Three poems by Stephanie King

Silverfish

That the first shift is the silverfish is nothing to baulk
about. Behavioural stuff as she numbers the balls etc.
spins those harrumphs like trickets in o. oil—glyph!
Glyph! glyph! glyph! as were those crabs pitted in war
converged on technologies of mistral innovation
and really something. Probs with re. to the epilogue.
Some have—between the expansions of sugared waters
between the boils stuck with the needle, its alkaline trick
picked up this fritter, frog legs, the mucus of that snail’s
large foot and applied coldmeatsweats the way one
presses nine hundred tin cans,             nine hun dred
parasols empty, empty of savouries at least
heavy with milk breath and hot and already sour as thighs,
the exchange offered up to a certain grouch. Flicks.
Showtunes, the ABC, a parade of shagpile suits
on sodden men, men of different spans depending on
the day depending on the climate depending on the ratio
of rice to mice wink wink. What’s today’s soup?
he wants to know, can have his fly and drink it, thwarted
at snakes & ladders by the wood from that wheat
That goddarn wheat! But knowing what he knows
nay what he intuits from bicycles, tours of various terrains
is the value of mercury in the galleries of war out there.
Out there.

It’s this association game, this very game of
—vis-à-vis the ofs, buts, and ands—vis-à-vis this very labour
of causality—even over the edge with extra fast waters
tens of gallons, hundreds even, hundred-year-old maps
out with baby—that he misappropriates the first song
and with it scalds his doughy, flour-dusted scalp
with extra hot tomato:                                                                                                                                                                                                             Signor Calzone.
There’s a wolf now howls—nevermind the encroaching
blue—and a bit of scat, a tipple, a jam with instruments
of transit-lounge gloaming—nevermind—it was mars
that came first, a profusion of firsts but mars firstfirst
in that it didn’t try outlast, the crime executed in
the moment of conceit, complexes sent bilateral
down the generational rail, this way, that, not discriminating
but forgetting the film still thin on the water. A dab of yeast
is all—a dab—a daub?— a little clusterfuck is all
in the mile-high half-light; star babes for LEDs prick
what is essentially a soggy corridor, a swamp, but longer
narrow: a pinched bog: that veritable nursery
of Epcot dreams.

Take one anchovy, one, a caper, the diaper:                                                                                                                                             distinct from (if akin to) the rollmop blues

Huntsman

The sun burst not through the trees
not through the spun sugar fog
but through the glob of phlegm in your beard

That man
he knows his guns
knows his glocks from his cantos

Barabbas

               —and spot a note, dropped, to black.

Two grown men will spoon in a murky crowd
laminate  each  other   with  vows  of  chastity;
the  marketeer without  the  blight  of  trickery
in his infusions,   undressed like a Bill Henson
pre-teen, decadent, exacting ash:         EXALT
while butlers  raise  eyebrows,   gears go clunk
and  an  army  of   white   towel  minimalisms
emerges  with  bogus  blonde  wigs, cosmetics
heels  at  the  door,       a  hankie  for   erasure
so to mount a rescue—

Distil the bet.      Hit tables.     Yell to be heard.
You        want       the      hugest       motorbike
so storm the castle:        TAKE with a front-on
embrace the Black Label,    huff into the butter
shuffle papers / rub your nipplets / have a bath
a        mighty     scrub,      but where are your pants
                            good    Prince  of   Denmark?
is     there     anything     other     than     honey
and                                                            milk?

He’ll draw lots between twins:       globalisation
on the one hand,   fine crystal in the other (and
centre stage a stool behind which formalism sours
every            line             excreting            taste)
for these are the timeless stories,    the stigmata
the solar plex / set ablister beads on the abacus
Let       them       choose       their       Barabbas

Photo: Untitled by laurent Bertrais

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