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  CARDINAL POINTS: THE CURRENT ISSUE
Glyn Maxwell
HOMEWARD ORPHEUS

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Glyn Maxwell. Photo by Nina Subin
   Glyn Maxwell
      Photo by Nina Subin
The Man in Technicolor


Black-and-white can't do our story justice.
Not us, not now, we grew up in full colour.
Sat through your monochrome of speeches, marches,
flames, one damn thing leading to another.

If we'd seen The Great Dictator we'd have got it
straight away. Fact we'd have made it sooner.
Stopped it needing even to be made.
We'd have made it anyway but with more humour.

We did once see the man in Technicolor.
He was sleeping in a car, someone was filming.
We were screaming fucking pop him at the widescreen!
His uniform pale brown, his reddish holster,

him dozing, no one budges. Imagine:
a camera like two snakes spewing a ladder,
and its operator reeling out a future
he doesn't think to change at all. He'd sooner

wind the frames right by in blinding daylight.
Probably got murdered, having made it.
Fiddling with his fancy colour knowhow
while the grass went white again and he just let it.



The Drummers


I thought how it might go between us (love,
this is) where us included someone real,
and after it didn't go that way at all
I thought how someone time has never heard of

might just - sit there. When nothing of the kind
occurred and no one of the kind came by,
I fed the story through me anyway
with you. Now everything that came to mind

was doomed for sure. As if my every thought
was what the other side has been in training
day and night to spot, a column forming,
imperial scarlet sweating by a fort,

some regimental yell and down they fall,
the drummers. They knew nothing but the step
demanded, plus the usual stuff they hoped,
yanked from a pocket, soiled and legible.



Homeward Orpheus


He knew it could not be done and he knew it could be.
This was a skill they gave him or came up with
bored in eternity and said Give him that one.
So he not only thinks both things he knows both things.

He came out of heaven and hell and he knew both things.
One of them bored in eternity sat back
and said Here's another - heaven and hell are words:
let him carry their dust on his clogs and still think that.

The rest went Yeah sounds good. He reached the world
and women he lost in the past and women he loved
now and women who lost him or loved him now
were in his eyeline, chosen ones he could never

lose again or love again. He can love them,
one of them bored in eternity suggested,
but not as before. And they could love him always
but not as before. Okay they will just exist,

remembering shit. How utterly different from us,
one bored in eternity put it to him in a silence.
That lasted until another one said But his songs now
will have to be all about it, make him play one.


© Copyright Glyn Maxwell
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