07 August 2012

Tuesday Poem: tusitala of white lies, by Iain Britton

a million blackbirds

      fling full stops at the horizon

but who do I prefer to believe –

  the lady in black feathers

           who owns and occupies

                   a fig tree

or the slothful bugger

     who lives in the letter box

posting mail to himself           

          or the toilet roll author

                    of Kingdom Street

           the tusitala of white lies
                    of uninhibited wafflings /       

the view from here

            is global / inviting

                   extinct frogs

       continue to purse their lips

to chirp (bird-like) through solitary séances

                 the moon’s /          a cold lump

stuck hard

and helmeted

              but I prefer              the brunette

                       her feather cloak

                    her moulting shadow         her strut

          I coax her to come in

               share the dilated vista of another’s reality

I’m the tourist guide bus driver jesus janitor / the son
reorganising the future footprints of a family yet to cement
its language in stone in grubby layers broken like old teeth

another thing?

I walk through my house every day

to the sound

                of water music

                a forest shuffling its roots

                doors opening shutting

                a mango melting at the altar of my mouth

but then

               not all is at right angles

                             all isn’t the perfect hideout

                          for this fresh-air junkie


               a dreamtime jaunt
               an astral flight /    
               with no strings dangling

loose-limbed haloes

                       break down

            reviving an animal magnetism

      I retreat into the hood of my consciousness

                      groping for the lady’s


             her tightening grip – this flesh

                         and blood

                               mix of polarities

Credit note: "tusitala of white lies" is the title poem of Iain Britton's latest collection, a poetry pamphlet published by Like This Press in the UK. It is reproduced here by permission of the author.

Tim says: Iain Britton is a fine New Zealand poet whose work deserves to be better known. I interviewed Iain in 2009 for this blog, and since then, he's continued to have success publishing his work both in Aotearoa and internationally, as his bio shows:

Oystercatcher Press published my 3rd poetry collection in 2009, Kilmog Press my 4th in 2010. The Red Ceilings Press and the Argotist have recently published ebooks. A full collection with Lapwing Publications is out now, plus a pamphlet from Like This Press. Beard of Bees (US) chapbook in now online. Forthcoming  - poems in Peter Hughes' Sea Pie: a Shearsman Anthology of Oystercatcher Poetry. Also, Department Press and The Gumtree Press will be publishing collections later this year or in 2013.

The Tuesday Poem: Check out today's hub poem, and all the individual Tuesday Poems linked from the sidebar to the left, on the Tuesday Poem blog.


Penelope said...

This really woke me up! Vivid imagery such 'a mango melting at the altar of my mouth', and the way that the poem doesn't slide into easy interpretation makes it demand several readings.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Penelope - Iain's poems often require repeated readings, but I find they are worth the effort.