*** [untitled four]

exploring the anatomy
of timeless classics
in smooth leather covers
with headbands made
of mercerised cotton
mr nothing found a sketch
of himself and the poet
sitting on the floor
between the shelves
drawing some daubs
on the pages of books

it used to be a place
for recalcitrant siblings
mastering the art
of emphatic period
with a few premises
and a bowl of porridge
they no longer read
anything but notes
on flaps of the dust
jacket of russian realists
and the stock leaflet

*** [untitled three]

the year the greek derivative
locked the doors marked
the windows with colours
wandering on derelict streets
pebbled with stones
and the cry of seagulls
mr nothing realised one
more of a curse likely being
called names or spat upon

he forbade the poet a word
about the theognidean corpus
in the covers of don juan
as if encomia to larcenists
kept his desires hidden
in a genderless language
there were no suffixes
to betray him in public
only the consequences

*** [untitled two]

every time a fever made him worry
about gardening mr nothing thought of the poet
with his treats of personal chastisement

eerily aloof he watched himself drowning
in the passage of time measured with a litter
of hardly collectible paper ephemera

as pointing to never read lines of montaigne
made him realize his desperate longing
for the unfinished in times of duress

*** [after the rain]

after the rain an umbrella become a burden
bare foot standing in the water
running slowly down the folded surface
mr nothing was holding on
to the intricately curved wooden handle

and words that lack a person people
with mispronounced affixes he forgot
the poet left him typewritten
on a stolen remington
every letter stopped halfway

the girl in a red scarf

mr nothing looked at the poet regulating the traffic
on a window ledge invaded by firebugs
and returned to wiping his fountain pen
as if it would clear his thoughts in the process

he found a secret merriment in taking apart his time
as an impersonator striving for every punctuation mark
collecting monologs in tandem and old photographs
of children and elderly using handrails

back then a mutual acquaintance brought him a picture
of the girl in a red scarf but he missed the chance
to tell her about the river don of granite city
or the scent of the north sea in bonfire night

she may never answer to an old neighbour’s ay ay fit like
or burst out laughing as she runs to the mercat cross
when the rain comes down on a summer day
this is the privilege of dreamers and their dreams

tears of judith

And many desired her, but none knew her all the days of her life […]
The King James Bible

the odds were against them
his beheaded body marked her
with lonely repetition of depictions

mr nothing looked at that of michele
the tenebrist knew the maid’s eyes
riveted upon the act would miss her tears

and the drapery in reds used to be
the adornment of the lovers’ line
not of the slaughterhouse backdrop

when leaving the palazzo barberini
mr nothing just glanced at la fornarina
a sword in her hand would go unnoticed

the hours of morning’s late

if lack of physical appearance
means becoming that replaces being
born out of a casual remark
is the poet’s mourning in words
mr nothing has never cried out for
an act of sincerity and grief

they haven’t spoken to one another
since the days they dwelt on past pilcrows
pointing some obsolete gestures
so mr nothing returned to old habits
only occasionally longing for rubrico
in the hours of morning’s late

mr nothing expressed his dislike

[…] those grand old men of yesteryear, they were your father.
David Rabe, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel

there was no a garment
in mr nothing’s wardrobe
that one couldn’t fit in
but rusty hangers up the hill

and there were choices to make
like snooping neighbours
or hiding brandy behind books
along with lack of modesty

all wrapped in dust jackets
reduced to a meagre abstract
where every word is an act
of judgement self-evidence

inherently contradictory
it might be that what he meant
was that the poet’s betrayal
cannot be translated into it

appearances

And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody’s funeral, for there is no one to bury.
T.S. Eliot, East Coker

mr nothing took off his glasses
he liked it that way a bit blurry
when trying to make sense of
the pictures he reached
for de nuptiis the intended
simplicity of thought
bric-a-brac perhaps

he never was a good storyteller

his father mingled clay and drank
his mother bred hydrangeas
and laughed at the butcher
sometimes she just couldn’t cry
like her mother when talked
late at night so no one could hear
it was german after all in such a place

along the way mr nothing grew up

born in despair in the cruellest month
he was supposed to be a figure
of speech a semantic game borrowed
from another language so the other one
the poet could pretend that he no longer
was looking for an embalmer a grammarian
among the tombstones the last to bury