just a little island, dash them
Guantanamo the souls surviving don’t you call me the ocean!


crossing the starry dome on foot, or tractoring, by quad bike
let us hail each they’re floating in my scone, and tea, my tub

once in a while among fay lamps see the matchless everlasting
as sprung from forehead fully armed an idea – mind’s-eye

like radio waves go round forever so not a syllable is lost

not the leaf limp stairs but beanstalk borne

no one believes what’s in front of the nose

every cloud’s a pit to riffle for ores as yet unknown

all in a hundred elephant weight of not-quite-dripping tap


yes it’s abstract – nothing in it min min lights
every star is travelling, followed under the thunder tree

you go swimming in the clock for what’s the thing just I can say?
like a tablecloth tugged so things stay set
or someone took rug out from under so I learnt to dance on air
must have been coughed up has to be beard in it and sabled

before the gods there were the birds – took off with the dinosaur stem of the brain

I believe that they are made of flowers too perfect small for eyes
some still we smell their coming petrichor though they are past horizons

if you had a deckchair there festooned like Christmas eyes glued to the altimeter
day passing like a lesser moon (some worlds do have two)

or if in a basket lifted among trousers of thought a breeze leaves
not a thing behind it sings it takes tunes with it


when I was dust … or a mite … ant met on the trail – all we talk’s weather…
I was one of those pinhead angels in brave azure, giddy, cradled

there was solemnity, procession – expect at bugle corners chubby cherubim
a wallow of them and poking through
just then you’d hear the engine start (imagined aerobatics)
(sniff hard at the bloom but it won’t be back)

washing the inkstone, saw mountain in torrents
blood washes the brain of a night hemispheres cumulus

own climate made then it’s my fog scoundrel’s refuge home to roost
in storm dreamt Gondwana, fish distracted, swum here, bone drift
of paddock above and the big hat blue’s to catch entreaty

a fence so the trees won’t get out that’s the way we tick
and witness stiff gusts banners blow off


rose, violet – etched in if you snap them secret how did ochre spill?
razors catch at frail cloth, tied like a heart even day ends, even such a day
colours we see themselves are exiles lengths of the wave that won’t soak in

no one knows the tongue we sing waft of singed wool
man with rags dances doll clings, each turn of the floor a new struggle
rags drowned in a puddle (make a cult of that)

Buckley’s or none, there should be a sign cloud overboard (like a clock off its face)
and anonymous bolts what is it chimney speaks? retribution is divine reflux

and so we wander in this bubble (icy planetisimal else)

every way other-sided come to a table fades, folds away
is it bread to break together? so we are the banquet
there are animals: camel, weasel, whale and when you look back, roos have gone

the line is hung with emperor’s clothes
time passes beyond me and time returns a wink for the damned on dry land
to the wire they bleat ages of reason laid low

we know that there are other suns we’re very far

from a beached conch old skies sing each as true to its shapeless drift
as we must be to our blue

1 comment:

  1. note that in-line spacing has stuffed up pretty comprehensively


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