• Earl Fowler

Waves: 11-20

Updated: 2 days ago

11) no sound from the bay. no violence

We had everything before us, we had nothing before us,

we were all going direct to heaven,

we were all going direct the other way.

whenever I awoke during the night and remembered

Waiting, afire, what name, unspoke,

tell me, what is it I planned to do

with my one wild and precious life?

softly, softly, you’ll wake the clams


Waves: Motionless feet and swaying legs.

Undulant shreds in plough furrows gleaming faintly

in the grey light like the bars of a prone and enormous grating.

the mist which is god


Waves grasping at ontological pommels with one hand.

Dimensionless coefficients: ratios of sines and cosines to coils of fog.

Frayed ropes of access ladders, dangling and slapping from the holy grid.

the same worthless tideless quay cooling in the last crimson evening

Waves: Asbestos-covered elbows, pipes, gauges, tanks, valve-wheels.

The bamboo-and-paper punkah swinging above infinite possible shapes.

A skylight of yellow panes, toy towns and vanity fairs, many of them fallen out.

seething turmoil of ejaculation tumescence conception and birth


Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white.

In the ocean are many bright strands.

The curled up knees of jesus on a spent and satiate beach.

and the devil will drag you under by the sharp lapel of your checkered coat



12) what is the number of my days?

Waves flattened, framed, fitted. Skin growing ever slacker,

free-lancing out along the razor’s edge.

The girls passing with their satchels.

back bent head sunk animals know

Waves: The heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating of dark habits.

The wild hair of waterfalls combed straight.

That fever of oscillations where the savour lies, invisible to the eye.

but I still don’t hold with toads having beards and wigs

Wave: An antic shadow cast by a lamp by the bed.

A blinking message link.

Murmurs of surf or the throbbing of waiting trucks.


a hiss in the harsh salt grass of an unkempt lot

The untried and unsupportive space where no shore is visible.

Stagnant air impregnated with the smell

of sugar and bananas and hemp from the docks.

humans in animal skins


Waves: Girls out to catch some sun in two-piece swimsuits and Garbo shades.

Oneiric ascetics, Viennese analysts, American evangelists and ostrich fans.

No trace of the graves anymore

though I sang in my chains like the sea

Vagues: Lorsque Nana levait les bras, on apercevait,

aux feux de la rampe, les poils d’or de ses aisselles.

Et certains sont devenus mystiques, et certains sont devenus fous.

as the seams hissed


13) a frothy scum and a flotsam of twigs

Waves: An iron fence with scrolled spear-tipped panels

set in pallid reflections in mirrors on dressers and sideboards.

Reflections rising to meet the falling ones until they touch

and rock a little, not quite closing

Waves: Interstitial overlappings between the worlds

woven into the skein of human history.

Ruffled chintz on the table at the Paper Museum.

liquid soliloquies in a tedious play

Waves: The language of tap water.

The slapping of innumerable screen doors.

Fragments of a great confession.

dark shapeless objects drifting with the tide

There are more boats than I believed existed,

a maritime race of which I also had no cognizance,

many solitary figures out on heaths, and roads, and lying under haystacks.

the creaky steps of old deaf Mrs. Gimber in her bedroom upstairs


14) waves: the march of a retreating world

Waves: Sexual congress in the missionary posture.

A crowd moving without murmurs or coughing down corridors

straight and functional as warehouse aisles.

banging so often the green doors with boneless fists in dreams

Thus star to dead leaf speaks, thus cliff to sea.

For slow and slow that ship will go,

when the mariner’s trace is abated.

gracchus again on the horizon

A little turn at evening to the seashore seawards

then back drop sleep wake in the silence eyes that dare stay open

live old dream on crabs kelp solipsism index of immortality.

make me young, make me young, make me young

One would think the deep to be hoary.

Yet the tins rattled like castanets

and under me convulsed the mud.

wrecks pass without the sound of bells

The sea lifts, also, reliquary hands.

From black embankments, moveless soundings hailed.

Not the sad edge of surf but the sound of no shore.

in their jars the snail-nosed babies moon and glow

The sea whisper’d me.

The awakening blue and yellow of singing phosphorescence.

The bay estuaries fleck the hard sky limits.

still one shore beyond desire


15) but you are, blanche. you are in that chair!

Waves matching in inverse ratio the accumulating days.

A cat with an arched neck grooming its shoulder with a pink tongue.

A proliferation of laughing Buddhas.


globes of fire turn in mirrors, circled by rings of light

A pigtailed girl with pail and shorts digs in the sand with plastic shovel.

