Matthew Caley

from The Foldings



          If Mr Bloom found
‘the aura of election’
in the hair of a
Feminist Professor de-
fending any position
so this Poundian
applying his ‘non-chrono
-logical notion
of time’, finds the word ‘email’
in a Troubador canzone.

                          as rivers might freeze
but only in partial pose,
under ice they seethe –
crenulations of the rose,
melt-water, then ‘the ocean’.


                   Take this sealed, scented
‘letter of introduction”
to the fey, sprinting Hai-Far
glimpsed from the 122 bus
“extreme wardrobe malfunction”  –
some holy unction
from the blue bolt of the sky
without sanction an
“extreme wardrobe malfunction”
rucked tutu and mauve array

                  CCTV eye
nest of the fly house-martin
soft as her soft-breast
Coke-wheened scatterlings Hi-Five
play bi to get the right guy

                  smug Civic function
M.P’s, geeks and Ombudsmen
debate public art
“extreme wardrobe mal-” where the
vol-au-vents lack distinction.
If ‘form is function’
then function is shot –
a shot house-martin dive-bombs
“extreme wardrobe malfunction”
that ‘mal’ puts us in mind of

                     Walter Benjamin’s
Art In The Age Of Mechan
-ical Reproduc
,  7  [new and used] reviews,
“extreme wardrobe malfunction”


scooped plump in a bustier
white-laced and fraying
“extreme wardrobe malfunction”
cleavage as an illusion
Blu-Ray porn vids miss
such louche beauty
of disarray and
ruction – Charlie B’s ‘passing
  [His italics].  Done.

                    “extreme wardrobe malfunction”
the scented letters
courtesans don’t hide
in their deep-scalloped bosoms
the press of such pure fiction

                    sink-plunge sucker-cup
the sweet pap swelling
whilst, after deduction, we
know it should nourish a child
[and still she’s an Amazon]
nipple as discourse
house-martins, bling, CGI
for this frayed bra-strap
– “extreme wardrobe malfunction” –
Kung will ping in chafed release

                    one nipple as star
hackneyed male desire – blah, blah
[Hai-Far] aniseed-flower
– “extreme wardrobe malfunction” –
own the means of [re]production

“extreme wardrobe malfunction”


                      The Green Man and not
Ronald Johnson’s second tome
the original
where I took Hai-Far
so as to inhale her hair
eyes              constellations
tank-top and one bub
order a knife-fight
but knife-fights are off                just crisps
kitsch mercurial optics
                        Loughborough Junction
flaming but still a lock-in
an established fact –
as absinthe slips down a drain
allotments grow more quickly


                        aphids in lichen
the tremble in his fingers
Ursa Major the
seethes in the curl of a fern
bifurcated tongue
out from her serious mouth
a folded dock-leaf
verdigrises’ contact-lens goes
plip-plop in his Triple Leffe
                      someone’s iPod is
a drilled white-noise tinnitus
we exist beyond
their left ear        once-pierced, no twice
little stereo-whistle


                       Buckminster Fuller
dismissed pi from mathematics
read accordingly
Municipal islands ‘all
Klimpt with violets’.  Unquote.
saplings and tubers
mutually parasitic
‘Got a lighter, mate?’  Seed-pods
for eyes.  Spring in the gutters
crocus yellow livery

        the pavement is mist,
Hai-Far sways holds out her palm
‘You are The Green Man
my liege, take these and seethe.’  Primed,
I wade ash to the juke-box.


                         Her shoulders, lightning
still.  She says, ‘Uplift here the
parched fir’s under-parts
to glimpse the turquoise needles
deer nuzzle under when the
snow is at waist-height.’
Each ‘yes’ is too slow, this one
took a century
moreover his calligrammes
have melted.  Words, always words.

                          Pulling aside his
shirt he huskily orders
‘Bite, please, bite me here’.
Chokecherry.  Aniseed-star.
The colourations of night

                        privatise the sea
its Sensurround gluck and swell.
He drops a fire-work
in the melee, whatever
a melee is.  Harbour-walls.
Whatever sheer side-
ed liner passes, up-close
its fog-horns honking
the sound is distilled into
a pipette, shut in a safe.

                           Kung at the port-hole
knelt, seeing history squint.
Dew on the vine-stocks,
cinders in the air. In what-
ever fig-arbor                           somewhere.   


                           ‘Buckminster Fuller
invented rhododendrons’
said the kingfisher
having fled its trembling branch.
‘Quien es?’ it says, ‘Quien
    es?’ at the cabin
-mirror. One non-sequitur
follows another.
Non-sequiturs following
non-sequiturs are not quite

                          non-sequiturs then?
‘Follow that, my man.’
Kung will wait outside
breathing in iced mountain air.
He composes a canto


                         where the voices say:
‘I will be estranged from my
lover, not because
I no longer love her but
but because the word ‘estranged’
is so beautiful’.
Say, ‘Under proscenium-
arches, pear-shaped women are
vilified’.  Say, ‘Self-doubt is
the new certainty’.

                         They say, ‘But this is
all Chinoisery, like Pound.’
And Kung will walk past
these bluey-green cedars, pluck-
ing a quatrefoil clover.

Matthew Caley's Thirst (Slow Dancer, 1999) was Nominated for The Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Since then he's published four more collections, the most recent Rake (Bloodaxe, 2016). He recently worked as a tutor for The Poetry School and is currently an Associate Lecturer in Contemporary Poetry/Creative Writing at The School of English, St Andrews University. The Foldings is a long poem in 15 line ‘tonnets’ – hybrid of sonnet and tanka – where the stanza-order was chosen by an aleatory procedure i.e. the rolling of dice.