The "me" section: I'm a poet and translator living in Oxford who likes to arrive on foot. Links: www.myspace.com/markleechpoetry, www.markleechpoetry.net
(after the Old English)
Listen: this is the truth.
Months aboard, salt in my palms,
voices crackling round dim lights. The data,
the data building, bleak, bitter.
Waves pound the sensors, warming.
Night again, again, bent at the screens,
the sea invisible, felt.
Cold against my hand, unravelling
as the engine turns. The data builds.
I watch a death start.
On land I smell the rot.
At sea, sick, I gather dismal proofs
close enough to ice to see the blue face
breaking, chill tongues shivered to melt on my skin
as the ship breathes by, waves scraping
with their paws, birds scattered - their cries
fall where their wings fail, lost in warm winds.
The water rises under me. I do not dream.
The city heats. Round the dock I sailed from
towers full of light, people talking over the news.
Bulbs' warmth rises unnoticed
until in the waves it brushes metal
and pours into the database.
Heat rising. I watch alone.
Outside there's still frozen air,
blue light-taste air -
I should breathe along with it
but better to keep my eyes on the screen,
each swell and shift pitching me forward
- new readings.
No comfort in homes, not
in a clean street,
a perfume, a birth, because
I can see their consequence
in figures, projections:
for trees desert, for cities flood,
for crops rank death, for earth rank death.
When summer blooms, I must reach
for my data, the processor's confirmation
humming into my head, music
playing me a sick world.
All I gather
is read and ignored, lies in rooms, is burnt,
feeds back to the sensors.
Those who do look are blind, or dumb.
I gather, I model, I forecast, the sea's
illness weighs on me and I can't turn
from the display, the pouring data,
its electric drone, my life all now
one dark piece on the ocean.
All night ice limps along the hull
pressing close, groaning for
I do not believe
Earth can endure