Car crash requiem

Driving into dawn

The world is everything that is the case.

But what is that? How is a case? And ... what of what
is not...? Your stated silence?

When I wake I am driving
and forwards at last at least
and shattering sounds aren't
escaping me and my thoughts
stop lurching like animals
Steering the last few corners
slowly through a small town
: its dark main street bereft
like an old church flowerless
in Lent
whitens my peripheral vision
then is gone The buildings
have lost pub-brawl awnings
are head-butted and leaning
Several people stand half in
the gloom half in blackness
They are half-cards the half-
watch not quite noticing as I
________I learnt to drive at
seventeen I've been driving
thirty years For the first time
I know what I'm doing I am
not going to be judged I had
thought to stop here but now
I keep on put a roundabout

behind me and I drive west
all light gone except my poor
headlights considering a road
the texture of dead a bad idea
of dead This stoney bitumen
slump-shoulder leprous skin
Then indifferently up a gear
and gone
_________The flecks of blood
I saw briefly lit by street-lights
the red of intent too dark to
see again Uphill upnight down
Vibration a low stammering
from the left rear tries to tell
something I can not will not
_________Death is different at night
The sound it made the lurching
Lost as I was it can't be I'm lost
here in the present tense I am
lost in driving
________________If not then
A cool light we gently call dawn
enters the tree tops and so enters
me I am entering the next world
Cluster-bombs of birds go off in
threes Bird-song bird-sight bird



These are my tricks.

And if I am___inside its placement___this is the perfect photograph of stillness
its composition classical___ its colours sit___ its light is set to body temperature.

Shadows in a room___are nothing to the five strong surfaces of light:
arms of chairs in arcs___horizontal water-light lake-ing the table-top.

Unless I am looking___unless I am noting this brightness___ its
possibles___my muse is sleeping a face of Brancusi marble.

But look___ the blood pressure monitor is silvered___and Cartesian.
___It waits.___My blood is invisible___ impossibly quiet.

The upper surfaces of forgotten apples are wrinkled and white
doughnuts of apple-light.___My glasses on the table are blind.

But each lens is the same:______a window and a street lamp
hang upside down___they bulge in the black frames like art.


No no enough of this.______The phone is ringing
here in my head.______Answer Answer.______ It says
something else is happening______not this
layered light and language stuff.
______This___ and this___ and the mind.
______Un-able to resist___  being___ solipsist.
______Something is arriving.___  Rips at the fake
texture we are___ language is___ the surfaces
and rips___ at___ tries to return from where it is not.


The blood pressure monitor is dumb___  and is quiet.
___ But later I will attach it to my bicep___ and pump.

The heat in this room is like a body___ carrying its do not
kind of instrument. I am a do.___ I feel it against me, silent.

The trees are black as rags___  and torn along their rougher
edges___ dense against orange bleeding___ from the horizon.

You walk into the room and speak___ but only the words you
say are said.___  Not these___ behind___afterwards___before words

of mine.___ In the silence of my brain___no engine that I saw
I see with___saw.___All that I see or saw.___I am un-first-personed.

If these are my tricks___ who am I tricking?___ Am I a dualist? Not?

The table-top___the apple in apple-ness___the street-lamp in lenses.
___This clear blood of me.___This and I alter.___This is the altering. 

Philip SalomPhilip Salom's most recent work is a trilogy: Keepers, The Keeper of Fish and Keeping Carter, the last two written by heteronyms Alan Fish and M. A. Carter respectively. He is currently brooding over another trilogy begun years earlier, with work from Sky Poems, The Well Mouth and a proposed new volume Alterworld 


Topic tags: Philip Salom, new Australian poems



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