Some poetry by T. G. Vanini

Ten-fingers toad

Ten-fingers toad we said
on account of he has all his fingers
all of these fingers everywhere
but only one kidney one kidney
and that slap in the middle
slap in the kidney we said
that’s what’s like him that’s what

Ten-fingers toad we said
he calls croak and we all croak
but yesterday what did he go and do?
now there’s ice in his back pockets
fingers of ice stroking our cheekbones
two wise monkeys cracking their fingers
while See-no scratches a cheekbone

Ten-fingers toad we said
we hope you know what you’re doing
but there was no reason in his eyes
in his eyes there was no reason
flippety-flop on the big blue ball
he called and we answered nothing
nothing and again nothing

Incident at the Holland Tunnel exit

The tunnel was lit by glowing mangoes and lemons
rushing by in military rhythm,
stress met by stress.
The air was dull and heavy.
He drove with one hand on his brow
to hold all the bustling nerves together.
The march was joined by the drum in his chest,
then a scraping rasp which reached into his gizzard
and stripped the tender roots of their cover.
The bearing was bearing no more.
The wheel escaped the axle
and danced away crazily on a tether of sparks
drawn by a team of trumpets, pistons pumping.
Grey daylight swooped on the skittering creature
and lifted it through seven layers of atmosphere.
It hung high above the sulky clouds shuffling their feet,
unstoppable gyroscope, new Jupiter with milling moons,
and mocked him from its glittering height
as he stood in the wet mouth of the tunnel
and shrugged at his grounded aspirations
while an immense traffic jam blossomed from his seed.
But his head was host to a litany of growing things:

Foxglove, wolf’s tongue, flea-bane and yarrow,
ladies’ fingers and sprouted acorns,
motherwort, white shelves of fungus,
watercress and mountain laurel,
nightshade, snapdragons, jack-in-the-pulpit,
pirouetting sycamore seeds,
flannel mullein and rose hips,
angels’ teeth, rabbits’ ears, milkweed, sea-spray,
wilting lilies and yellow clouds of pollen,
trumpet vine, burdock, rue, sweet-pea,
glass-flowers, wintergreen, Scotch mist, cranesbills,
northern lights, velvet moss, crows’ feet, blue sedge,
tulip trees and wedding bowers,
sandalwood and acres of apple blossoms.


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