From HELLENIC POST
Though the zephyr starts with a far-off wingbeat,
cyclones buffet butterflies' stained-glass membranes.
Wind from Europe tugs on a grassblade, holding
hard to the mountain
Poseidon leapt from to manage the Troy game.
Concrete columns guarding the death god's temple,
warship grey, the flaking emplacements – gunless
sights that would swivel –
target dolphins. Walls have the scent of goat's piss,
ancient radar spins in the air like wind-cups.
Airborne beetles, battle-striped wasps, are grasping
thorns and tall thistles.
There's a listening post here that needs patrolling,
round its silent wire. But atop some tarmac
the Greeks have placed, as if for a campfire, hammered
stones in a circle;
strewn inside it, red-dabbed and black-dabbed pebbles;
round it, chalked up petals, a pinkish lotus.
Ritual site for alcohol, love – take cover!
Breathe in the bushes'
violet stench, the hanging cathedrals bored police
take an interest in, at the site where climate
holds its wild all-nighters, where waves pop round and
tidy the islands.
From HELLENIC POST
You are the couple screaming over prawns,
the dancing beard and two brunette lieutenants
frowning and grinning at mics,
two mums whose doors are open when a neighbour stomps up the stairs with two burly men, an exchange ensues, and the credits unroll to heavy metal.
You are the cartoon kittens bouncing about a multimedia deal,
a white man with a white moustache skyping with his Afrolook grandson,
the sparkling toothpaste and glistening shampoo,
a half-thousand euros to win, the husbands to find,
the shadows bouldering the mountain.
You are the pony-tailed athlete sizing the long jump,
the blue-suited presenters and experts, a pile of supersize euros – “Merkel”, “apocalyptico” – the shimmering circle of stars,
the shapely contestants on 'Blackout', “What scares you?” – “Spiders!”, “Snakes!”, “Sharks!” – before the woodlice, centipedes, dripping meat, the infrared frights in the dark.
First-time birds croak songs
as dawn chomps into our laptops.
Jackets dangle from lamp-posts,
heavy with hints of air fronts,
smiles stick to their totem poles:
after the all-nighter,
the public colours that budded in suburbs
as high tides of newspapers shatter on the streets,
and presenters flock out of the clouds.
Roaming teams do summary interviews,
the producer's clipboard like a shield,
the cameraman wagging his bazooka
and pulling his sound man by the lead.
They've numbered the paper voices,
the observers have left like a cavern of bats.
Everything's taut as a lampshade,
as percentages dig in their heels.
The economy pulses through the ground:
the lemon price appears to have been crucial.
Turnout was strong among squirrels,
but after a surge in the air
there was a swing to the east in the birches.
Pigeon factions bend branches to their will.
Abstaining from glass and iron,
I received the infrared info
and voted for a visible wavelength:
exit polls show I had the munchies.
The coverage a wind farm, blinking at night, or
invisible, derelict mills and engine halls.
Weather resumes, as a coalition of clouds
begins to shower policies.
Copyright © Alistair Noon 2018
Alistair Noon's most recent publication is QUAD from Longbarrow Press (2017). He's also published two collections with Nine Arches Press (Earth Records, 2012; The Kerosene Singing, 2015) and a collaboration with Giles Goodland (Surveyors' Riddles, Sidekick Books, 2015). Concert at a Railway Station, his translations of Osip Mandelstam, is forthcoming from Shearsman in September 2018. He lives in Berlin. A collaboration with Giles Goodland appeared in Molly Bloom 2, and a translation from Osip Mandelstam in Molly Bloom 4.