• Earl Fowler

Waves: 21-30

Updated: Feb 12

21) no jitterbug dancing

Waves: The littered rooms and the unmade beds of the storm.

A corridor of words, a purple canopy over a double bed.

Eyes peeking Kilroy style over their arc.

rallentandos along main street — one of a million main streets

Waves: Variously bandaged, snoring, raving, moaning men.

Curving banks of autumnally misted water.

Church steeples poised up and down all these autumn hillsides.

when we called out for another drink, the waiter brought a tray

Chairs squeaking, sighs and throat clearings.

Spasms penetrating every infinite series

slanting and colourless, pale and anonymous.


what, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?


Waves: She watches her legs twinkle against the sand, through flecks of sunlight.

An old man sitting in the sun with the yellow clots for eyes.

The second-storey men clambering up fire escapes to pocket their memories.

a pushing of chairs, institutional clatter of dishes and utensils on cafeteria trays

Upon the barred and slitted wall the splotched shadow of a heaven tree

shudders and pulses monstrously in scarce any wind.

Mail-order scarves and parasols, orifices no wider than sabre slashes.

no matter who you are, you never, ever, will get your fill



22) waves: chance frôlements of anonymous girls at vague parties

Waves: Underpaid, tired, bare-armed shopgirls.

Heads bent, pale napes and top vertebrae visible above wool collars.

None of your white hands or luminous strumpets here.

the insaisissable of wandering carnality

Waves: A tramcar jangling in the dawning abyss of the city.

Time slipping another abacus bead.

Forgotten sets of teeth in coffee pots.

he don’t say nothing, but he must know something

A river where buried jaguars lie.

Mary’s dress waving like a vision she dances across the porch

whose drowned faces are magical orange groves in a nightmare.

what a mishegas

Far, far away.

That’s where my heart is yearning ever.

Home where the old folks stay.

my father and an uncle perched on a fender, smoking cigarettes

Waves: Straight and rigid as effigies on ancient tombs.

The spanging of cold rain on crow-stepped gables.

See if you can sneak in under the shadow, too.

salty cries over the water, and nautical bells



23) waves: cinema kisses never completed

Tremendous moths walking on all sixes up window panes.

Reaching for their cigarettes.

Little heels kicking against canvas bags.

jessica in her sister’s hand-me-down pyjamas

Waves: Uncapped soda water fizzing in sympathy with metal monoliths.

Erlenmeyer flasks bubbling on the long and static afternoon.

A hundred bottles holding their light only briefly across the mirror-glass.

fatidic lascars swallowed by an oceanic mirror


The sea sizzles in their blue volts like a desert prophet.

It clucks and murmurs among the spokes and about the mules’ knees, yellow,

scummed with flotsam and with thick soiled grouts of foam.

tossed by hurricanes into the birdless air

Waves: Two queens playing on a clavichord with one hand.

Bribing servants and listening at doors in their white gauze helmets.

O sisters, cross the bridge with me.

past the poppies bluish neutral distance risen on violet haze

The still splashes on the dark pound.

One hollow the whole sea’s pivot.

The mirror cracks on all sides.

stare, stare in the basin and wonder what you’ve missed


24) nabokov says tropes are the dreams of speech


Waves: Laths chevroning pointlessly.

Snow clinging to steel cables.

Demisemiquavers and random variations.


a dead moth rattling in the sill

Waves: Windshield wipers in a rhythmic warp.

This or that dapple of drifting sunlight.

Rain dripping from the serifs of illegible legends on lintels and headstones.

grating sound of horizontal strokes

Waves: Groans the door emits midway.

Kinks in the past refashioned to fit new patterns of radiance.

Forkings and continuations that occur to the dream-mind.


the sundecks of white ships


I am as troubled as the sea.

A dark shape with no corners.

This is where the serpent lives, the bodiless.

lying with his shoes off in the barrel-stave hammock slung between


25) the low sun’s ardency


Waves: Sad, sullen streetwalkers with expressionless faces,

searching for keys in little black handbags

against aureate backcloths of sakarama screens.

green-golden eye-spots to starboard

Blanket-swathed old people reading on the promenade deck.

Words written in invisible ink, printed on leaves, loosed to the wind.

It’s always her in my lap and the receding road.

(everybody talks about everything now)

Waves: Undaunted smokers wrapped in blankets who rise periodically

to smoke outside — shivering, wet backs exposed by the shimmering,

wind-blown sheen of blue hospital pyjamas.

they have walked out in rain — and back in rain

Waves: A dozen watches ticking in a jeweller’s window.

An unconscious, blue-veined girl in an oxygen tent.

She is gone as the Edison Gas & Light men who checked the meters.

grandmother disappears when the final match goes out

Waves: A state of nervous stimulation.

The water slanting and swaying in his bath.

Imitating the slow seesaw of the white-flecked porthole sea.

the revelry ends with gatsby dead in a swimming pool

26) a descent along warped and rotting steps

Waves approach the inner sanctum through an enfilade of rooms.

Night rote. Aubade. Underland. City full of dreams.

None knows where lies the empty Sterno can of nameless things

of which the mystic sign gives forth such hints

The waves unfurl afar their shimmering slats. Asymmetric vees to the east where it’s dark.

The murmurous haunts of flies over webs of sandbars on summer eves.

pale phosphorescent hints outwalk the furthest city light

The ocean paws a cup of oblivion in one of those all-night doughnut places

peopled by those persons unknown we fabricate in dreams.

