Flying Poems

Jaime diez



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.


 “Book!” “Book!” 

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, 

a medium-sized 

former Soviet satellite.


Jaime Diez is one of the most celebrated young poets currently working in Wellington, New Zealand.

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