• Earl Fowler

Waves: 31-40

Updated: Feb 28

31) waves: paradise broken, moulded and shaped

Waves: Lank human figures, rag-sorrowful in the river smoke.

Sepulchral cuffs in umbers and nameless earth tones.

Tier on tier of box seats all in the shadows.

dogfennel and bitterweed beginning to bloom in roadside ditches

Wave: A silk leg tossed lazily toe-in between two seats

in the row ahead. A flash of knees under the pearl-coloured frock.

The woman in the hijab stops to pick up a cobble.

there are thieves in the temple tonight

Waves: Fallen stone columns stained with ancient tobacco.

The great cry in Xenophon’s Anabasis: The sea! The sea!

Stars rain sun moon olly olly oxen free.

white hair’d shadows roaming like a dream

Waves: A mingling of colours at a festival.

Heaving and heaping.

Stacked mattresses of the dead.

images of tongues cut out and stolen talking drums

Parked automobiles twinkling on a vast lake of blacktop.

Tides, radio interference, damned little else.

Propped ladders and open windows of elopements.

they linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty


32) waves: on their backs, in the meadows and mountains

German males at puberty, watching the sky, yearning, masturbating, yearning.

Corridors long as the sea-lanes back to the green shoals,

slime stone battlements, a million ice points falling at a slant.

messages that weave into a net of inescapable information

Waves: The long rows of sick and dying faces.

Pretty Gretel waiting by the oven for her chance.

Weaving, unweaving, her eyes the colour of stagnant water.

an ill child breathing in weak, whistling gasps

Waves: A scavenging of shrugging, sliding gulls.

Malachite nymphs and satyrs paralyzed in chase.

A ballerina on her toes, thighs long and curving.

won’t you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff

Waves: A musing, swaying swoon of voluptuous ecstasy.

Brass cuspidors. Hurrying bellboys. People sitting among potted plants.

The gross breathing of a man at the other end of the wire.

beyond the zero

Waves swinging lazily in a pale nullity filled with myriad points of light.

The insects falling to a low monotonous pitch

as something black and furious goes roaring out of her pale body.

her dappled body always retreating


33) kenoma

Waves: Iron lovebirds perching on iron twigs.

Dark vortices in a shining filigree.

Winds radiate from the centre and gulls fly from the windows.

iron ivy sneaks in and out of the holes

Waves: Skins of glistening rooftops.

Froth of witches pushed into ovens.

Slamming of doors behind them.

sugar smears, flames, and the flakes of flames

Waves: Notions of wraiths or spiritual doubles.

Iron bed glossy white two foot wide all was white.

With hoar she at the top end dying forgiving all white.

a vastation into emptiness

The ocean snoring and choking and catching its breath.

Footsteps and voices on the slow, unhurried pavement below.

The raincoat hanging on the wall.

our wait times are longer than usual

Waves: Hands crossed on a paper-wrapped parcel across a lap.

The blue acrid air in which white men sit, spitting into the aisle.

An unlit cigar in a ringed hand. His elbow on a window sill.

tickets. tickets please

34) the white visitation

Waves lurching like passengers.

Wind-blown tongues of sword ferns rooted shallowly in the dripping outcrops.

Voices quarrelling bitterly.

reiterating, belabouring, plaintive above the insects

Waves: A burst of laughter in a shrill voice.

Air brakes in the street below the window.

The waiting room lit by a single weak bulb, tremulous in the ceiling.


in clonic clouds the face ivory pallor muttering lips

Waves: Invisible tattooing needles against the nervous window glass.

Self-enchanted chenille seizures in crotchets and hemidemisemiquavers.

Mirror metaphysics, motionless as any Vermeer.


viscid stencils and vermillion smears of leaves upon the sidewalk


Mrs. Littlejohn had been washing for some time now,

pumping rhythmically up and down above the washboard

in the sub-foamed tub. She stood erect again, soap-raw hands on hips.

sustained rhythmical jerking

Waves: Jumping from the top step to the sidewalk and back.

Insinuations and cryptic gestures.

Jitterbugging with fading-faced girls.

their breasts soft fenders for this meeting on the grey city sea


35) internal differences — where the meanings are

Waves: A discontinuous, non-causal succession of situations,

or worlds, or periods — scuffling a little.

A flow of no time propagating.

in the hour when the homeless move their cardboard blankets

Past and future meet at the beach.

A crumpled chiffon.

A twitch in the dropsical carpet.

spastic rotogravure grinding to a halt

Of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol.

Wonder ye at the fiery hunt?

Am I not the helmsman here?

bulkington! bulkington!

Waves: The universal form of this commingling of the toy monkeys and wagons and candy in sacks and roman candles of waking consciousness.

Dendritic, branching out, their shadowed hollows falling forward with the tide.

barren mirror altar of every plain girl who breathes

A crack in the orange shade of the illusion that one moment

follows another like wafted beads on a wafted string.

The plaint of a rusted well pulley; an attrition of self.


where’s bulkington



36) homorganic sounds

Ocean: Her long blond legs slanted, lax-ankled in taloned cork sandals.

