Poetry at Sangam



WINDOWS by Jonathan Skinner

the eye must begin somewhere
with a blue mountain horizon
wooded flanks, rocky summit
something more than a ridge
arrow to the sky, juniper-tufted
slopes guide the view to a green
river-bottom bounding a field
of olives planted in eight rows
against the adjoining tawny
field of knocked over turnips
rows smoky as Athena’s iris
the ground between spotted
with buttercups and daisies
becoming white butterflies
a warbler swoops to the top
of the frame, branch in beak


fauvette warbler grimpereau
creeper roitelet kinglet rouge
queue redstart rousserolle
reed warbler pinson chaffinch
mésange tit moineau sparrow
sizerin redpoll alouette skylark
bruant bunting corneille crow
sittelle nuthatch cincle dipper
accenteur hedge sparrow
bergeronnette wagtail tarin
pine siskin verdier greenfinch
étourneau starling gobemouche
flycatcher troglodyte wren
rossignol nightingale traquet
wheatear bouvreuil bullfinch
loriot oriole pouillot warbler


stumble into spaces between
the expanding and contracting
membrane song of the cicada
which possibly hasn’t changed
since before traffic you stand
still to hear the whole signal
fuzzy as an old needle sounds
except it’s the time distorted
from then to now nowhere
sharp as the air clear to bright
reflections on a distant ridge
the sunlight patch on this oak
in shaded woods oval windows
down a stalk the wild thyme
intoxicating you take a picture
of a wrecked bus in the vines


thunder collapses pressure
in bones waking up at three
to lightning out the window
lit up olive groves clouds
bolted together an instant
of electrical contact flashes
reveal houses hills without
grounding snaking ridge
lines the mountain shrugs
off shouldering its weather
storm’s spectacle goes silent
high voltage pantomime
drawing smells of rain close
ozone not breaking the seal
of warm valley air sitting up
lingering to count strikes


a cicada starts up stroking
its guïro in clarity that comes
with aridity the repercussion
of an air gun to scare crows
a truck motorcycle van car
cutting through deep time
what resists when even stone
crumbles & poets collaborate
in villages on broadband as
post-resistance social media
only the birds at El Retiro
make calls with their phones
jaseur bohemian waxwing
feed on ornamental berries
in parking lots the glass
on your device looks inside


in loving grace to remember
without the power of “again”
what was lived and what lost
to open multiple windows
on the past continuing past
breaks to let go and return
to a self on glass in the Chisos
not forgetting argumentative
snow biting the desert air
nor warmth found at the edge
what lies inside and what is
seen without glass will it go
beyond the present view to
adjacent meadows strange
to attention will we continue
the same desire placed anew


a picture of a van missing its
windshield in the vines glass
harvested or shatterproofed
into pebbles carried to dens
losing their light in uncertain
earth a foreign ruin strange
as particles of magnetic tape
flaking off the sound of Tim’s
Volkswagen happily idling
twenty years back at Clapham
Junction ready for the long
trip south we are still making
the question of resistance
matter as human memory
can we listen to the stories
ants will tell about our stuff


shadowy figures advance
within the beach dazzle
of a Lampedusa holiday
at the edge of the ocean
behind the screen twitter’s
scrim “moving through”
desire contained in need
the haves and have nots
coexisting at the shore
of what rises to meet us
futures overly scripted
in shots of grainy rafts
across corporate waters
no mind communicates
least of all compassion
data casts no windows