blackmail press 16
Jan Lauwereyns
new zealand
Jan Lauwereyns (1969) teaches biological psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. He published four books of poetry, one novel and one book of essays in his native language, Dutch, before embarking on a language switch to English in 2005.

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Jan Lauwereyns
Poems from Fishiness and th’Ungullible

The frightful sound of a freighted train

reverberating on the flat,
will die, is dying out in that

the Tale explodes above the telling

while Fishiness has it down as …Fragment
(consider revising). But pray do, is‘t

the train, or these familiar sounds

of keys in th’act of being pressed,
that slowly wake you up again?

The mode of Composition reflects

the snaky words that want a meal,
a monkey swinging among the leaves,

a born-again warbler about to twitter.

Th’eternal railway worker gazed,

so Dead Man, at the waste of boulder
and how the bloody rod had drilled

a hole in his Skull or blazed a trail

for many a train of Thought to follow.
What do you do with a bandaged rock?

The man got sort of up, kept walking,

loosely resembling a four-wheel drive,
or how d’you fathom a phantom like that?

…Er …What did you just say? And – snap!

There’s Art in the mowing of lawns, all right,
the weeding of things, till sooner or later

the growing grows, the disciple spruiks.

Fire extends its many tentacles,

the ratty kind, that suck your car
and cattle up and spew them out,

disintegrated, a few miles South.

…If this is so, th’Ungullible wishes
to know …How far’s that hurricane?

A sudden overflowing, a bleeding

heart, a helpless brain at hemorrhage
– humans are like cherry blossom

raining in and looking out

the eyes of the Cosmos, riding a gentler
breeze, providing a double service,

being there and doing Evil.

She hears but cannot determine th’Origin,

believes and sees us therefore to
exist in other words that get you

tangled up as th’Echo has no

honest idea of how to spell them
early or late in th’hungry morning

before the cock agrees to rise.

So here’s another title for that
inevitable book of Poetry

with all those efforts of language learning,

all that time invested …Futurist?
Speaking of most amazing sights

for an ear goes faster than the Eye.

Bat like we can tell the freighted

train must still be somewhere in the
Valley, north of the fish’s mouth.

There’s something deeply poetic about

the way th’Ungullible bounces back
your shrill and dog-defying cries

…Haunted forests advancing around?

without the slightest sliver of moon
t’expose the bony fires of Fantasy,

eh, and do we love indeed

the freedom that comes with having died
and being buried nude in another

language, a bashful corpse in a coffin.

Th’ease of Composition reflects

the wit of wearing a hat while bathing,
or carrying candlelight across

the ferny pool of a former hot spring,

Narcissus riding a bike until
the circles float in their circles of ink.

…But who killed Sloan in the sleeping ward?

If we’re to hang around with hoodlums,
cobras, pythons – what’s to happen

with Second Language Acquisition,

given limited word-order freedom
and your phobia for neologism?

We must flee the passage of shock.

What’s one word but a desperate plea

for another? How can you hear the next
before you stop the fall of Speech?

(Apologies for the salivary imagery.)

Needed are rules of containment, windows
of time and patterns of stress, the power

to stem sweet Mariko’s gift of babbling.

…Hail the caesura! Then why does she speak?
Wasn’t that what they used to say about you?

Meanwhile talking, talking, we might

as well take heed of the gorge and the sheep
in the back of the Truck in front of us,

producing heaps of fear for disposal.

Down and out the monk we go

to desperation, conflagration,
wherever things that move fall silent.

…Hail the caesura! The Point is not

to be drifted, sailed or otherwise slid,
marred by inexplicable outbursts,

but t’whack the bush, to go off course,

a subtle change, an extra f,
a bit of emphasis ’pon that o,

and Lew’s robotic body will turn

a fearless self-termination phrase
into a road that forks with questions

‘bout your Faith in the face of Doubt.