Thursday, March 28, 2013

Six poems for King Kong

for William Hawkins,

1. King Kong Goes to Cambridge

Washed ashore in statehood, long escaped from Rotterdam,

what might he know of low-hung rooftops, turret-stone, a bridge
held down eight centuries

of charter. Neither New York, nor his Island hideaway,

beyond his reach, a bray of school-bells,
silent throng of students cross the football fields.

Castle Hill, no trace of Viking rule. Once more, into the breach.

King Kong, inclined to lechery, a lack of forethought,
keeps close to ground, displaying Newton’s accidents of gravity.

A million miles between: a sense of fair play, given
existential due. If he could, ignite the football fields. He chews

the stupid mint.

2. King Kong Goes to Parliament Hill

When you were young and in your prime,

a battle of wills between you and Trudeau, Laurier LaPierre,
the American National Guard. Deflecting gains

from Empire State.

No flies on you, who once kicked dust from ancient tavern floors,
played Lowertown games of telephone and poems, walked

French Catholic blocks, tracked Sol’s sundial jaunt

across Sisters of Mercy. Now, you labour atop Peace Tower’s peak,
seemingly invisible.

Remain there long enough to count the strands of traffic
bridge the river Grand, now seven deep,

criss-crossing Chaudiere’s diminished boil.

3. King Kong Sketches out his Memoirs

One was neither moon, banana, idle threat,

nor sunlight. Monkey recollections. It begins
with a woman, this: his abject paw-pain, stench

of hair scorched short, these bi-plane flashbacks
of staccato fire. A pretty blonde to catch his eye

and chain, awarded less the mantle of grand beast

than curiosity, verging on cliché. A king
without a country. Ignored by National Geographic,

replaced instead by youngers; Coco paints, he signs,

he strokes his kitten; illiterate King Kong’s insight
no more legible than ice.

4. King Kong Goes to Stratford

Forget the appeal of Basque temples, foreign women,
the disappointments of Rotterdam, or the score

of Saudi-Arabian tributes; plenaries revealed during
a Shawville Fair lost weekend. Success breeds imitation,

and imitation, breeds; copies overwhelm the tabloids, distract
the purity of beasts. Come witness the original! King Kong,

Lord of Stratford. Daily matinee as Lear,

he begins to comprehend his offspring; perhaps,
how best to love them.

He reflects on age and wisdom, vanity.
They ask: what news of home, good sir?

Your faith will bring you nowhere.

5. King Kong Goes to Sleep,

Was it Monster Island,
Inlet, or Peninsula? Old King Kong, Caliban of movie beasts,

dreams abandoned trees and sunlight, morning dew
replaced by screams of flood lights, endless traffic,

brambles, fog of toxins. Who might even realize, now,

his long-lost ambitions to Regal England? Another island
set in sleepy stone, as water surrounds, envelops. Once protected

with the promise of boundary. Fixed
and held to centre, safe,

unable to cross.

6. King Kong Goes to Outer Space

Dawn, you told me, stings. Turbulence cultivates
the same blue as substratosphere, until

the stomach finally empties. Motion-sick, a memory
from another time, repeats: Dorothy, surrender.

An ocean he can’t fathom but for ocean. Sees stars,

adjusts his reading specs, accordingly. From here,
each patch of earth an island, equal. Surrounded

by expansive blue. Explorer Laika, astrochimps
like Ham and Enos. Save me. Kong,

absolute ape of empty space,
of all he sees, ahead. White knuckled,

hairs on end, how exactly

did you get here?


Unknown said...

I'm currently learning a song by Bruce Cockburn called King Kong Goes To Tallahassee which was inspired by the above poems. Thanks for posting them.

Unknown said...

I wrote a poem entitled "King Kong's Lament" in 1970 and it was published in the Rolling Stone issue #123 in December 1972. It was subsequently published in my first book of poems entitled "Incandescent" in October 2004.

Joseph Brush, Toronto