Charlene Dream

Everyone is the weather of our home star
Enclose the future in your liver
With the audacity of a jewel trap
The future where there’s nothing left
your hair was
a tall girl, big girl    blonde as cigarette smoke
You had a boat by the river, New York, little boat tied to the banks
a wooden ship of luxury because freedom
is     You could float away, come home
                            float away, come
without the weight of your own actions
ripping the organs out of your body
the body holds the vowels like a baby arming the “O”
sideways U the future shape of the liver
blue U liver
why U
Kidney’s emerald
Light blue Charlene
Eat your bowl of money



in the morning she found a boat marooned on her pillow
she couldn’t hear the survivors
she couldn’t hear the sea
the boat on the back of her hand, the size of a shell, and light
she glimpsed it again through a window at work
holding up the traffic on the by-pass
she could barely hear the typewriters
for the noise of the storm
in her head…
                    more land than sea
birds and more birds, a crow
on the topmost roof, the door onto the balcony…
the cloud-sized boat capsized in the evening sky
the wide open sky, everything piled beneath it
she rocked and she rocked asleep and awake
                   to the crashing of waves



What she found

In the boat near her head:
Rope, tweezers, a sea more standard than un

In the boat near her hand:
Three freckles left by the boatswain, feckless

These she tipped out of both boats, she tipped
Over and out, both boats
Looking one to the other
Across a swanky abyss



In the boat near her foot, a young man
in pyjamas with a voice
like Edgar Allen Poe
a man who looked like an overcoat
with a pale face, waterproof pyjamas
and a wide hat

               the smell of garlic
from the boat near her foot cooked in butter
the foot with the toe and the scars
orange and white like a Penguin Classic
Less blemishes than art, less art...
like preparing a meal –
breaded mushrooms and garlic
You can't not do anything about this
she decided but did nothing anyway
and waited for the inevitable
                             the storm
over Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard,
climbing the rigging...
See – she knew all the words
they were in her blood, swimming around
If it had been Pound and not Poe
If he had been wearing swim trunks not pyjamas
If it had been booze and not butter
If it had been breakfast not dinner
And Venice not Nantucket

It would have been Pound’s pale thighs in the sunlight, thigh hairs curled
like little snails (poils or escargots)

Charlene coughed.


he stirs, shakes his head
it rattles
like a bucket of snails
found in the lettuce after a night of rain
a bucket like the bucket on deck
slopping now
as he shakes his head
                     sailing for Rapallo
where Pound fed meat to the mythical cat 

                     sailing for Europe
a raven in the cage swinging from the masthead