Three Poems by Coen van der Wolf

Homage to Kafka

  ”My son’s so smart: call him a dog

   Next thing you know, he’s writing a story about one!”

  What office, to lose the name of subscription

  We with such props as joiners know abscond,

  Myriad mediation. One cannot have

  Individuation without planets, beautiful to assertion.

  Is there a facet

  Skimped on in our Telosseum?

  He had by heart the geometry of failure.

  A sage once minuted:  ”The human 

  Is the positive to innocence”.

  Should your tumbling rankle, reverberate –

  But unto what convincing individual, 

  Crying Zeno, I do not know.

  Our interest’s on the terminus;

  We didn’t start for scrutiny;

  And if he’s been known to struggle,

  Let abjection define him.

 ”Just like a saint,

   To admire the correctives!”

To cover one’s tracks, the dead are sprung

Il est aux Indes

All the world’s a stage –

Thanks for the heads-up, but Christmas gifts began appearing in June

long before global warming had started urban species off on love impromptus.

We may be blinkered with blood,

we are not killed by striated propaganda.

Standards? You don’t say.

You wanted things to coalesce for your retreat,

music to document, the way it only does

in series or divorce. Like an evening in a foreign town,

student-starved, hearing nothing of the Bataclan.

Expansive, like a room that jazz has opened.

That was the point: the world was gone

but he was interested

If, say, a forensic expert

If, say, a forensic expert,

reputable chap, you know him by his bow tie,

cross-examines a witness, a witness adamant

about the pilot’s mannerism as he completed

the final phase in some euphemism-making operation,

attacks the persistence of a memory above five years,

he is not asking the court to jettison the notion of remembrance;

just impugning the poignant fragment.

(Law is not the key to our faculties.)

There’s all this uproar and this poem

hasn’t even begun to whisper yet.

My friends are turning Catholic

and I haven’t even begun to snicker yet.

The fever and the mirror-

the farthest reaches of recurrent jest.

The guards are coming

and they know we’ve made our bed.

(The jest is none other than Lear’s:

a pretty reason)

Who are we to be

the only ones to suggest

life is always a bit wacky,

off-kilter in a killer way

Coen van der Wolf (1982) is a Dutch poet writing in English. He has been published by The White Wall Review and Mobius, among others. He is training to become a history teacher.

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