Poem in the shape of a Chain by Gerry Loose


the villagers of that region have dreams of three sizes
one is the size of rain
another the size of wind
while the third is the exact shape of a seed

the corporate affairs director counts a river of cheap petrol
108 cars with 108 occupants
one set of traffic lights to another, idling
counts & smiles

the trees in that region dream of companions
each pine needle with a halogen nightmare
a chainsaw the size of hectares
running high on coca, tobacco, coffee

the customer retail manager genuflects
at the end of each supermarket aisle
10 aisles in his branch
100 branches a bush, a tree
of coffee Colombian Costa Rican Indonesian Kenyan Nicaraguan

at school he loved geography & maps
he sings the names
Angola Bangladesh Benin Bolivia Burkina-Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon
his chorus more blessed to get than give

the transgenic executive dreams & counts the seed of sleep
like sheep one seed one seed one seed
modified & growing one crop
a seed for one season
less is more he snores
his till rings one seed one seed one seed

numbers live for him
he always wanted to be a mathematician
he sets himself problems
in 1996, three men were owed $636 billion, 41% of the GNP of a continent
with cost push & demand pull
how sweet is the song of that continent?

stories are told there of the sky as another country
filled with oranges & mackerel
where dolphins & usurers lie together
on cirrus & stratus & cumulonimbus
their offspring equity

landmines dream of settling down and having children
machetes of being the wings of a raven
smart missiles dream of attending universities
metal everywhere festers and plots

they all dream of endless regeneration
villagers dream their limbs back like lizard tails
managers dream sustainable gorgon heads
sell one, two grow sell two, a banknote bestiary unfolds

but the banner of that region
is a single seamless water seed
they secretly whisper it under the pines, in the street
it's the sign of the sweet-water sea
which floats stock & marigolds
its Dow Jones index the laughter of maize, the abacus of rice
making chains to the moon

Many thanks to Gerry Loose




© Jan Nimmo 2004