Ready, The Worm, Sogenji Suite #3

© Dobrila Tomic, courtesy of the photographer

For what can’t be known
mind and body
write poetry, freedom of movement,
favourite food,

Lead me through lingering rain claps,
sun showers. Lead me: by hand,	
with your voice, by signs if pained
through what remains –
all I have is bent and shadowy. 

There’s a house on this block, licked by age. 
You can sit on the balcony and improve your bandwidth
to the tittering of sparrows and caw of crows. 

All I have are bent shadows, and I yearn
to stand straight in the rain.
To hold out my hand to a tolerant woman. 
To trade faces with the ayahuasca initiate. 
To walk unfolded, to sit with poise, 
to trick with luck, wits and spirit the night spirits 
that have fooled me. 
Anyone can be fooled.
It’s not a sin.
It just takes moxie to trick 
the trickery back again.

To suck venom from the aura of the heart.
To bathe in mud.
To bask in ether. 
To walk arm in arm to walk arm in arm to walk arm in arm to    
steal and pray.[1]
According to others, I have no clothes.
I live in an ostrich.
Felon. Rictus. Rubric: words I would use.
No webpage, no ribboning.
Just an insect-ridden shack of a basement
in which I pass oblong days. 
Recently objects have begun to look back at me. 
And with people, I’ve become inspired 
by misunderstanding.

© Dobrila Tomic, courtesy of the photographer
The Worm
after Emily Dickinson
They cut the worm they found,
and saw that it had fed,
but did they cut the lower end,
or did they cut the head?
In the humus, there was indigo
and vital green (which go that way
by complement, no lie).
Strands of both colours strike the eye.
Indigo leads a human by way of space,
and green leads each to each,
but third, a voice, tracheal sky-blue
forms bands of hands
and leaves the deeper shade to search
ever-paling greens.
All this in a worm, and not a worm I found.
Just a worm I fancy, as the earth is fancied round.
Colours glow like infancy until light grows dim,
and humus holds it all, and skin is barely skin.
© Dobrila Tomic, courtesy of the photographer
Sogenji Suite #3

My name is David Foster Wallace.
Cryogenic coal, I have no particulars,  
except a tear in the sepulchre 
of broad daylight.

I’m cooled by tears of sleep,
and drone of early morning.

To get out of bed without alarm,
from shunting, mountain airs 
and spoiling in the valleys,
because the pace is set on plains.

Seeing doesn’t change, eyes become pinioned. 
Attention, evolution, who comes 
for the lizard with the frilled neck?

Snow’s dry laughter
snapped shut
in perfect crystals.

It comes to play painfully,
pulse and forgetfulness. 
Lunge and hesitation 
along a thread.

The frequency of starless night:
wide, black, bright.
And between it, day, peaked 
rooves and colourless skies
at ease
in the flood,
at ease.
Go ahead,
I’ll be right 
behind you.

Piles of dirt,
spirit boxes not corpse markers.
No friends just
bugs and sunshine. 	
No friends just
a quiet minute
in the graveyard.

Consciousness alters DNA,
undoes, does 
anything, distinguishes
hell with photons.

of life and non-life:
my well-lit, my blackest 

[1] Modelled on John Taggart’s poem, Slow Song for Mark Rothko:
“to join arm-in-arm to join arm-in-arm to
join to take to take into …”

Ned Baeck’s poetry has been published in various Canadian magazines and collected in two books: Wait and Cage of Light, both published by Guernica Editions.