Thursday, May 06, 2010

a 2004 collab. with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

The Temptation of St Anthony

Every five days
young boys would
make the four-hour
journey to bring him
food — locusts &
honey, a skin of water,
occasionally a small block
of goats’-milk cheese
wrapped in a palmleaf. On the
days in between
he would be offered
wine & fruit, a choice of
lamb or venison, sherbet
to refresh the mouth.

*

The demons
come down
the steps
in a line
towards
him. Dressed in
the uniform of
the Army of the
Tsar. Fixed
bayonets. He is
transfixed by
the one third
from the right, blond
hair gleaming in
the uninterrupted
starlight. Offers
himself up as
sacrifice, expends
his semen as he
is entered. His last
sighting is of scorpions
flowing from an
old woman’s eye. The
demons
go down
the steps
in a line
away from him.

*

He thinks

tranquility is a sea of torment
the mountains are moving away
he can hear the sea
s or er og horn use e t
he is taking milk from his mother’s breast
the stars are the eyes of succubi
waiting for him to fall asleep
of living as a lacuna in life
ived ro in ter ium nd d
lost opportunities
a koan is a trick question whose answer
can only be found in the mouths of wild dogs
perhaps a pillar would have been more preferable
p obj s a s q ue nap n abo
how when an apple is dropped whilst someone is watching
there is an instant when it is poised precisely
in front of the face
end r a in bo s o p ds b
demons are often real people when Christ is far away
on n faith enter en p
his plate is full of emptiness
if there was a city here it would be in flames
he is being dropped like an apple
e a er hymn p k urts
p rt d a "re rn" o t wa
ived ro in ter ium nd d
torment is a sea of tranquility

he dreams.

*

He had left
instructions
that he was to
be buried in a
secret location
so his body could not
be venerated. On
being told of his
death by the young
food-bearers the
elders came to find
that wild dogs had
torn apart & taken
his body away,
tempted by
the rotting flesh.


from poles apart by Mark Young & Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

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