Miniput / I Feel Auckland

Portrait of Alice James by John Singer Sargent. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Portrait of Alice James by John Singer Sargent.


“No uproar
balances the tare,
and so makes of it
a little doodle
easier to
collect than most,
like silkworms,
and gunpowder*,
and gunpowder**
made out of boredom,
and retribution,
in that order.”

*Regarding the fire.
The fire-mordant ewers.
The fire, as in
the mordance
of the ewer,
I guess a thing
to put fire in,
containing in dramatic fashion.
The fire-mordant ewers contain
in a dramatic fashion
the seal
between base and basis.
Tension imbued with
a very, very
particular sense –
what a coincidence,
the kind of sense the people
on your side enjoy
– analogous to the surface
of water, oil, milk, and so on.
Which makes the fire liquid
and then not much can be done.
Or the fire-mordant
ewers contain
in a dramatic fashion
the tension, no, sorry
the seal
between one base and another.
It has to be unbroken. Not
at all messed with.
And not base –
not base
in the very loose sense
enjoyed by the people
on my side, whom
I somehow enjoy.
Oh, I
forgot: mordant.
Mordant is great. Mordant is like
a grin, a grin partaking in
what is happening to you.
This is what contains what seals
the fire
from basis to basis,
and the seal is the fuel,
making this only workable
in this place, in this moment.
Something beside itself.
It won’t fit, but isn’t lost.
So let’s leave it
out. The fire
that the fire-mordant ewer
contains in its drama is
the seal that pours out,
decanting this basis.
Wait. No,
there needed
to be more
than one.
wait, there was.

I Feel Auckland

Will you return

like the hover-sever
tends to return,
or come again,

in time?

Will your favourite trait be
an extant gratitude in the blocks,

or an extant gratitude
in the extinct blocks?

To do that,
to return,

you may need once more
to take up
that specific form of wariness
that was
as common as it was
fashionable in
your youth;
peutellic wariness, wasn’t it?

But you were right,
in leaving here.
I can put everything aside
and admit this.

If you need to
something like that
to return,
that taking up –
if you
out of all
of us,
if you have to
do this
thing among all
possible things –
you shouldn’t come back.
You shouldn’t return.
You shouldn’t come again.
And no,
no one
should ever,
ever have
asked it of you.
One day, I promise,
I will find out who did.

NORA FULTON lives in Montreal. Her most recent collection of poems, Presence Detection System, was published by Hiding Press in 2019; her next collection, Thee Display, will be jointly published by the Centre for Expanded Poetics/Anteism Press this year. Her poetry and criticism has appeared in Ossa, Social Text, Music & Literature, and elsewhere.