Offcourse Literary Journal

Three Poems, by Louis Armand.


The Balcony
(for wendy whiteley)

awake beside the old railroad tracks & disused
jetty, listening for the last of the cicadas.
a commuter train from milson's point
flashes its morse in the bridge's dark undercarriage.
who was there to witness our subterfuge?
without permission we imagined things differently

the white line of a seagull or the slow &
fastidious ferry from garden island transepting the
bay. or there is a garden & in it the statues grow
past adulthood to cancer-stone & petrified
driftwood—débris of those whose lives we are
far from now. a vapour trail arcing at dusk
drawn by a child's finger across mirrored glass
& staring at the smudge-divided cruciform

forgetting the gun in the drawer, the nude
shamming dead upon the divan—aware that the real
enemy is within. partially blind or gradually mad.
black on the canvas silence on the screen
an empty sheet of white paper—each singles out
its opponent. but why does it seem necessary
to make the assumption or pass the judgement?




without occasion, to wake here & listen—
the wind through the chimney—
frozen rain chips at the window like restless
birds sharpening their beaks

in the courtyard by the back wall
a widowed umbrella
bent double amongst sodden skirts

each of those windows tells of bondage or
surrender—like them
we are governed by the crude circumstance
of the world—conscripted
to the dwarf dramas of daybreak, as a
stunted species scuttles from its holes …

purgatorial engines are drawing
the unconscious up into symbolism-
unsubtle as bird-shriek, cacophony

all that is gathered among the blind instincts
of daily life—powerless
to possess or wholly to be possessed
by a more ecumenical reality

you look into these places, are eluded
between the fossil walls—
although quiescence is unavailing
doubt's procedures also bring no reprieve




night fire humidity in the barometric zone
jonah-like in fish gut somnambulism
weighed down by
apprehension—psychic telescope
to past events summed-up in
                   new word order?

or ninth street cafeteria breakfasts in lieu
of impeachment procedure
unseasonal weather according to
statistics as tv space flight
re-enacts the news cartel's
dream of profit-margin anti-gravity—

or caught in the double-bind
of declined hospitality you "contemplate"
the just deserts gone stale
pleading diminished responsibility
in view of the ubiquitous lunchtime special



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