Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Abandoned Car by Harvey Molloy


Photograph: Peter Beverstock

Abandoned Car


1.

Abandoned car. Abandoned sky.
Abandoned moon.

I croon to you on my bonsai guitar
I strum the ukulele calypso strum

poorly with my right thumb
I strum the ruined body

I strum reminders, testaments
to the immemorial:

nothing breaks the sky
except the lone hill.

2.

Abandoned car you are
an assemblage of dispersed components

engine, upholstery, handbrake 
rear-view mirror,  springs         

reach to infinity
broken wings

a zone of dispersal
a neighbourhood of the car

a horizon
rather than a singular object

chain, engine, handbrake
shattered windscreen

and
and
and

the sealed interior of the commodity
evaporates to sepulchral waste.

3.

Abandoned car, my memoir
amongst feldspar

chain of identity
stretched skin of constancy

on which objects are uncovered and found
last year’s unwanted model gone to ground

along with the -ment
and the -ing
there is the and

each object a point of condensation
of elements dispersed  in space.

4.

The Mini’s gone. The Mini’s been told
abandoned cars are fragmentary wholes . . .

scattered like Osiris’ bones
if you found each part

you couldn’t strum it back whole
the languid words out on parole

the balked indeterminable sum
of an incalculable object

you can no longer hold
on tip of tongue

all gone all gone all gone beyond
abandoned by all

except abandonment
with no regard for owning

or losing or finding or leaving
abandoned car to you I sing

the –ment as the detritus of the –ing

________________________________
More poems at Tuesday Poem
A very different version of Abandoned Car was translated into Japanese by Tanaka Jun and published in 10 + 1 in 1996.


5 comments:

Emma said...

Excellent poem Harvey!

Zireaux said...

A song that does what it must -- what Melville and Whitman do -- keeping the dead alive, memorializing the wreckage in song, combining structure with ruin, detritus with grandeur. There's so much depth here, an epic in those fragments, magnificence in that Mini, infinite answers in those bones.

Zireaux said...

A song that does what it must -- what Melville and Whitman do -- keeping the dead alive, memorializing the wreckage in song, combining structure with ruin, detritus with grandeur. There's so much depth here, an epic in those fragments, magnificence in that Mini, infinite answers in those bones. -Z

Mary McCallum said...

What Zireaux says!! This is magnificent Harvey. It will stay with me all day.

Ben Hur said...

Great poem, Harvey. I went past an abandoned car just recently being forensically examined by the police because it had been in a high speed case and a 15-year-old boy and been flung from it and killed.

A ChCh thing seems to be to steal the cars and gut them with fire before abandoning them.