Poetry Drawer: exorcise_exercise: Two from 100 Titles from Tom Beckett: Amazone: From the Pound Cantos: CENTO XXXII by Mark Young


Racquets she said, even though there was no tennis going on.

Or maybe it was rackets, & she was talking about the noise up the road, or the way that local builders get their plans through council despite breaching nearly every bylaw in the book.

Could have been Reckitts, left up for me to interpret which among their products I’m in dire need of — condoms, antiseptic lotions, mustard, mouthwash, grime or pimple remover.

Then again, perhaps rickets, even though I’m not young — except in name — & any or all of the products listed above would have helped minimize or even remove that condition.

So, rockets. No, not that, her red glare tells me quite clearly.

Leaves only ruckets . . . But there’s no such word in general use, though it is a family name, & a brand of skates, &, if Google’s autocomplete is accurate, it might have something to do with tickets to the Rugby World Cup.

Though, wait. Because of this fuss I’m making over what the word in question is, I’ve just been accused of causing a ruckus. Perhaps that is what was intended all along.

Two poems from 100 Titles from Tom Beckett

27: Default Settings

Start at the end, my
sensei told me, & work
your way back. Then,
once you’ve got there,
start again & work
your way even further
back. Again & again,
until there’s nowhere
left to go. Then start
again. This way or
that is immaterial.

28: Spacing Out in Space

The stars have temporarily gone
out, & I have drifted in the sub-
sequent darkness. Am back in that
art-inspired social diner in Bangkok —
or was it on Tatooine? — gazing at

the wall, unconsciously memorizing
the sign that states the place is avail-
able for brunch, lunch, & dinner, as
well as open for home deliveries
between 8:00 am & 10:00 pm. Such

is life on the final frontier. Nothing
to see when you’re going at super-
luminal speeds, not even the imposs-
ible linear light of stars passing by
in the way that old tv series used to

imagine might happen. Nothing to do
except tune out, or else turn on Net-
flix or Disney+, because, as they say,
in Space, when you’ve got your ear-
buds in, nobody can hear you stream.


Some time later, when
the karaoke machines

started calling to one
another, she packed up

her respirator & its axled
oxygen cylinder &,

with a tetrapak of re-
constituted Brazilian

orange juice for guidance,
headed for the jungle.

From the Pound Cantos: CENTO XXXII

I don’t know what they are
up to. It wd/ seem unwarr-
anted. Read one book an hour,
less a work of the mind than
of affects, but enough to keep
out of the briars. The people
are addicted. Life & death are
now equal, no favour to men

over women. Boat fades in silver;
slowly. Let no false colour exist
here. Behind hill the monk’s
bell borne on the wind. The
bamboos speak as if weeping.
Of this wood are lutes made.

Mark Young was born in Aotearoa / New Zealand but now lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia. He has been publishing poetry for more than sixty years, & is the author of around sixty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history.

You can find more of Mark’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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