If you throw a mustard seed
to earth that doesn’t take
then who will have the blame?
In the parable it’s the ground’s fault.
But what if it’s the seed’s fault?
What if the seed is dead?
The problem with the
parable is the either or.
It’s the ground and it’s the seed.
The ground is fallow and the
seed is callow and the marsh is
mallow. Or: a loveless heart
will make no syzygies. Lovelorn
spheres of seed and earth hum
consonance in heaven.
That sound is silence here.
We hear a voice unmet.
Parergon of Animals
Te amo James Dean
Said the note she
gave to me,
wrapped in the reliquary hair of the saint
she knew she’d be to me
after ten minutes in 37D.
The homunculus is bright
white and full of life.
He’s my son. I am done.
This is the terminal hangover.
He runs over with a book he’s pulled and
dives cannonball at my head. It’s the
Pisan Cantos. I peel him off and
try to read what’s there. It’s too
late for hope now but I hope
this canto’s wise and analgesical:
“I trust they have not
Destroyed the old theatre
By restaurations, and by late renaissance
Giribizzi, dove è Barilli?”
What the fuck does that mean?
Instead of asking, he flashes me
the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen.
To be a father is to lie a lot.
He knows it and I know it,
But his smile’s sweetness
towers over all the
pissant pageantry of Pisa.
It doesn’t ask for lies.
Then he throws the cantos at the wall
and nuzzles my face until we are
a minute back in time, asleep.
A Passing Out Parade
And you will mumble in the forum
while your cousins gibber in the sewer?
Why don’t you wait til sunlight
brittles up your sternum, out
your skull and stirrup?
Will little bones make quorum for the worms?
No sods, no germs, no talk of minyan terms?
Closing in, the fireflies shoot blood with gold.
They glister rhapsodies in the sewer way:
distant echoes, descant hearsay.
Why is nothing happening in the senate?
Why are our senators not legislating?
Because the barbarians are here today.
What laws can senators make now?
The barbarians are here and they are legislating.
Why did the God-Emperor
sit down left of the sewer grate,
in state, bleeding from his thumbs
skinfulls of rancid blood, of hate?
Because the barbarians are here today
and the God-Emperor is soft with love.
He has even prepared a treaty to present
that praises with the highest name--“myself.”
Why is every waking object worked in gold?
Because we’ll see barbarians today
and gold dazzles them we’re told.
Why don’t our speakers come out
and speak? Scorpions outspeak them now.
Word is that sunlight makes our speakers sweat.
Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so fast?
Why are you snuffling home, all snot?
Because night has fallen and the barbarians are here,
though those back from the border today
say that more were passing out than coming in.
Lucky for Me
Granite counter, I love your speckles.
Feckless face, I love your freckles.
Don’t tell me what you cost in shekels.
A spinster put you where you are.
Blue called her Yale’s fundraising tsar.
Tsarina ,Black said, was “sicker,” “far.”
The financial crash made her less rich,
granite worthless as a lazy stitch.
I see the rock and think of Popović.
That lanky, Croat motherfucker.
Foreign Ivo, bent elbow, chucker.
His lawyer dad worked as a trucker.
Did we want to play soccer ever?
Only the English poofter, Trevor.
Ivo scared us. He was almost clever.
And you knew it wasn't really Ivo
the Balkan wars gave the heave-ho.
His dad was the ghost on the pivo.
Did the falling granite fuck
him up? No. In Oz he has a truck
or trucks. Kid was sad but full of pluck.
Ivo Popović sailed through the crash,
buoyed up by fuck-all family cash.
The tsarina’s granite burned to ash.
A Serpent’s Tooth
I left a good, green country
to break my mother’s heart for sport.
The country came to me walking,
seven summers after I flew away.
It was nothing to me before.
Odds on, a pebble said,
that island’s clouds and spinifex
have more eloquence in them
than anything there’ll
ever be in pissant you.
It’ll come to nothing,
how many continents
you end up going to.
Before I left I was waiting
for a ski-lift when my watch
struck two to three.
There was a tall man
standing next to me,
a working man, a farrier,
as in built like a fucking tree.
It was a bad day for skiing.
The snow was warm and
the snow-gums were
bending in the wind.
Rain rolled down
the farrier’s beard.
like pebbles on a rill.
His kids screamed bloody murder
‘til his wife shushed them still.
‘What are you thinking, darl?’
Darl rolled his eyes down the cloud
onto the bright green prickles
in the snow below.
“I’m over it,” said he.
And in the national dailies
they can still write
redound, cenotaph or resile.
Or Sofia, without
the capital of Bulgaria,
former Soviet satellite.
Jaime Diez is one of the most celebrated young poets currently working in Wellington, New Zealand.