Phil Hall

The Leap

 My back experiences the world
a world     I guess     in its way
 but would not recognize me    
we have never faced each other
 we go our own ways
I deny my father     I deny my son    
 I forget I have a back         

Severely backward
 or a ruined husk     wheezing
with no eyes or ears     no smell
 or taste     no patience or aim    
my back knows only a touch
 near to breaking
from kindness it turns away    

 blood means nothing 
family almost killed me
 I say gek     to Progress     in theory    
l’art des fous     I would emulate
 I even read books backwards     left-handed          
flipping     from glossary     to epigraph    
 from daidala     to pageantry    

but when I jump
 I do not jump backwards    
even if I’ve had it     with everything    
 I do not ride     down     backwards   
on my lummox     of a back’s     back
 I always jump face-first    
thinking     that ignored wing in the sea

 “the whole thrust of Western civilization”    
still has my trust     yep     that’s me     fully clothed        
 at Lascaux     so I have to kill myself    
I have to plunge     behind error’s exhibits    
 I have to set on fire     my 2 vol     Life of Sigmund Freud    
(thumbed once     desultorily)    I have to gnaw    
 my own slick knob-joint         

I will be buried     or burnt     face up    
 too     probably     even if    
each time    (like now)    landing     splat    
 on everything     I’ve had it with    
grrrr     & polyphony    my back     on my back
 I lose my face    I lose my trust    
& get up     & say I haven’t

[Ph. Otty Lake. 2016]

This poem is after The Bell by Tim Deverell, pictured below.



This poem is published in Vallum: Contemporary Poetry 14:1 in PRINT and DIGITAL! This issue also features work by George Elliott Clarke, Shane Book, Erín Mouré, Sonnet L'Abbé and many more! To order your copy, please visit our ONLINE STORE !



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