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April 12, 2010


The escaped zoo is itself a prominent feature, first invented here.
It will be franchised to redevelopment committees
in the places it will work least well, then disappear.
A wild and hungry vulnerability
that turns and bites when it is cornered, and turns and craps when it is alone.

The inhabitants have discovered a new country in which to be discovered,
new selves to keep them warm
in the stolen hay. The escaped tiger, the escaped elephant, the ape
that has escaped, huddling up between the walls of the escape
and the deep pounding of their hearts.

It is here I would have drowned in the mud,
but for the bubble of my breath waking me up. Where,
returning from a dinner party I stand in my own hall listening
before I turn the light on and peer around the wall.
You cannot stay without interrogating the mind.
It is how I imagine East Germany. And parts of the brain
fellow demons.

A boy is standing in the corner. No, he isn’t – this is the zoo of escaped animals.
You write in the manner of a paddle being utilised for fending.
Writing as if the sentence were a head being swung
from one member of the audience to the other.

Enough for the mother and the brother that is yet to be born,
the writer of obituaries and the land dealer, the layman who bends to you
and begs to weep and away from you in revulsion, and the modernist who may not bend
for all his pages, lest his hard back break: the boy means something to him too, no doubt.

A wildness we acquire over long bus journeys, a wildness we acquire
towards the shelf we have banged our heads on. Leaping to rip from the wall
the self that has been too drunk too many times,
and not witty enough. The apartment leaped at from around a wall.

The water trapped in a weir. Water itself, for the whole of the long wild sea,
vast which shivers as it freezes. The wildness acquired by the voice
of the boy whose voice breaks in choral practice.

The wildness acquired in the quietness of the choir.
Wildness where you cannot stay, but you stay
and wildness fades. Wildness acquired by the streets you know well,
relieved of their names. The dog nosing the wilderness, the wolf scarring the door.


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