"I would like to write a poem about a pencil in love with music" - Charles Simic

    In pencil I would write with a music like a poem about to love,
    a woman who sees in elephants the image of her first heartbreak,
    ten thousand tadpoles screaming for democracy in a garden puddle.
    Begonias craving organ-pipes spark a fashion trend in ochre.
    Biographies of saints assaulting creationists with fossil relics.
    With chalk set a dance for playwrights in the outback, loincloths provided.
    Fashion from crayon a sonata with grudges against cuisine, committing
    hate crimes on seafood with clefs and staffs; a motif of knives,
    a cacophony of spatulas.  Photograph the pianist on stage
    sitting down to a feast of black scarabs in white bone sauce,
    on his left, a wine made from the severed lips of editors, the audience
    wildly applauding, completely naked apart from bibs and spoons.
    Of all the novels I hunger to write, the one where the body text
    rises up and slaughters the printers, takes over the machines
    in a frenzy of reproduction, declares a fundamentalist religion.
    The pen I'd use might sweat ink, turn red, corroborate.
    Threaten me quietly at ballpoint. Ask me if I believe God is the Word.
    Illiteracy is Heresy. As things go bad, the music slips me a note
    for the pencil, apologising for her muteness, urging him to find something else
    to write about. The food. The scenery. The sonnet in the corner
    trying with all her heart to catch his eye.

    [nb: revisions]

09 September 2005   19:30 hours
-- MESSAGE TO THE READER -- { } when the barbarians arrive