trout [ 7 ]
David Eggleton [1  , 2 ]
Self-Potrait in a Rear-View Mirror

When I sat down to write the history of my country,
I began to mine a strange vein of frivolity.
Ecstatic sobs escaped me, as I realised I had no country.
I felt free to explore god-like possibilities,
the cancelled events not of our making,
the mudslides of worm-eaten histories
on the move in rain that was slanting.
This took the form of a tentative probe
of what mine ears have heard: mysteries,
moments in desultory small talk
which light my mind like flare or strobe.
I leave it to others to worry away
at the cliff-face of official report, 
as I try to get hold of an idea
that eddies and drifts, everywhere and nowhere.
Within the grand architecture,
there is a grander architecture, but no, double-no,
I don't think I'm reading things into it, when I say so.
These anthropological pursuits after hidden laws
are leading me through a series of sliding doors,
towards a prospect, whose distance I measure
in ever-increasing increments by order of magnitude.

Through layers of misunderstanding,
filter legacies of my riotous living.
I've known promises to turn rancid;
I've taken hits in the face from skidding,
wildly flung, demographic pie charts;
and more and more my constant own goals,
like waiter-baiting, mildly-flung bread rolls,
have seen me at the end of the very long day,
kept on the backburner of heartburn.
Clues keep unravelling; bodies refuse to learn,
in the failing light, which itself helps provide
just the right edge of uncertainty,
as I am left to flannel on, a face-cloth in the wind.

Always I erect rickety structures
on false premises in true places.
I have prised apart a policeman's stubby fingers;
I have assigned small armies of cleaners
to wash away the sorrow that clings and lingers;
I have raised bank shutters and lowered my standards.
I have praised those things you kneel on;
and I know this wonderful undersea salon,
where seaweed and celluloid is what my eye dwells on.
I have held my own hand to talk myself through
a lifetime spent reaching for petty change.
My kitchenware consists of nothing more strange
than one rusty Wastemaster way-station;
my existence amounts to a concrete ghost town;
and my memory is a makeshift parade of clowns:
such ruins have I shored against my foundations.

  © 2000

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