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Robert Garlitz and Rupert Loydell: Two Mirror Haibun
Rumour Has It | Lights Out

Rumour Has It

Sink into the comforts of joists and beams, pediments, mullions, architraves, keystones, corinthian capitals, clerestories, tensioned membranes, iridescent dichroic glass, blueprints, CAD projections, arches, guy wires, slates, spandrels and those little metal things the Inca used to join perfectly polished stones. Feed the dream of permanence. It reminds you of places your father took you to when you were young. As a butcher he saw structure from within the animal, cutting at the joints, through tendon and bone. Years ago I wanted to stand in the freezer with lights out, and now I learn that as much can be secured by the deep whiff of ammonia just at the crucial moment, the moment of the crux, the crossroad, you know, where the son meets his father. Not places you long to see, but if you did they would do things to you that nowhere else could. Here only shadow remains.

The surprise at evening was that dawn could be remembered. Something you can taste in the beer.

A definite feeling is caused by drinking. Immediacy and directness have started to fade from my work.

You can make connections or choose to chill out in your own way, your own cold unit even, but the old and familiar will still be outside. I emphasize line and open space, the fields and hedgerows we find when we finally leave town. Avoid the countryside unless you are going to do something there: isolation is both a blessing and a curse; the ghost of a crow the only trace of others in a long grey sky, a long dull day. Sometimes I am convinced someone else is living here, someone I will never get to meet. Not a ghost, not a delusion or dream; no, someone from my tribe, a fellow traveller, relation or friend. It is the only trace of other I allow, one among many in your absence. We are close enough to see everything but too far away to be heard; poetry is not really a profession, we have other things to do. We know everything.

Lights Out

The names we are given resonate with the past; a long friendship will be prepared for strangers and questions, questions which will be asked. Today's headlines will bring us back to our senses: we must shift away from technology into the the echo of unconscious thought; the hiss and whine of our own creativity. I cannot pursue this idea very far, but wish to thank all those who made the idea possible. Everybody else has slipped in to terminal obscurity. A lot of people have been doing a lot of talking; I always felt the music took off where words stopped: arcane vocabularies, strange noises and wildlife sounds. I know you are waiting for me to grow up; dramatic monologue is one way out of the dilemma.

Fictions collide; storm-damaged telephone wires and sun-bleached skeletons fill the streets. One day we will learn history again.

The tales strangers exchange on trains bring their own prophecies. Backyards with hanging laundry and roses become etched on the panes of forthcoming windows.

In the lobby of every building a secret trap door waits for us. Every so often it opens and we drop into market expectations that defy diagnosis. The darkness softens so some objects can be seen; we touch these lightly to thread through the possibilities. Scent can be a more certain guide, or the sensations in the kneecaps when we bump against armored stationery trucks. If only we could find a siphon or a colander, instruments for easing precise choice. We never know what to do next, where to turn. Some always want to trust the paint on a lamppost; others consult how the wax falls when cut from rare cheeses. I can accept that the future of naive metaphysics lies somewhere within the splat of a dropped crate of ripe tomatoes, but I still want the relief of being the monster I so often assume I am but can never really become.

Poets' Biographies:
  These poems are from a sequence of forty mirror haibun entitled Snowshoes Across the Clouds that Robert Garlitz and Rupert Loydell wrote over the past several months. One wrote a piece and an envoi and the other answered with an envoi and a prose piece, in chain effect, back and forth. Loydell is in Exeter, UK, Garlitz in New Hampshire; they did these via email.

Robert Garlitz has published work recently on Slope, three candles, Tangents, and in The Lucid Stone and Centripetal. He teaches English at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire and is an abstract painter. His essay on Robert Lax will appear in October in the Stride Conversation Book, Robert Lax: Speaking to Silence.

As well as a poet,Rupert Loydell is the Managing Editor of Stride Publications and an abstract artist; he has just been appointed Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Warwick University. He recently published A Hawk Into Everywhere, a collaboration with Roselle Angwin; an individual poetry collection, The Museum of Light is forthcoming from Arc.

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.