I thought about where I was
until I was there
where I thought I understood—
the town talking to the city
and the words not wasted there—
but they couldn’t hear
what it is I’m hearing
by way of destruction & abandonment
& washing up on another shore—
being interviewed by
Slick Entrepreneurs, Savage Impresarios
& Media Moguls of Information Technology—
illusions of immanence,
the voice coming up out of the typewriter—
extremely loud, painfully clear—
but the kids, yeah, the kids,
they don’t even know
what a typewriter is.
. . .
Totally engaged in the quirky appearance
of the beaded raindrops on the
chromed caging of the shopping carts
outside the supermarket when “the wife”
says something funny but the synapses
have fired again and your eyes are
already locked onto some
cutting across your field of vision.
Back at chez poet the grass almost knee-deep,
the paint peeling off in palm-sized flakes,
stereophonic growl of Captain Beefheart
churning out of the hi-fi speakers;
on the upside it’s no longer so
that everyone knows you’re
a reprobate apostate committed to idleness
and rancorous unsuccess.
. . .
A Poem for Chroniclers
In the darkness or in the light—
staring into a corner
impacted with stoicism and dirt—
a brick won’t break your heart
but a young girl most certainly will—
in Le Chat Noir or the Crucifix Bar
or some other bohemian dive
in the City of Light—
where a bunch of hoary old surrealists
are sitting in a dusky booth way in back
waiting for the dice to fall
and the future ghost-writer
of your plagiarized autobiography
is just now learning the cost of love,
the price of hate,
and the letters of the alphabet.
. . .
Ignition Minus Ten…
Down along the dark nexus
of axiological bewilderment
commonly referred to as my “youth,”
I came of age in an age of questions
to which no one seemed to know the answers.
Still in the eighth grade
at Portola Valley School, California,
I went to a party at Medway Forest,
a hip local commune, Day-Glo and notorious,
freaky and fascinating,
music by the New Delhi River Band,
and was handed my very first joint
by none other than Ken Kesey.
Could I have said no? No way.
The die was cast, the rails were greased,
and the rocket-sled of
cumulative empirical wisdom
aimed through the portals of
newly enhanced perception
was now standing by
for immediate blastoff.
. . .
The Turnstiles of Sin
Think about the doors you swing open
in front of you
and the doors you swing shut
and all the rooms you cross
to get from one to the other
in the long arduous trek
across time & space.
Think about a player or a swordsman
or a healing king—or just
any other way of thinking.
Think about the virgins
and think about the gods,
about the sins that are deadly
and the sins that are not.
In the kitchen, sagacious but skeptical,
you pull where it says “OPEN HERE”
but “OPEN HERE”
breaks off in your fingers
and the damn thing is still unopened.
. . .
The Age of Enlightenment
When I saw your ideas of the
Sublime and the Beautiful on TV
I knew it was over for good.
The last time I saw you
we were waiting in the greenroom,
you handed me a blue drink,
smiled with your yellow teeth
and a red light went on.
I thought what if this was a dream
and it was a dream.
I thought what if this was real
and it was real.
I tried to change the channel
but the remote control was now
a baby porcupine and my fingers
were a bloody mess.
. . .
© Mark Terrill
Mark Terrill is a native Californian and ex-merchant seaman holding no degrees or diplomas whatsoever. He shipped out of San Francisco to Asia, Europe and North Africa, where he studied and spent time with Paul Bowles in Tangier, Morocco, and has lived in Germany since 1984, working as a shipyard welder, road manager for rock bands, cook and postal worker. Recent publications include Laughing Butcher Berlin Blues (Poetry Salzburg, 2010), a collection of his translations of Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, An Unchanging Blue, Selected Poems 1962-1975 (Parlor Press / Free Verse Editions, 2011), and Down at the Gate and Change Remains Suspended (both Feral Press, 2012); other new work out or forthcoming in Upstairs at Duroc, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Hanging Loose, The Café Review and Section 8. Currently he lives on the grounds of a former boatyard near Hamburg with his wife and three cats.
© Bareknuckle Poet ~ Journal of Letters & Individual Authors 2016. Edited by Brentley Frazer, A. G. Pettet & Guests. All works published by Bareknuckle Poet ISSN 2204 – 0420 are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Published by Bareknuckle Books ABN 23 626 812 677 PO Box 5009, West End, Brisbane, Australia 4101 FOUNDED – BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA 2014