Fig Rhizome

This was a poem I wrote for M as part of Palimpsest 28, a 28 day poem-a-day marathon in the run up to Christmas 2009, that ended up in a black folder with a goat on the cover being delivered by hand to Sant Pere de Ribes, Spain, and a happy M. It was originally a much better poem, all about Lawrence’s poem on figs, and binaries vs. pluralities, but my computer froze and ate it, along with Lanternfish. So I panicked and rewrote it in order to get my project finished. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to rewrite things, but when you’re busy trying to get things done it kind of ceases to matter. Which is always a good thing.

Anyway, Alan Yentob says art can’t be wrong. 🙂


While I sat on a balcony

i looked out at their fractals crowning the hills

reading lawrence. he couldn’t decide if they were

male or female, like anything ancient or greek,

they swung like uncertain genitals. pan.


because he loved a woman. because he loved a man.

because he couldn’t trust either.

i had a terrible headache. they’re sweet. but their sap

burns. downstairs they’re discussing

anais nin’s botanica erotica.

like a pornographer fucking a feminist,

both painfully bored and neurotic.


Saying, in among the grunts,

we do the universe a disservice,


not everything starts fucking,

the minute our backs are turned.


forty four whales, humpbacked grass

snakes in urns. snakes, in earnest

fading voices.


buttered over the greek hills

goes the sad last light and my lost poem.




Gilles Deleuze took Felix Guattari by the hand,

about a thousand years ago,

and they ran into the pantry,

in the middle of a thunderstorm.

They were looking for something to do.


There was my Fig Rhizome,

in a jar, and Gilles stood on tiptoe

to take it down. and they started

pushing their fingers in the dark jam.


but the jar slipped. and a fig has no heaven

because the prayers of mice are stronger.

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