• Earl Fowler

Waves: 41-50

Updated: Mar 15

41) kraft television theatre

Waves emanating from the leader’s ponderous fist pump.

His slow, theatrical tread into slow, exaggerated facial contortions at the microphone.

Writhen, reticulated forehead veins the colour of ink: Ressentiment for Sale.

make offer: perfect business opportunity for retired couple

Waves: Improbable plots played out in a monochrome world.

Cracked hands clutched together.

Irascible exhalations of the herring fleet.

would I be able to keep hold of my wife’s hand as the inflatable boat overturned?

Waves: Four broad diverging avenues straight as plumb-lines.

Offices of lawyers and doctors and dentists, flickers of bridge girders

and the mixing of tenuous clay and mud to chain-mail them all together.

trimming and notching and dragging them out

Waves: The flâneur as passionate spectator.

A weary hitchhiker with sad eyes who keeps reappearing.

Old slapstick routines with swinging doors.

men marching through the streets with tiki torches and virulent chants

Waves: Bobbing lanterns of old-school fishermen seducing anchovies into nets.

The ruffled wrists of a half-artist, half-boulevardier

confounding seething with motion and motion with progress.

her yellow cotton dress foaming like a wave

42) waves: the wretched seas are full of temptresses

Waves: Successive layers of calcimine and creosote and whitewash.

The air thick with incense and open closets of celibate vestments.

The curious props by which the world of memory and thought exists, sustained

in gestures of ardour and expectation and trouble and forbearance

Waves: Tears filled with swagger and self-worth and plastic and cognizance.

An oncoming spidered windshield that has seen too much for much too long.

No end to contemplation, no time limit for action.

women carrying red pitchers to the bank of the nile


Waves: I saw her today at the reception.

Motion to nowhere, energy expended on nothing, purposeless activity.

The damp piercing me through and through.


the monotonous rain, the tearful sky

Waves: Faces of intaglio women with eyes cast downward.

Sailors on pinball machines.

Bells ringing, flippers thudding, yellow half moons of sweat at each armpit.

outriding lamps on boats out at sea on a rough night

Waves changing shapes, smooth as Persian ceilings, the straps galling their shoulders.

Straps that X across the seductive lean back of the sea.

The slow laborious plaint of laden wagons into the trodden dust.

erotic trances of bodies under a drawn sheet

43) the last good kiss you had was years ago

Waves: Charwomen on their knees, pushing pails before them.

The creeping ridge of dust and trash in front of the broom.

Remembered motions of malleate hands of mist.

little arms reaching out of the grave

Waves: Oracular ghosts who dwindle on pin-legs.

Borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Sailing over a cardboard sea.

the sleeplessness of snuffling armadillos with their rootless teeth under the mooooooon

Waves: A linen closet for moonbeams.

The angle of the lamp that glows in the window of the hermit.

Wolves sharpening their claws on the granite slab outside the doorstep.

the do not resuscitate sign on the door

And the soul itself, were there such a thing, an inflated empty sock,

a solitary song of string-tie mantle in a kerosene lantern

when what is really needed is an unbroken line of klieg light

capable of burning off the haze along the shore

Waves symbolic in loose robes.

The rise and fall of this sentence.

The menace of a breaking fin.

words that have laid dormant now lift, now toss their crests


44) i learn by going where i have to go

Waves: The infinitesimal creep and creak of ungreased wheels.

A barrier already straining, bulging, bellying, imminent with collapse.

Susan seeks fusion in the natural world, with trees and fields and wet grass.

losing all sense of motion, weightless and immobile upon the air

Waves: A continuous iron chain looping from wooden post to post.

Endless unendable furrows of mud-chinked log walls in a tideless backwash.

The wash and glare of a neon sign diagonally opposite the mirror in the motel.

the frail and useless girl musing in the blond mist of her hair

Looks like she just can’t quit thinking in incessant, recurrent dips and crests.

Forest currents meeting those cooled in a thousand glassy mid-ocean hollows.

Barnacles crunching under hard soles at dawn like ice and snow in February.

diaphanous, transitory, the minutiae of steel blue leaves on sea holly

You know: I was not. Then I am, and time begins, retroactive,

it was and will be. Then I was and so I am not

and so time never existed.

where it was, there i shall be

Merging almost without demarcation

with the roiling spittle-frothed debris-choked water.

A city of mirrors. A wraith. An apparition.

a phantom spectre spook

Waves: Unloved infinities cancelled out by other infinities.

The seminal groaning of box springs.

It all smacks of mathematical trickery.

right leg right arm push pull ten yards fifteen yards

Waves: Grooved Solomonic columns wreathed with flying angels.

The dirty dishes of strangers piled in hotel hallways.

Cognitive disintegration of the swelling fruit of incoherence.

firefly signals circumscribing the reservoir


45) it was a monstrous big river down there — sometimes a mile and a half wide

Behind the stern he seemed to see trees and sky rushing past.

The water purring just one inch beyond the frail planks.

The skiff struck, spun, struck again.

the woman lay half in the bow, clutching at gunwales

Waves: Sun flecks and lacy shadows skimmed over his legs.

Upside down conifers rippled in the wash basin of her adolescent years.

