A Poem by Andrew Duncan

Precipice of Niches

the latest wish of
a data fish
that eats and becomes an ego
that swallows and is hungry again

a mineral ego
grinding the beds of earth for pigments
of grey and blue
soaking into the colours of the landscape
growing faint at the horizon line
the curve where its mouth closes
dispersing over the bed of the visible
to swallow itself at the horizon line

soft as an eye and fresh as air
the droppy deity of sweet water
that falls everywhere
and uses the sky as its path

naked in flash floods
a niche fish that knows in flashes
that adopts the colour of the air
and recites the tale as told it

the casing of volatile sound

a niche fish flushed with signs
that worships the living waters above the dead

2, The coast was called Moors in Hell
its rocks lurched in twisted planes
where a cliff had slipped its step and top-
pled, split and split again
to become the seabed;
ruin as complexity, interior swallowing each surface,
riddled, a perfect refuge for what hides
and haunt for what catches
a geometry of fine-scale degradation
in its traps and part-worlds

The viewing-glass viewed
the pored littoral paradise
scattered over many acres,
in frames, in niches
its bursts and splashes of rock,
surfaces glinting red green and tawny
scored with blind signs, gripped by shells,
each pit fitting
the strange anatomies of the deep.

The eye that sheds grains of dust

The hypothesis
of the X-wind
the flux double-peak, the X-zone
where a star's metals splash out & escape
like water that leaves the sea,
and a flake away where a lash of the Sun's magnetic field,
moving in, slung matter out from its outer edge
spume dense enough to aggregate
on an orbit where growth & cooling were possible:
the spores of a planet

The tidemark
a phase  trapped in chondrule insets, in
falls of Libya and Antarctica
meteorite eye protected by stone
whose ball retains the archaeology of a vapour
aluminium isotopes marking a boiling point,
heavy nuclei a solar origin

slender birth line of a planet
solution to a kinetic geometry
marginal to so many dead states
slowed on a slope of dispersal & destruction
becomes its own environment, an I-scene
cascade of self-speeding attractiveness
trapping indifferent volleys of impacts

the twin of dead twins
of isotopes vaporizing into derelict wastes,
that uniquely peaks with the recurring turning-back,
the self-storing spores

4, A passive and incomprehensible surface
a culture leaving its Time in puzzles and masks
wonderful & unfamiliar self, a perfect refuge
growing and dividing at visible speed
tremulous in many leaves dancing,
in vaults where the deep dark forms sift and sop around
recreating shells of lost moments
where horizons part and deny each other
a foam of local ends to vision
a matrix shimmering with traps and part-worlds

Short-lived selves discolouring in a decay cycle
a shell of evanescent subsonic waves
in the field recordings of ritual music
the square scripts of the southern oases
recording the high death of ibexes
solution to a kinetic geometry
for the replenishment of the high springs
eyes of water where unknown wishes surface

as we swallow the rich and alien forms
a fan of dialects & early inscriptions falling
down a slope of broken symmetries
we ascend to match the past
spreading in a strained and saturated web
sets dense in doubles & contrasts form
a screen allowing us to ignore all sounds

passing into temporary bodies
linked to capes of sensation
craving for rare metals, the slopes of old
rock stiff with solar riches
pursuing the slender birth line of birds
to the Western shores
wings sheathed in the fossil matrix
a complex made serial
and anatomy formed in myth
recurring time
where the darkness opens its eyes to us
its rare phonemes & brilliant plant dyes

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