Sunday 2 February 2020

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer: Idyll 2


What is the best style like? It’s quotable, each line.
A scintillating wine in purple crystalline
smells unassailably of an age-old still-life
and I would give my life to live just such a life.
Instead of which I hang like some peeled outer skin
and polish my gold frame just like a child. Begin
to wish I could shun situations that induce me
to express myself so haltingly. I hope profusely
that in an air-tight showcase I’m interred some day
as a complete, well-rounded whole. It’s a ballet
of impotence to make en pointe this whole endeavour,
on tip-toe, trip in one great curve and hell for leather
round white-hot coals of life that is not everyday.
True walkers walk through curtains, do so straight away
and stand as style. Give me a place to stand out clear
and I will shake the earth. Is that a cock I hear?
Perhaps I am mistaken. The whole world’s devised.
Each friend who laughs at me has acted, improvised.
The play’s producer sits upstairs and sells the soap
of all I know and fear and anxiously still hope
to the commercial channels. Time for a quick break,
we’ll be right back: ‘A mouth that can rebel’s your take?
Then join us rebels! For together we’re uniquer.’
With every remedy though I feel even weaker.
OK, there’s pay-back day. Scratch nail-scars in my head.
No woman have I promised sunny days ahead.
The light-brown flowers have never been so fine before
At chocolate bars the great beast now begins to gnaw.
The hems of my black full-length coat are wet and matt.
With claws stuck in a mouse is every cat a cat.
Time for a myth. For a Dutch company now say
they’re setting up a trip to Mars. The trip and stay
all-in. The sponsors are prepared to pay the lot
because it will be televised. Stories are not
devised by anyone, they are commercially
conceived and with due marketing are usually
a money-spinner. Heroes, like say Hercules.
Why nowadays he’s chosen by text messages.
A euro for each text. Perhaps it should be stated:
it’s one-way – for the trip back no one has donated.
Which of the fifty Argonauts had contemplated
that at the destination too their journey’s end awaited?
I’ve often levered boats along a desert trail.
It is my bottle-post which makes the ocean quail.
I hear a cock. Was this the one I heard before?
My words are just like packing ice. I’ll say no more
unless like some spoilt indoor plant you coddle me.
And where I’ve landed up I don’t know honestly.
Come with me off to Mars. I’ll quit fags if you do.
And once we’re famous, I will do the cooking too.
In prime time we will wave our mothers’ way.
And look, they wave back. Time-lagged images now sway
like summer breezes past our helmets and are gone.
Like the best statue I prefer to stand alone.
I live in isolation. That’s quote-friendly living.
In isolation in the sense that my chill striving
stands cold as marble in the chill majestic hall.
To me life is not what our life’s about at all.
I do not even know what I ate yesterday,
I’d like my name to name myself in some strange way.
Non-living can well be a form of sluggish pride.
In storm and wind someone as rock must stem the tide,
even from laziness, to just not have to move.
But keep on licking, dear. All’s fine. My dagger’s groove
all of your soft pink tongues will pierce and cruelly savage
I’ll get the consulate to pay for any damage.
I hear the cock. Again. As earlier today?
My smile is made of fur, my words are made of clay.
The seals are stamped and certified on my dry tongue.
If you should need to cough, I’ll give you my good lung.
Or we could cough together nicely like a choir
of airy angels. No words meet what you require,
I very often hear they say. Though in that case
words may do something else. Surround though not embrace
what’s quite unheard of. Were I to define the eye
of calmness in the middle of the storm, then I
in quite unheard-of wordiness would have to rage
around with buildings, cars, roofs, glass – a verbiage –
and the uprooting racket of snip-snapping wood.
The absence of all pain as joy is understood.
Do you believe me? Black the stars all are today.
Just grab hold of your apparatus and press play.
What shall I tell you? If I’ve ever learnt from you?
That’s the third time, I think, the cock crows doodle-doo.
The round-card girlies kiss me on my cheeks both bared.
My body seems quite strange to me. I’m really scared.

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