The Poetry Kit





How-to Books





Who's Who





Christopher Kelen


they’re building a city of smoke

   there is nowhere beyond the smoke of our fires

   smogrise where the traffic starts
   I pledge the hours to this

   they’re building a city of smoke

   in reflections
   laid down like ointment
   a carcass of rust shifts with the tide

   endangered horn the best half of the cargo
   …that’s how the connoisseur sees from afar

   where wheels have turned
   they’re piling the weed
   mud into islands
   clogging the delta

   they’re building a city of voices
   hailing the city
   with acclamation

   in river drift of light
   ghosts loll

   out of the funeral wishes
   a city
   burning so slowly
   the harbour’s becalmed
   all lulled to a trance
   for the wheel’s
   ceasless turning

   city of streetcorners
   on attend le monde ou l’avenir
   which bright mark of eyes upon?

   brief pacing
   in a puff of breeze
   the town blows off
   like dandelion fluff

   where the skin had led me
   nails get in
   now it’s done with mists,
   thin, thick: they’re wrought here

   sacred wounds are inside, the scars
      all hallowed
   the trimmed beard itching to its chin
   lips set, eyes shut
   the shaved legs stubbly, they itch too
   the stockings sweat

   cities are built of
      what gathers the hunters, tethers timber to wish
   it all requires an audience
   in order that it mean

   and so the cast of sun aside
   perhaps it was too hasty?
       those lamps that burn without a flame
   …they are not long among us

   never count out the beast too soon
   that spoils the pawing in the blood

   at hazard only you’ll neglect
   the skin’s affections and its rights
   the complex drift of streets
   their secrets infinite if slight

   the town grew up round this clot of weed
      there was a need to heat the pot
      sun must have shown dry
      some instance of jungle

   this is the city of forts joined, charcoal fume trapped
   how many last breaths have their been in this cause?

   still they’re building
      I can’t think what could stop them

   this I think must be our ultimate cause
   and while I have breath
   I will witness

   smogrise where the traffic starts
   I pledge the hours to this




Back   Next