A baptism by cowboy-booted bohemians and unproductive truants.

the vast solitude to which the tide of things has borne them

Waves: An old man on a bench, feeding gulls and blackbirds from a bag.

Sleeping under hedges and peering for eggs through blackberry brambles.

Thick strokes moving, one after another, beneath the surface.

i dance. i ripple. i am thrown over you like a net of light

Now the cock crows like a spurt of hard, red water in the white tide.

Bubbles form on the floor of the saucepan, said Jinny.

Bats lurching madly from under the bridge where we stand.

gardeners sweep the lawn with giant brooms

The skiff moves in a nimbus, an aura of grey gauze.

A smithy smothered in jasmine.

The amplitude and animation of great trees

cloud-ravelled in some incredible wind


46) waves: the entrance to the tunnel is shaped like a parabola

Nothing to see but trees and water and solitude.

Long and sluggish lines.

A lighted threshold at the end of a narrowing corridor.

tree beards of moss and lichen and fungus

Waves: A road dipping and humping again.

The skiff now travelling forward now sideways now sternward,

ebbing and fluxing phases of anxiety and the impotence of grief.

the three o’clock waste that presses, oceanic


Waves: The soft wax of consciousness between pressed hands.

Tattered pieces of turned-up maps, abandoned to the rigours of sun and rain.

Tongs against the formless, symmetry abolished, aquiver with gulls.

parvati embracing shiva with her legs around his loins


I heard the trailing of the garments of the night.

The stars on her body bright stupid confetti

like the lamps of air when night walks forth.

unbraid her tresses in the sky, a plot of garden ground now wild


47) waves roam and fall into the ocean, neer to be found

Waves and the Abyss.

There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim.

Smoke roiling in slow copper-edged gouts.

roundlets of live light

Waves: An assortment of spare keys hanging from brass hooks.

The remains of a once-gilt filigree of cornice.

The twin lines of the levee parallel unbroken floating threads.

you ain’t never this close to the river without knowing it

Waves: Washing her face and arms over the old-fashioned basin.

The sleeping child wrapped in a faded tunic.

Inland and sea-coast we go.

our swift ordinances on their way over the whole earth

The sun makes oleaginous spots on the linoleum.

The countless masts, the white-shore streamers, the lighters, the ferry boats.

A fiery dress, a yellow dress, a fulvous dress.

children throwing stones at cresting, frothing spasms

I dream of plants that flower under the sea.

Vinous, amorous arms of living barnacles waving green banners.

Stalactites swinging green chairs.

tide swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown

No serene minnow but a vortex of cognizant pupil

in the yellow stare spinning to blackness while he watched.

Go to sleep you little baby.

she’s long gone with the red shoes on


48) the red and blue strobes bouncing off all the windows on the block

Waves: A floppy hat (hanging behind her back from an elastic).

The whore in the pink ball dress who drank the laudanum

and the cowboys taking turns walking her up and down the floor.

the taut, nacreous silk of mlle larivière’s open sunshade

Waves like startled cats flushed from under bushes.

Crawling up the rutted, wheel-choked lane.

Halting in mid-bar, as if remembering other shores.

the risible, dark wind chucks and murmurs in the open door

At home, the waves knit white socks a mile long.

Laid out side by side like copy books on a baize table.

We hear them booming.


just a half a mile from the mississippi bridge

Each breath shallower and shallower and harder and harder

and nearer the top of his lungs,

dull, fat Cerberus wheezes at the gate.


last christmas, a man was drowned sitting alone on a bench

49) ed hickey was a little spiffed this evening, or could I be mistaken?

Yachts creak on mirror berths

in an immense empty pie-dish of blue willow pattern.

What is there except the weather?

all of you up in the towers, please come down

Steeping sweating in the light of my lamps he murmurs of darkness

can he be blind he must the great blue eyes he opens sometimes

and of a companion I see none in his head the dark the friend.

dickon! another coal for my pipe as i water the horses

Waves: The stereotyped transience of rooms in assignation houses.

Tearing up the miry sleet and thawing snow, as if by a waterwheel.

Brief movements of the snout would seem to be eating the mud.


the immediate sibilance of rubber heels and starched skirts

Waves: Long pathways of necessary sequence by the inward light

which is the last refinement of energy, capable of bathing even

the ethereal atoms in its ideally illuminated space.

oyster shells oscillating sharply

50) please wear a mask for your safety

Waves: The small grey hours between the shallow sleep and the first pill.

An expanse of water embraced by the blue dissolution of the shoreline.

The snores coming from the governess’s room.

a drove of bridleless horses on an empty plain

Waves: A woman taking garments from a clothesline.

The mat white of her neck through the black bronze stream.

The woman and baby sleeping in the skiff as of old.

a pirogue tied to the foot of a crude ladder

The crooked channel like a voluted thread of ink.

A cloud of mosquitoes whining and whirling

threadlessly … from bank to blank.

so we beat on, boats against the current

Well, there’s a high-flying bird flying high up in the sky.

The black shallow slumbering sound without surf.

Small waves slapping and whispering at the hull


the ineffable hebrew name that gentiles write as jehovah

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