John Dennison

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There’s one straight out of the box

we are monads, haunted by communion—George Steiner

Stalled. I have been here before—the door
jars, jacks brittle against the frame,
the latch tacky with shed life; and then, before
was indistinct, of no moment, the same
squared-off address of flashings and vitreous bowl,
an unfocussed grey of tiles and melamine
strict about the flush, cyclopic control
and confessional; so much slips my mind.
I dangle myself absently over the flow,
hear the shuffle and held breath behind
the partition, and try to feel elsewhere.
There, cramped in the grouting, the small hand
of diminished hope: I was here.
Up above my head there’s music in the air,
emoting and riffs ecstatic, a levity
of unsensing. You may not inquire
of this; flush-mounted in the cavity,
it gasses sweetly as a smoked hive,
while the pressure drops and all amity
is let go for the stacked groove,
glottal coagulate, a geist-heist
tendering: desire becomes us. Wave
at the sensor. So much passes for protest,
begs the question: wherefore fullness, and thanks—
where is the love? We long to rest,
loosely shackled in our downed pants.
It’s reassuring to suppose that beyond
this is another much the same,
that what we have and give in common
is a faced and floating panelling—axiom
of our lately closed circuit, it will trump
neighbourliness, the open, cupped palm,
dam us in a right to do: we jump
at the latch fumble, I’m in here!
i.e. piss off! Ach, we do not make up
the world, truly—your suspended enclosure
is not the henceforth longed for!
Sit still: feet at the door, the knock, and you’re
caught in the one-two altogether!
Once open, the door is beside the point, the point
being—say it!—reconciliation,
yes, now there’s one straight out of the box,
a notion worth a line or two on
grouting, say, or the Kelburn church wall—
God does not live in boxes—amen
to that brother, and as for us, all
our constructs might flat-pack it off, we lose
our thrones as the sky grows tall, forsake the cubicle
for an opened upper room. And there’s grace:
not to be going out or coming in
but set in the threshold, your solar plexus rise
and fall in step with all who are undone.

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