F W Finney

Omens - Poem by F W Finney

We've seen runes on the pots
Where they keep the kiln.
Jolly Rogers flapping in a silent film.

Smoke in the nursery.
Trees on fire.
The neighbours' monkeys
Raking leaves.

Beyond the fronds. In the shop du jour.
On every pavement,
Every floor.
Behind each mask
And every door.
The signs. The signs. Beware! The signs:

Witches on the skytrain cursing maps.
A bald girl laughing in a barber's chair.
An elephant crossing Sukhumvit Road.
Black swirling clouds over Siam Square.
And what are they burning
Over there?

We followed twelve signs
To the yellow line -
O, the third rail gleaming
Like the nine of swords-
Heard the whistlecocks crow,
Saw the lights ride the rails,
And the doors slit open
And the entrails gushing out
(so I closed my eyes
when the priestess threw up)

The transplants planted
And the slits sewn shut.

There the Emperor licked his cone
And dropped
The Five of Pentacles.

Morning Sickness. Drunken Doughnuts.
A cockroach basking on a negligee.

Clear the cabin boys
The captain comes
And gulls lie dying on the deck.

But these are hoofprints-
Did the scapegoats escape?

What wind? Which waves?
Whose albatross?

Sure we heard the bells and saw the snake
and smelt the Hermit on the stairs.

Clear the cabin boys the captain comes
And puppets drag shadows across the piers.

We've drawn up twice the hangman, now.
Thrice the devil. Thrice the fool.
And Justice wears the garlic of a Manson smile
And spits a fly towards the cold hors d'oeuvres.

Was just last week we wanted friends, and
Wore our heartsleeves inside out.

And when cirrhosis neurosis was the diagnosis-
Cocktails glistened on a silver tray.

This morning's tealeaves had little to say
Some bit about the Hierophant chasing
the Page of Cups.

Let's let the fortune-tellers count their cash
And the gypsy fiddlers tap their feet.

Wha'say we climb the old tower
And shuffle again?

Leave the cards on the ledge
of the thirteenth floor

Topic(s) of this poem: future, world

Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem was first published in the Journal of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand. It also appears in the collection Songs of Insomnia. A reading of the poem is also available on YouTube.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, November 13, 2015

Poem Edited: Friday, November 13, 2015

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