Jayne Fenton Keane

Jayne Fenton Keane

Jayne has graciously provided us with a copy of her CD, The Stalking Tongue, and in this month’s audio presentation, we present several selections from this work.

In addition, Jayne has also provided the text to a poem she calls: A Compendium of Eyes. By way of explanation, Jayne writes:

Here is an experimental poem. The premise [behind it] is that poets have always made reference to eyes and they pride themselves on reporting what they see. As they all have unique voices and are placed at different points in history, I attempted to mimic the style of particular … poets from around the world … in a vignette-style arrangement of commonplace … and bigger political scenarios.

In addition to the audio features listed below, Charlie recently conducted an in depth interview with Jayne to get a better feel for the poetry scene “down under” as well as Jayne’s views on writing and the writing process. The interview may be streamed or downloaded. Warning–the interview is large–streaming is recommended:

A Compendium of Eyes

….And eyes big love-crumbs (e.e.cummings)

i like your small bones and thighs of glass
cases. Such intricate woven strands of light.
Fibres brighter and glaze warm.
i like your small fingers. i like their flare,
i like their smooth. i like to watch their sparks
on my body and its bones, and the sparkling
– pat tter (ns) which snap
along nerve after nerve
sharp, i like feeling the dark and light of you,
i like, slowly stroking the sudden edge
of your cool (ed) molten skin, and the this-goes-here
command of your flesh…

and possibly I like the cast

look of you dappling over me

My guts the strings of my eyes…(TS Eliot, Ash Wednesday)

Lady, three white foolish myths shatter the cool tomorrow
In the blue layer of feeling, hunger transparent
Handmade stomach heart and liver, containing the hunger
In a starving hard commitment. And work ethic said
Sell me your bones. sell me
Their contents or I will demand compensation.
And the chirping glass structures (which were eternally vacant)
Said: because of the foolishness of this Lady
And because of her hungry orbs, and because
Of her mouth full of silica
We pour forth our pockets of glittering shards
Accept the sand of oblivion, and fracture
In the immensity of this gilded and blasted rule of horn
To which we offer our guts
And the translucent strings, attached to our indigestible time
Which the tongues forget but the flesh remembers
As a cruel hour, as only the cruellest hours
Are pared to a union of driftwood and myrrh
And other ridiculous forget me not games
Heavy with circuses and bread, and games of chance.
That rattle in hourglass stomachs and heads. And work ethic said
Do not grieve for the poor lazy sods heavy with famine
What they surrender is yours for the taking.
The bones opened their translucent valves and played
Talk and grow rich
Pull any strings
Be the greatest
Living salesman
Or the greatest
Dead salesman
Create wealth without wealth
Without heart
But with stealth
Terminate competitors
And their homes
Feel satisfied
Or unsatisfied
As long as it pays
And you pay
With or without
Your stomach
Your heart
Or your liver
Grace to gold
And the endless
Pursuit of profit
In cool shattering tomorrows where bones play whitening songs
The blueness sets in invisibly, and the myths grow larger
Than the original myths and the keeper of the myths, Lady
Merchandising, forgets her intention to donate.
By the flecks and glitter of industrial diamonds, by
the laws of addition, subtraction and multiplication
She steals. She takes. And they have lost their inheritance.

In faith I doe not love thee with mine eyes (Shakespeare, sonnet cxli)
In taste I could not love you with my eyes.
Your face is a nervous cracking vessel
And your heart a cracking yellowing blind
That bangs with pain against a rotting sill,
While your voice aggravates my nerves like fever.
You are as tender as glass, and as kind
As an adored and battered piece of furniture
That presses its patterns against my thighs
And surrenders itself to my troubles.
I would not have you any other way
For you remain utterly smashable,
In your glass splendour, and ivory days.
There is nothing but love beyond reason
That can make me fear and love this treason.

Dark deadly eye… (Ted Hughes, Thrushes)

Terrifying are the nervous bleak gulls among the rocks
Here, soiled keeled claws scratching — a foiled
Stark kitten paw, shrunken and glaring
Covered with glassy splinters — with a curious hunger
Overtaking the fear of cats and anything to do with their purring.
Claws completely preoccupied with maiming, round
Upon the desolate shrivelled amputation,
Full of fright and hunger.

There are not enough one-legged gulls in this sandy
Spit full of tourists, though, by the bar, are crutches
Leaning against memories of shrapnel and rope,
Fishing inner pain that once had a meaning.
Now hunger flocks to a stench of shrivelled amputated paw
Stiff and shining in its aluminium nest:
Clutched around a snatch of old yellowing feathers
And pieces of scalp.

Voices in a glasshouse slur with heroism and lies,
Truths exaggerated and understated
Depending upon the man and how rewarding
Years have been or become, since the great years
Stored in the limb. The one with the rim of felt around its edge
Screeching and hungry and curious those white-capped heads
Bent around a foil-cradle dropped by the shore.
How splintered they appear.

