John W. Sexton

A Portable Philosophy and History Kit

moth-shaped love-bites / a week to fade into my skin
helping the crippled child / this way to Belsen
Tetragrammaton counts for nothing here
omni tumour Elohim unthought the void big bang
Henry the Eighth / one by one six wives said yes
sinking into the earth he puts it on
that self inside the mirror is never me
semen just a stain in the sheets
your mind her mind / Queen termite swollen with eggs of you you you
ants perfect millions of years / mankind nil
offering each other the comfort of lies
guessing how much of the dust in this room is me
stub of blue crayon running short at the sky
through Buson’s pages specks of mould small as full stops
Jesus too / the pattering of piss on the thistles

Is That It Then?

when we are gone …
the jack pines will bleed
a literature of resin

for mimicking the human brain
this year’s award goes to …
the walnut

the Speak My Apocalypse machine
10 dollars
no change given

his beard ingrown
and out again … grazing horses
share his mind

seeing there
is not being there …
distance still in our face

gone now but magnificent
even as smoke …
the anthracite tower

a sough in the reeds …
moonlight, the toads
bleed penumbrae

(safe in a parenthesis) …
a lexinaut
enters the subplot

the scummy bathwater
stood upright and walked …
the house woke in downpour

coat of many dolours …
sometimes sorrow
is our only heritage

moonless night …
the auras of sleeping cattle
signal into darkness

turned to ON …
the dial
of the snail’s shell

John W. Sexton is the author of four collections of poetry: The Prince’s Brief Career (1995); Shadows Bloom / Scáthanna Faoi Bhláth, with translations into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (2004); Vortex (2005); and Petit Mal (2009). His fifth collection, The Offspring of the Moon, is due from Salmon Poetry early in 2013. He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem The Green Owl won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.