Keats Somewhere or Other and The Persians in Europe: two poems by Alistair Noon

Alistair Noon


Keats Somewhere or Other


Turquoise torso with silver apples in your hands,
your skin all polished, a jewel behind glass,
your arms extend like a pair of seabed fronds,
as if you were stretching your slender shoulders
or performing Javanese temple dance,
your eyeless head thrown back, perfectly bald.

You live in the basement – but, what a basement! –
with a rapid reaction force of handbags.
No daylight falls to this gold-rimmed place,
its chessboard marble floor with darker streaks.
And all this time I’ve been eating green apples
and stirring jasmine tea with stainless steel.

So in what unseen workshop were you born?
Is there some resounding production line?
How many think your non-existent thoughts,
hold those silver apples, and make that shape,
stiff, blind, half-human figure with no mind?
Hold on, sorry, I’m going to have to take this.

Any idea where we are? No, me neither.
But let me cavort you down the long street,
down that line of shops wherever it lies.
Clifford Geertz will be swinging by later
to talk about tools and cultural meaning.
We were thinking of meeting in Happy Asia.


The Persians in Europe

There’s a socialist somewhere in the family,
or someone too close to the Shah.
Be neither the wrong revolutionary
nor an associate of the Tsar.

An approach to this group would rework
the Germans in the hills of Los Angeles
or the Huguenots on the plains of Brandenburg,
which annually melt and refreeze.

They breeze by with festival passes
or stand in the international line,
holding their lists of films in Farsi.
One’s waiting to see her home for the first time.

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