The orange pumpkins have no eyes. (Sylvia Plath, Poem For A Birthday (Who))

The night of quarrelling’s begun. The verb’s in,
Swallowed or sprayed. The men are snarls.
Unloading their stores of spirits.

This bar’s rusting with riveted eyes:
Screeching, stalking, busted butts
Of stubbed out neurones in glass capped lids.

Enter a moony cataract.
A strip of gauze, sticking
Irises inside the brain.

If only these images would stop rewinding.
Memory a jamming door. Days a series of tunnels.
Life a boulevard of slaughter.

Scalps are shiny in this light.
Age spots fray and bleed at the edge:
The toughest medals of all.

Tumbling in cliffs of cheery melting icebergs.
The sleek lines of arctic birds full of anti-freeze.
Their claws soft as gunpowder.

O the warmth of denial!
The room is full of smoked glass eyes.
Outside the gulls screech and shit on the windowsill.

Now it is Hitchcock.
A penguin with a camera
Tying gulls to their shoulders.

Mothers, tie their children’s mouths
Shut. Fathers learn to smoke cigars and say nothing.
Poker machines turn on rows of pecking red.

One said: don’t stare dear, and close off your ears.
Dragging lumpy blubber child
Away from the phosphate piles at their heels.

The sandcastles crumble to shapeless mounds.
The men open their rusting bunker lips.
Out of their gape pours wing after melted wing.

Kita adalah manusia bermata sayu, yang di tepi jalan
“We are the people with sad eyes, at the edge of the road”
(Taufiq Ismail, the republic is ours)

There is always a choice. We can’t
The glittering facade of wealth
And retain our soil.

Should we march in burning
Smoke and its charcoaled grins
Or eat off a floor
Of scorched forest earth
With fat officials
Who graze our future like goats.

There is always a choice. We can’t
Or fear losing, when we have already lost courage
And wisdom and security.
We are no longer in control
Of anything except our struggle and own survival

In the face of floods, drought, exchange rates, crime and suicide
And a puzzling reputation for affluence
That our children are forced to believe.
There is always a choice. We can’t

and my barred eyes (James Gleeson, Demolition of a Palace)

Not a case of
a cannon or a star ride,
in this silence more potent than words
and clear:
and acetone
in its refusal to
while shrinking to otherness
(as the script of your flesh attests
and insists
upon this part)
stumbling around the
wrong lines for my voice,
while you and your shadows
wait. Three sisters
planning a nightmare.

Eyes to eyes (Members Of The Family, Vincente Huidobro)

Street to street
Sky to sky
Give me your money
I can’t give you
I’m all pins and glue

Car to car
Earth to earth
Give me the right of way
I can’t give you
I’m the path’s keeper.

Shop to shop
Sun to sun
Give me your glittering
I can’t give you
I’m time’s mother

Wound to wound
Lake to lake
Give me your question
I can’t give you
I’m blood’s sister.

Toe to toe
Tree to tree
Give me your altitude
I can’t give you
I’m the sky’s martyr

Tremor to tremors
Dirt to dirt
Strip to strip
Eye to eye
The garden of anger has Siamese roots
Pushing through ruins of hope in clusters
Rhizomes in a parade of tendrils
Squeezing the days densely into our skin.

As a man feels linked / To his eye. (Brecht; We Have Made A Mistake)

You were supposed to reflect light
And heat, not these withering
Pale, disjointed dashes.

You were supposed to have reasoned
Beyond the inspector’s
Blow it up
Account. Were not expected to have
Moral fibre, though you
Linked hypocrisy
To your lips.

Your espionage lacked subtlety.
Your video image
A dissolving screen
Another makeover, another cry
For reason, expecting
From others, everything you weren’t
Prepared to give.
Where is the man
Behind that look of incredulity?

– trash in the world’s eyes (Bruce Dawe; for both of you)
Suddenly the view from this year became too much
of a pin prick. A range of dull foggy greens
the fauna, and it was easy to strap
that zoom-lens telescope
to the barrel of vision, its adjustable black
a frame for a future held in the scope
of a tiny patterned circle
of evolution, while back in layers of gloss
a reflection burns under the chin, as years
of sucking water lay rigid beneath
pink curling lines of cells, and only the oily
smudges of path
can prove this year was inhabited
by more than an eye strapped to a lens

Jayne Fenton Keane

Audio Selections

echoes in the cave
[ Stream | Download ]
incoming coma
[ Stream | Download ]
[ Stream | Download ]
one in five
[ Stream | Download ]
[ Stream | Download ]
[ Stream | Download ]
pre-cognition IVF
[ Stream | Download ]
economic rationalism
[ Stream | Download ]
postcards from the edge
[ Stream | Download ]
they call me meat cleaver baby
[ Stream | Download ]

Click here to stream all the selections.

Jayne also has a very cool website at: www.poetinresidence.com