Still Life with Dragonfruit and Absinthe Glass

by Iain James Robb


Befinden wird isoliert‘.Johannes Jakob Hrodebertsohn


…And bright inside this space, though outside lightfall?

The spillage of streetlamps does not cross the screens

of these encroaching borders, yet a door still opens:

into what? An inner courtyard behind eyelids opened,

as a fruit cut orange-wise into its quadrants

retains itself. I speak? A voice is always

dumb to mirror what it is and I retain reflections-

as one thing unreflected centers to itself.


Perhaps a while from now a world of purple flowers

strobes the wall that hides behind my island vision,

as a universe spilling through revolving doorways;

it does not matter much, it does not care.

My strawberry pear, mine now yet wanting always

a means to fix its distance, but it has no choice,

beside an inland cloud that shifts its patterned skyways,

but mine the silent register that mouths your voice:


an aniseed waltz that swings towards repletion,

the image of thinking in its own repass:

the thingness of which becomes its own completion,

a glass of absinthe in a world of glass.

And it is mine and you are my pitaya,

and it is still not mine and not of ‘My' the mass

I make and don't make for a glass of absinthe:

still life of dragonfruit and absinthe glass.


The points of my eyes behind the light white flowers,

the couch my harder garden you are my pitaya-

hylocereus costaricensis, no…

the yellow skinned one, megalanthus:

her heraldic armature of felted vulvas

circulating on their own blind sun.


There was a cactus once that held your brothers.

I scoop out you and see your eye, pitaya;

its beads are sown all across no centre:

but the centre is all ways; far across the nebula

all shutters up the milk that falls at fluttering

of a star, through eyes that shadow forth as stars.


And yet the taste is bland, less bland than tears, that pressed

on days without falling: now a fall through water.

Her flesh is white, and yet the green seems whiter,

and I find more sweetness in her bitterness.


Eternity beats for just a single season,

where the shade or substance beat a deadened drum-

the thingness óf which is its own repletion,

               Artemisia absinthium.

My finger rounds it all, and this completion

makes of its circuit of a rim one sum

of just an absinthe glass, that drifts towards depletion;

it is all it is, and yet it matters none.


I have not crossed inward to the birth of sunbursts,

that match their shadows through the panes of day:

but if a mask flash tranceward it can catch horizons,

as the lights outside, that do not mirror me.


Eternity lasts for just a single season,

whose second passed and yet no second is:

that sightless sphere the sea of listless verdure,

pear-shaped underneath a lamp-shaped sun-

where moons dissolved, a crack in glass a fissure

in a skyline clear as waves, that fail to fleet-

no tides my outward; there was no such wind

to mirror mind. The floats of Fall meet many

falls before they sift, from tourneys of the air.

It was just a dream, yet for the little warning

I've still wound up somewhere, and I have no fear.


…And somewhere stranded in the blanks of trance

is the hiding place, where I keep finding me.


Still eternity, sleeping through a single season,

as I shadow onward, tracking ‘eye' through ‘I',

is paceless as the gait that strays through reason;

no tides turn under the transparence high

above the blank equator just an eye can pass-

refractions of a dragonfruit and absinthe glass.

We sip, and slip awhile through infinity,

and do we die in dreaming: do we dream we die?