Gutter trash, spatters of paint, clotted darkness, hanks of rope, afflicted light,

unread verses affixed to foam temples and power poles down crooked alleys.

the hum of their voices through the steady draft that blows through the door

Tree shadows rising and falling on a barred window.

Her face checkered by the shadow of the dingy grating.

A faint copper-coloured light upon the small, pale blobs of her hands.

trite nudes in kelp forests

Waves: Barely discernible tracks where wagon wheels had run.

Mud and thickets cluttered with dead leaves.

The turrets and blue waters, the sails and churchtops.

faille gown flowing beautifully

Waves: Norman doorways shaggy with wintering vines.

The serpent coiled in the teacup.

Plosives and fricatives steaming the windowpane.

a salmon egg flies out of Trout’s laughing mouth and into Maggie’s cleavage

White-crumpled waves written over in interference patterns.

The choppy ripple of passing headlights across childhood bedroom walls.

The dry whisper of spindles and walnut railings and newell posts.

someone breathing carefully. under the bed. watching



37) i mean it must be high or low

Waves: Japanese suicide pilots with the beautiful faces of misguided teens.

Androgynous twilight dissolving in wet gleams from the branches.

A man in his shirt sleeves facing the crowd, hoarse, gesticulating.

lock the back door, his wife said

The ocean — propped against pillows in a crimson corduroy jacket of sky like the dying Orwell on his wedding day — yawns behind her hand.

A curtain billowing snakemen, tattoos, flown-off crows and odalisques.

golden, evanescent, epiphanic specks that float above the water

Waves: Rainbow-striped dirndl skirt of satin.

Faces serene, unattached, bending over the balustrade of the sea.

Foaming among the black rocks.

all danaë to the stars

Waves: The foolishness beginning immediately on detumescence.

Single vibrations of seraphic and floral embroidery.

Sweeping in behind on either side, looping away in long helices.

buoys riding the swell

Breaths torn into phantoms out to sea.

Them that plants them

is soon forgotten.

a stone, a leaf, an unfound door, scratched and gouged by an ice age



38) brownian motion

Waves: A laying away of ironed sheets, dreamlike and telescoped

into rooms with the shades pulled down against the white sun.

Billy saw pink arches with azure draperies hanging between them.

the fierce dead glare of the patent lamp beyond the lean-to window

Waves: Turned pages against the fleeing seconds of irrevocable time.

Circumlocutions, periphrases, drowsing maidenhead symbols, dead verbiage.

Young officers vomiting among the zinnias.

galloping heels of a cossack holiday

Waves: Chiaroscuro wheels in spokeless blurs.

Ten thousand fading and tattered effigies

on ten thousand weathered and paintless doors.

the envelope was pink and had been scented once


Waves segmented as the slats of a folding hand fan.

The transom window above the door at 10 Downing Street.

The calligraphed writing of grasses or keloids or water slopping over eaves.

tray-holding waiters with ginger ale disappearing into faded, illegible star charts



39) eternity in love with the productions of slime

Waves: Closed blinds of the parlour windows.

Silhouettes of dancing couples moving athwart

the frogs and whippoorwills from lengthened shadows.

suitors on the veranda, doggedly and vainly sitting each other out

Night-time roads across the mooned and unmooned sleeping land.

Fireflies drifting above the creek.

Good kindling among the jetsam and the derelict.


trousers rolled to the knee

This is the hour when frogs and thrushes

praise the world from logs and rushes.

The music creeps by me upon the waters.


he keeps on rolling, he just keeps


Waves: Prehensile digits clawing lightward out of the wilderness

weary sheafs and ancient patents, meagre, fading, dogeared,

uncorrelated increments since Genesis, one vast ejaculation

of the astounding interconnectedness of the universe

Waves floored and roofed and windowed and slatted as louvres

dragging upward beneath the polar cap that furious equatorial womb

of the land’s alluvial chronicle in concentric whorls palpable on the sawn stump.

pea-brained amphibian heads and the dense pattern of fire-escape ladders

The space is theirs — the same shabby, two-lane blacktop — during an ebb,

and in its emptiness reminds we wave watchers of an old woman … shuffling,

or funicular trains flagging, faltering, failing up and down the mountainside.

the shine on a school of manumitted fish



40) waves: intersecting crevices

Waves: Unshaven work crews repairing sections of track.

Air brakes and buses grinding gears the next street over.

The sick and the maimed sweating in sleepless beds.

somebody upstairs practising on a piano

Waves: Drunks coming to the door, drunks and witnesses and revenants.

The sybaritic déshabille of her loose hair.

Indolent avalanches and tumbling séracs.

a green and orange dragger rumbling past the balcony

From the void, repletion. From repletion, the void.

Fast falls the eventide.

Downtowns reduced to Dollaramas and karate studios.

waves fan out to storm the bridges and point me to the stars


Waves: Symmetry or rhyme or sense.

Fate pounding at the portal.

A series of accidents, as are we all.


half of me is ocean; half of me is sky


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