The Wild Reply
Book Sample

Of Quite Another Order

When he came out of his forests
To figure in the literature of isolation
Or see if he could seduce mother-figures
As he had used to think (and be afraid) he could,
He was already the least curable, most diminished of people.
Civilisation increased his moments of sadness.
I knew this from the nature and number of scars:
Let them be collected. Let them be classed with method.

I would have given anything
To be able to make my pupil understand my act
And to tell him that the very pain of his bite
Could only delight me,
For that bite was an act of healthy vengeance.
He did not recover himself until he had reached the bottom of the stairs.
He used the word berg (mountain) to describe all things that are tall:
Let them be collected. Let them be classed with method.

He never leaves me without evident uneasiness,
So I took him to dine with me in the city.
I always talk to him in words that are part of a childís common vocabulary.
Iím struck by the splendour of his endlessly repeated motor gestures.
My education of the sense of sight being at an end,
I am to turn my attention to that of touch,
And later to myths of defeat:
Let them be collected. Let them be classed with method.


The whisper of a heavy car.
The darkness of trees and behind the darkness.
The pipe, the cool hills and the man.
Things you only buy once in a lifetime.

The shock of exile is wearing off.
Love celebrates its victory with two deaths.
I wanted to explain this to you in person,
knowing one day I will inherit your fortune.

I am large, I have a deep voice;
I broke the hands of my beloved.
The touchiest of giants, my theatre is promises;
my night is a continuous kung fu exercise.

A search and a shaking, the deep bows of etiquette.
White hoodlums; pure, senseless desire.
Close to the comfort of civil disturbance,
I find my composure equal to the hour.

So give, please, with speed.
Give until the colour black ends.
Make the matchbox do as itís told:
Just fire, no words!


Always turn to the usurer.
Start out and remain a villainess.
In the season of fake blossoms keep cool like the Minotaur,
talk proudly of elongated heads.

You will have to weaken for the month of December.
Maybe youíll quit thinking about soft rolling bones.
Take the silver away in your pockets.
Bring true fever to the classroom.

Go with splendour into the blackouts
and onwards for masonic nights.
Bide your time, then enter the slapping
while your bleak body still agitates.

Your dirty gloves jerk the grandeur
when smooth things meet, my dangerous clown.
Throw that veil of matchless colour:
itís what you do with vermilion.

How long must I wait for praise from a stranger?
At each seance I ask, Is it good news?
Keep the situation dark, let the tinsel linger -
thatís how youíll create the universe.

In the Busy and Populous Belgium of Yesterday

In the busy and populous Belgium of yesterday
Doctors were going to their patients,
Weavers to their tapestries,
Children to their playgrounds.

But you were in a coma
And I was waiting for you to wake up.
Please donít confuse me by thanking me:
Your pride has cost us eleven days.

Always the same shapely volcano,
I could not react like an ordinary woman.
I was in the mood for ropes.
The sudden thaw saved me from my enemies.

And now, to celebrate our mistake,
Let us repeat it to ourselves again and again.
O let us begin with the bent arm of the standing man
Stuck in his terror.

Youíre agreeing to everything I say,
Hoping Iíll go away.
And you can say Ďmaybeí all goddamn day -
But all this punishment isnít teaching me a thing.

Holes and Stars

I just got my memory back.
Few loons and I would live
in a corner at the airport,
not for the sequence
but the agony we had to be in,
running off with the money
and faking our own deaths.
Will technology make me remote?
I donít know where I am,
I never know whatís going to happen.

Everything is quiet,
stunned yet animated,
evolving yet wilting.
If I want to read a newspaper,
I reach out for it with my hand.
Funny how youíve taken my theory
and decided to call it your own.
They will be making snow tonight;
it will be beautiful and we can afford it.
Come quickly,
by yourself,
bring the negatives.

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