Tuesday Poem: tusitala of white lies, by Iain Britton

a million blackbirds
      fling full stops at the horizon
but who do I prefer to believe –
  the lady in black feathers
           who owns and occupies
                   a fig tree
or the slothful bugger
     who lives in the letter box
posting mail to himself           
          or the toilet roll author
                    of Kingdom Street
           the tusitala of white lies
                    of uninhibited wafflings /       
the view from here
            is global / inviting
                   extinct frogs
       continue to purse their lips
to chirp (bird-like) through solitary séances
                 the moon’s /          a cold lump
stuck hard
and helmeted
              but I prefer              the brunette
                       her feather cloak
                    her moulting shadow         her strut
          I coax her to come in
               share the dilated vista of another’s reality
I’m the tourist guide bus driver jesus janitor / the son
reorganising the future footprints of a family yet to cement
its language in stone in grubby layers broken like old teeth
another thing?
I walk through my house every day
to the sound
                of water music
                a forest shuffling its roots
                doors opening shutting
                a mango melting at the altar of my mouth
but then
               not all is at right angles
                             all isn’t the perfect hideout
                          for this fresh-air junkie
               a dreamtime jaunt
               an astral flight /    
               with no strings dangling
loose-limbed haloes
                       break down
            reviving an animal magnetism
      I retreat into the hood of my consciousness
                      groping for the lady’s
             her tightening grip – this flesh
                         and blood
                               mix of polarities

Credit note: “tusitala of white lies” is the title poem of Iain Britton’s latest collection, a poetry pamphlet published by Like This Press in the UK. It is reproduced here by permission of the author.

Tim says: Iain Britton is a fine New Zealand poet whose work deserves to be better known. I interviewed Iain in 2009 for this blog, and since then, he’s continued to have success publishing his work both in Aotearoa and internationally, as his bio shows:

Oystercatcher Press published my 3rd poetry collection in 2009, Kilmog Press my 4th in 2010. The Red Ceilings Press and the Argotist have recently published ebooks. A full collection with Lapwing Publications is out now, plus a pamphlet from Like This Press. Beard of Bees (US) chapbook in now online. Forthcoming  – poems in Peter Hughes’ Sea Pie: a Shearsman Anthology of Oystercatcher Poetry. Also, Department Press and The Gumtree Press will be publishing collections later this year or in 2013.

The Tuesday Poem: Check out today’s hub poem, and all the individual Tuesday Poems linked from the sidebar to the left, on the Tuesday Poem blog.

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: tusitala of white lies, by Iain Britton

  1. This really woke me up! Vivid imagery such 'a mango melting at the altar of my mouth', and the way that the poem doesn't slide into easy interpretation makes it demand several readings.

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