The slant of her back, head bent, studying pebbles heated by the sun.

Flat, round faces of seals in pyjama-sized shirts bagged for Goodwill.


their bare coffee-coloured feet motionless on the bare floor

Waves: Proof that a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.

Impressions left by bathers in canvas deck chairs.

Watchers crouching in the undergrowth.


eyes from forty firkins disentangling the trawler nets of being

Wave: An empty medicine bottle idiotically beating time on a shelf.

The sea moves her arms and legs with strings hitched to all the other arms and legs,

interlaced strands of time, gravity and all the rusted shipwrecks found by flashlights.


arms and legs of cute little ants queuing to get at someone’s pretty pills



16) what a waste of time

Waves: Space and time, space versus time, time-twisted space,

space as time, time as space, space pinched off from time.

The darkness cloying with summoning fragrance.

parades across the bridge with kinsmen and shriners and defecating palominos

Waves: Petunias through latticed balusters, threnodies of the nightingales.

Eremites examining themselves in concave shaving mirrors.

The station man with the whistle around his neck moving along the platform.

the night is bitter. the stars have lost their glitter

Bugs whirl and blunder about the streetlights.

Cemetery swans churn webbed feet into infinite depths.

Cuchulain lunges into the lashing, battles the ungovernable sea.

the moon sibilant with fans

Waves: Created and annihilated, created and annihilated.

Snoring and wheezing at many rhythms in a self-renewing chorus.

Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,

that time may cease and midnight never come


17) finn, again!

The sea smells of damp cotton, axillary tufts, and nenuphars, like the mad Ophelia.

Tears off a bathing cap and with a shake of her head liberates a torrent of hair.

Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us then.

no embrace opens but the stinging sea

Waves: Insignificant strokings by unremembered cold hands.

Strangers eating breakfast through a window.

An apartment above a dirty bookstore on Euclid Avenue.

there is nothing here that I am needed for

Waves: Shadows in surges of black geometry.

The oars crippled by reflection, the sunflecks rippling as strobes.

Tumbling the foliage, trussing the row from swerve of shore to bend of bay.

i have heard too much; i have been told too much

Waves moving, immobile, erect, her hands folded motionless on her lap.

Surplices flowing over cassocks. And perfumes. Never was I more alive.

The reticule with all the keys to the last gyzym of consciousness.

(smiles yellowly at the three whores) when will I hear the joke?


18) we’re all water in this vast, vast ocean

Waves: Every action containing within it its own repetition.

Every affirmation its own repudiation.

Bells on porches to call in the field workers.

the ocean arches its back and each layer bristles, hegelian

Waves: An ankle chain of gold lost in a strenuous tryst.

A girl crouching to palm a grasshopper.

The Amazing Kreskin and the Man they Call Reveen

always knowing what I'm thinking


All Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea.

To the deep pockets of indeterminacy at the rim of the carol-singing sea.

To the lens-distorted and irisless old men’s eyes of the sea

hand-carved into mermaid faces

Waves: the sparse gleam of a marble headstone

in a sombre cedar grove

hard beset upon the shadowy coast.

a former mr. smith in a hotel register in a nothing prairie town


19) i have had my vision

Waves: A drinking fountain in the park by a row of benches.

A bedridden old man correcting gallery proofs.

Cheap perfume hanging odourless in the Six Mile Pub.


our sound will be the sizzling night, stridulations of crickets

Waves: Winter birds busy at the feeders the girls had put up.

Pastels and creams and the pale blue of their veins.

Tensed fingers bunched on pencil stubs.

flagstones slippery with mist, veins of onyx ashtrays

Waves scarved and coat-wrapped, sighing and sneezing.

Impasto, dark inertia, the ghosts of their fathers.

Invisible ink on the walls of the minds of the maenads.

laying down her brush in extreme fatigue

20) “but what about so-and-so?" is still asked on occasion

Waves: Irreconcilable habits of thought

arrive into a wormholing of echoing galaxies,

each bearing trunks in separate carriages on the Orient Express.

a few are still interested in them

Waves: A woman waving from a tangelo-coloured oriel window

Her brown iridescent bare arms almost touching his face

in the gouts and glooms of the woodland.

her sad apostolic hands

Waves: Convergence of obsessions and nightmares on a moving labyrinth.

Beads and hems of passing prayer shawls.

Flat mummies of pressed anemones, drinking my liquor from an old fruit jar.

the minister’s daughter falling for a green snake in a dark paradise


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