Well, there’s floodin’ down in Texas.

all of the telephone lines are down

As I get ready to move on top it’s morning already.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces between the stars.

I have wiped away moonlight like mud.

we should probably come up with a safe word

Waves: Men milling about at bierhalls.

Pigeons hiding among the catacombs.

Narwhals pulling ploughs.

calling the drowned girl’s name in blue-veined waters


27) o, you must wear your rue with a difference

Lost again. Where was I? Where am I? Mud road.

Fall on my knees crawl forward clink of chains.

I said to myself sit down.

stop rocking the boat

Waves: Whorled places where nothing begins and nothing ends

yawing sharply to the right, bearings shrieking, capriciously slewing and merging.

Water wheels, nozzles and weirs, flumes, funnels, splash reflectors.

to the stilled earth say: i flow. to the rushing water speak: i am

Waves: Blobbing perforations of sunlight, baluster spindles at sanitariums.

Precipitous falls at the edge of sleep into spider-webs of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Douglas Fairbanks or perhaps Errol Flynn scampering across moonlit minarets.

the bumps of dirt the Indians made to stand on when the river overflowed

There was a mirror behind her and another behind me,

and she was watching herself in the one behind me,

forgetting about the other one in which I could see her face.

and i’ve got a home on the other side, hallelujah

Waves: The ever swelling, always pregnant teachers who ate chalk

and were called by their toddlers whom they were obliged to bring to school

to wipe their bums whenever they had finished pooping.

hello. kinch here. put me on to edenville

Waves poking and tearing the texture of time.

In the swell and the fall of its folds,

the last butterflies of 1905 entering the glass revolvo.

waves: eternally recurring arms stretching out into that stone place

Through the evening mist a lone goose is flying.

Ink-blue wingtips flecked with night.

Of one tone are wide waters and sky.

incognito, lost, lacunal smile o voluptuous coolbreathed earth

The white-maned seahorses, champing, bridghtwindbridled.

The steeds of Manaan.

Wouldst thou learn the secret of the sea?

there’s a daisy. follow me on twitter



28) stratigraphy: splintered refractions of broken stars


Waves: Shapes and shades, arollas and larches, tumbling away.

Receding time, éboulements, screes, mountain roads

where rocks are always falling and men are always working.

he hasn’t felt the touch of hard wall since he started to tumble

Waves: Crumbs in little showers falling to the ground.

Small mountain birds, not venturing yet to peck their destined meal,

approaching within the length of half his staff.

keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them

Nothing but the Yangtze flowing on the edge of sky.

Words empty onto empyrean as riotous heaps of uneven slab.

Along smooth sinewaving of the light, the seashell hum of duration.

the wavenoise, herds of seamorse. they serpented toward his feet

Waves: The way some women can get out of a dress in a single motion,

crouching a little, clothed with the sun and the moon and scant undergarments.

The faint, steady chatter of the shucks in the mattress where they lie.

the plaster cracked and fallen in places

Waves: Two men coming down the hallway in their hard-soled shoes.

Wishes written on cigarette papers rolled into sacramental kefs.

Strips of insulation hanging in the morning fog.

waves: words trying to shape themselves in dreams

Waves: Two sisters on the bus, verdigris and caryatidic.

Waves: A hand coming out and fumbling about the knees,

dabbling into the shadow, wrist-deep in shadow.

our position is two seven degrees two minutes north

Waves: A man shaking a woman: “You little fool. You little fool.”

Scrims rippling like a standing piece of silk or nylon in the wind.

Overhead an arching hedgerow of trees thinned against the sky.

well, maybe just a cigarette more




29) boulders in streams slicing currents

Waves: Caravels indolently encircled by white birds of dreams.

Now blows the wind of the future at the top of the past.

The present an instant of zero duration, an idiot leaning backwards on waterskis.

you know, this used to be a hell of a good country

Waves: Miss Counihan’s hot buttered buttocks.

A nickel has a woman on one side and a buffalo on the other.

Two faces and no back.

tell me why it is those poor mothers stand there

Waves: Sixteen vestal virgins who are leaving for the coast.

Gipsy girls poaching peaches in the great whelk of time.

Footprints filled with ice, later taken out to sea, the ever-recommencing sea.

each tick followed by a tock

Waves: An impenetrable, thorny, living hedge.

Ruined cottages with crashed-in roofs.

The wind hammers against the walls and makes sweet moan.

oh lana turner we love you please get up


30) scylla and charybdis

Waves: A silken tent of coarse sea grass draped from the ceiling.

Wuotan and his mad army through white barriers of mist.

Silk stockings in one long fine crosshatching of light.

excavatory, immersive, contractions of the spirit

Waves: Uniforms of moiré men between windowless walls.

Submontane archways, grottoes, looming minarets.

Dun latticeworks from the nullity of cucurbitaceous epiphenomena

… drawn inexorably into the core of the eddy

Waves: Wandering Jews, ancient mariners, flying Dutchmen.

Robinson Crusoes, Sinbads and Ahabs pale for weariness

of climbing heaven and gazing on the likes of us.


all the dead voices, gestures of disgust

Waves: Prospero drowning his book,

the substance of which babble, babble, babbles like the solitary child

who turns himself into children, two, three,

so as to be together and whisper together, in the dark



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