Saturday, 13 February 2010

A poem by the Flemish writer Erwin Mortier

Augustine’s Confession
(book fourteen)

Long have I read man
thumbed the registers of the eye
read the dialect that governs arms
legs peritoneum –
and the binary code of sex
and the tectonic urge that on a counte-
nance makes continents quake
cleaves the masses there turns oceans
of silence red, to ice. Long have I plunged
myself into man among the canopy
which their confusion of tongues erects
eaten screwed like a hermit
read my way through the flesh of man
with the malleable dictionary
that shrouds me. My vertebrae
are still grinding through the alpha-
numerical thrashing. What then

is man am I that wandering Babel
this contrary concert? I trembled
when I read my hypotheses my lemmas
without lock I felt the dread. And found

Thee. Placed Thee behind my lines.
God plug in my bath my
close-fitting tub. Then secretly

peed in Thee.

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