ditch,

the poetry that matters

Christopher Crawford

Christopher Crawford was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied Mechanical Engineering and has worked on various seismic exploration vessels.
His poetry, fiction and translations have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Evergreen Review, The Cortland Review, Envoi, Rakish Angel, Ekleksographia and the anthology The Return of Král Majáles: Prague's International Literary Renaissance 1990-2010.
He lives in Ho Chi Minh City.

O’Hara at the Beach

                               at Fire Island, the sun already long gone
            down, perhaps he heard the low murmur of lovers laughing
beyond the dunes, the sand muffling the sounds they made, perhaps he lay
                                                     down a moment, exhausted suddenly
                             or exhilarated for some reason, the sky
for example, and scratched his head and found his fingernails
                                          full of smashed and powdered sea shells from his scalp
and laughed one last soft laugh, he was playing hide and seek with himself among
                                                     the tall cliffs of the beach and imagined New York        skyscrapers
                 and the boys back there in the bars still sinking
                             sundowners at 3 in the morning and him out here, the sea out there
breathing in and out behind the darkness like a jazz singer, her lips
             on the mic , the sea out there
                                like something being torn in half
                         and the sand
muffling what he couldn’t see coming
                                    through the rippling boulevards of the beach at night
                         on Fire Island
where the sun had long gone down and the fire
              just out of sight, coming toward. 








Divorcee Disco Music

...like a man who has cut himself off from the soil and his roots among the people...“
F. Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground.

An eye,
An eye at the end of a tunnel,
A green eye with popped pupil,
The black yolk leaks an inky thread
Through the iris.
A flawed eye,
A freckled eye,
A sick eye that guesses.

An eye that chooses
But always chooses wrong.

On the edge of town
A flap of skin and a polyethylene bag
Have a fistfight,
Whirling and punching their way
To hang exhausted from a barbed wire fence.

A red-haired ear weeps in the dirt.
Oily cinders make a soft place for it
By the roadside

While off the coast on a luxury liner
A pig‘s ear sits down to eat bacon
At the breakfast buffet

And in the suburbs
A rigid arm goes out for cigarettes,
Walking on its fingers,
And never comes back,
And is sighted for months after in Melbourne,
Guyana and Istanbul
While the real arm lies
At the bottom of the ocean.

Now the elbow softly bends
With the sway of the kelp.

A blind nostril stuffed with earwax
Listens by a hole, a mine in the earth--
An old gramophone record or

Thunder or something
That sounds like a woman’s laugh
Lives down there.

 

 

 
A Whistling Sound

From the North Sea oil fields
comes a song of fern           holes of the sea      
and the holes voices singing                                         and what would you 
have them sing                     oh you wouldn‘t
                                                    have them sing         
                                
                                                  you wouldn‘t remember        
when you      or perhaps it was I                      or all of us sang           
in the halls of the great schools that sank                       sang in the smallest
voices we had      
                                          
it was you and I and all of us       jumped before we knew we had and sang
       as we fell                          of the great schools of the sea           

                     of the deep blue fern                    of holes
                   
and of a whistling sound                  we could take for a voice if we wanted






Smoking Nonsense
            
             The silence between
                                         two men
                                  in a car
                                         approaching
                        young female                                    
                                         pedestrians from a distance
                             the silence
                                         broken
                                    finally
                                         by my father
                               who says
                                         quite quietly
                        nice from far
                                         but far from
                                      nice
                                         and then on reflection(eyes
 in the rearview mirror)says
                                         son
             all the girls are nice
                                         once a man has passed
                            his fiftieth
                                         birthday
                               the youth
                                         the girls have got
                           in their skin
                                         means
                they‘re all beauties
                                         the youth which you have
                          recently lost
                                         as I see it now
            you‘d better stop that
                                         smoking non-
                                     sense

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