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SurVision Magazine

An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.

Issue Six



The Big Clock

I'm a straight arrow now
bent 'round a clock
seconds carve edges off a face

a kind of portrait
cuts the days to pieces and the nights
don't mention them

I'm hauling time like rocks
from chair to bed and back
the present was never quite here
at any one moment

but spinning points in a field
disappearing pinpricks oozing blood
and song more like a smear
from one thought to the next

solitary features return
after a face has fallen apart
an ear bobbing to the surface
a tuft of hair two rubbery lips
someone singing under his breath

happy birthday to you

dad lights a candle in my five-year-old mouth
or was it a cigar how quickly
one grows to consider serious things
moist memories hung out to dry

the time he lost his mind fishing for a word
the time the mice ran away with the moon
let them have it
I'll nibble my crumbs and place
my cheek upon her shadowy breast

to hear the exquisite tick behind everything
if you take the time to listen
indeed it takes a heart to think
of such things and a mind to forget

only to bubble up again
as if for the first time
this false original seems new enough
to waltz the numbers
around the big clock on the wall

what becomes of the old voices
echoes inside me still
changing as words self-correct
the past never dead enough
to simply bury and be done with it

Big Idea

my head came off in her hands
as easy as unscrewing a light bulb
dark inside
she's feeling up my face holes right now
the otoliths of my ears the untold secrets
that lie gurgling on my lips

"you talk too much" she said
"now look what's happened"
she was right of course
I never came to the point
the clock on the wall smiled knowingly
seconds melted off its hands

my little love notes carried by claws
scurry backwards across the sand
spotlight on a runaway sentence
one might escape the onslaught
of moments under a narrowing moon
where the mind is elsewhere
rising and falling with the next word
the tongue's ear pressed to the grind of stars
anyone might be listening in
before sticking a sock in it

but as long as I keep talking
there's no end to it
nothing's ever quite finished
there's always leftovers in the fridge
"please finish me" I said
mouth crumbling red grains
turned over in an hourglass
my headless body in bed
seen from the ceiling
my clock-faced heart a second
before imploding

life lived on a pinprick
finally I came to the point
my big idea was only a trillionth the size
of a period that ends this sentence
worlds screwed tighter and tighter into tinier worlds
so it all comes down to a question of scale
my big bang face explodes in her hands
still ticking while talking deliriously
out of the side of my mouth I said
"I do ... I do


and what might one use to affirm the act of being here
in the presence of what witness whose counsel
upon this slippery stage in spite of the facts as such
that might twist another way leaving one to wonder
where the dreamer goes the dead man to say nothing
of his shadow swept away like leaves the pages
blown free from the binding the loved one whose face
one cannot bring to mind the grave moon and sunny smile
for a while the numbers calculated upon a grid still running
the smallest proves smaller still the larger greater yet
and there hung upon an infinite thread a string
that vibrates at every level to wake in situation to think
the disembodied diaspora unnamable grit that holds
at a particular time and place then thrown to the stars
what evidence does not explode and recoil what sleepy
eye does not stop and start the world with a simple blink

Charles Borkhuis is a poet, playwright, screenwriter and essayist. He lives in New York City and has taught at Touro College and Hofstra University. He has published nine collections; the most recent are Dead Ringer (BlazeVox Books, 2016) and Finely Tuned Static (with paintings by John McCluskey; Lunar Chandelier, 2017). Among his other collections are Disappearing Acts (Chax Press, 2014), Savoir-Fear (Spuyten Duyvil, 2003), and Alpha Ruins (Bucknell University Press, 2000), which was selected by Fanny Howe as runner-up for the William Carlos Williams Book Award. He translated New Exercises from the French by Franck André Jamme (Wave Books, 2008). Two of his essays on innovative American poetry were recently published in separate anthologies, Telling It Slant and We Who Love to Be Astonished (University of Alabama Press).

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