Blesok no. 44, September-October, 2005

The Ridiculous Shape of Longing

M.T.C. Cronin

The Ridiculous Shape of Longing

The words that tear out your tongue.
The burdens of your eyes.
The heart fists.
How tired thinking about black roses.
All the rose is red.
A little slaughter.
The second kiss that cannot forget the first.
Memory kneeling in a small field.
The field surrounded by trees.
A view of the cradle.
By now the womb is empty.
Piano slowing down.
Everywhere the future.
Looking through garbage.
Who dreams?
A song in sleep like a call of the soul.
A watermark.
Screaming what it does best.
Never repeated because it never breaks off.
Wearing the mask of life.
Even tighter at night.
At night there is a sea that covers even dry land.
To leap and submerge.
The earth wobbles with this longing.
Becomes every shape.
What runs through all tricks.
What doesn’t listen to the teacher in the self.
Birth of each wish.
Walking upside-down.
Arms full and overflowing.
No-one has written this.
What can never know satisfaction.
Just wanting.
Maybe to march across the sky.

Possible Cures for Beauty

Sleep faster.
Leave your memory in the war.
Love completely and perfectly.
With your poetry, override the moon.
Accompany the butterfly when it visits the flower.
Move remorse to the front of your stable.
Excise doubt from fiction.
Feast for a lifetime on the bite the ant took from the pear.
Keep trying close to your heart.
Remember that someone invented the violin.
Keep an eye out for stray heads with massive noses.
Gorge on the fluff of peace.
Feel happy and sad that nothing ever changes.
Treat fame like the ubiquitous spine of the soldier.
Rub someone in your eyes and split yourself open over a rock for them.
Reach the gamut and repeat repeat.
Shelter in isolation.
Fill your hollow flesh with things unproven.
On a clear night, look for a single star.
Leap up high cheekbones and jump!
Describe it.

Two Thousand Poems

Fate was never decided.
Two thousand poems later and still
the tip of its little finger remains unfilled.
You might have lived importantly
in a city or like the insignificant bucket
broken by the well in that dusty old town.
None of this matters when you have
not yet done what you came here to do.
Don’t ask the great loud voice what that is.
You’re a fool if you listen to the murmurs
intended for other parts of this earth.
Asleep in your three flowerbeds
or dancing around for cash
is all the same as a sun discussion
or reading stories on the sea.
You should enjoy this warning.
Cleaning up after yourself
is all God wants.

Sonnet Visiting at Night

My mother has a bad
sense of fairness

And my father a
rude loud voice

My brother has two new

And my sister a few
heavy cases

My cousins have each other
and my dreams a disturbing slant

My family has a lot to answer for I think
lying thinking in this bed at night

The night has a way of asking questions
And my lover has freckles on his back

A Fiction Reprised
(retelling Borges)

when the man journeys to the

the woman combs her own

when the man conquers

the woman feels her skull
turn into the moon

when the man climbs

the woman’s cries turn to
sweat on her lip

when the man sails his ship
into the bay

the woman discovers a grape
in her mouth

when the man leaves his

the woman smells honey and
water the same

when the man catches

the woman’s ears are filled
with the sea, all seven

when the man builds

the woman rests on her

when the man polishes his

the woman’s profile complains
to her

when the man points to the

the woman’s eyes change

when the man tames

the woman finds a rose for
her cheeks

when the man kills

the woman counts the years
lived by infants

and, at death, when the man
sees the outline, the image,
of his own face

the woman dying sees the
outside world reflected
in the floor by her bed

We All Live in Exile

As we live, it is always different.
Wind surprises us.
Our houses shelter us and provide targets.
Your shoulder is a poor shoulder.
It has many necessary fights to fight.
The fight of poverty. The fight of the full sea.
I recall it intimately. Shaking with laughter.
The only completely fearless thing is humour.
Love has no fear but is not of this life.
Remember the path and at the end of it?
Summer’s room, a world we never left.
That we could not leave even when taken.
Without our luggage. Without effort.
Taken from the table where we sat.
Like an orchestra, sitting as one.
You were my 420-year-old cello.
My hand always disappearing into the soup.
It was only a whisper that took us away.
A little cobweb from the corner.
We live and immediately live another life.
One far from here where we don’t know.
We don’t know who we are.

A Good Rage

Why so many unreasonable people?
A majority who are unreasonable.
Taking charge of themselves
as if they were cranky little bulls.
To us, the nice people, they are hideous.
They refuse to take a message.
They like the scraggy prickled weeds
that grow inside their skulls
by pretending they are roses and lilacs.
How much kicking they do with their feet.
How many roads they get lost along
with the misdirections of their tongues.
Don’t you just want to let them see
themselves for making you cry.
In another moment they think
they’ve got you annoyed for a year.
Imagine being like that.
Observant only of the walls of your pit.
Having a fear that’s so big
you decide to make it your world.
I’m going to ask all these awful people
their names and assure them
that they know how to squeak.
That mice have very small tumours.
The size to kill a mouse.
Look at them straining
in their piddling soft-skinned excuse.
Cross oily eyes.
At least a bull’s got a good rage.
These petty people remind me
that no-one will be here to mourn us
after we are gone.
So, after all, they relieve me
and I’m back to my business
with the vigor of two itchy fists.


It was a very quiet country
Where I lived
The president said
What to be governed by
If not a law
Can you see them standing in line
For love

My friends and neighbours
Made it clear to me
That they enter these places secretly
Their homes
But will usually come out
At any sound
They have never heard before

I just thought
It was a curfew
And wrote a book
Called “How to Deal with the Government”
I felt too easily hurt
By things
Moving too close to me

I started to feel
No matter what time of day
That it was late at night
And read the reviews of my book
With the feeling
That I hadn’t read
The directions on the packet

A month later
When I was a bestseller
They came to take me away
Light the corpse-candle I said
I’m about to be told
Of women and churches
And the souls of ever

The soldiers were careful
Not to make a sound
Were cruel and polite
As they helped me in
To a stretch limousine
Watch your step
said the youngest
All this trouble for the pit?
I asked

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