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The Kite


The Kite
By John W. Sexton

(for one player)

You must have no kite.

An empty upstairs room says, enter.
The window says, open,
says, open wide.

The wind comes into the room.
The wind exits the room.
The wind says, find me.

The sleeve says, tear me.
You tear off the sleeve,
tear off the sleeve of your shirt.

The sleeve bleeds a thread.
You hold on to its end.
The wind comes in through the window.
The sleeve rises up in the wind.
The sleeve leaves through the window.

The wind fills the sleeve.
Watch the sleeve find its shape,
find its shape in the wind.

The wind says, come, to the sleeve.
You say, stay.

You hold on to the thread.
You and the wind fight for the sleeve.
One will win.

* * *

John W. Sexton lives in the Republic of Ireland. His eighth poetry collection, The Nothingness Kit, was published by Beir Bua Press in 2022. A chapbook of surrealist poetry, Inverted Night, came out from SurVision in 2019. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. His poetry and fiction is widely published and some has appeared in Apex, Dreams & Nightmares, The Edinburgh Review, The Irish Times, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Mirror Dance, The Pedestal Magazine and Strange Horizons.

Where do you get the ideas for your poems?

Around 1978, which was my twentieth year, and as a struggling poet trying to make sense of poetry as a construct of imagination, but finding my imagination often challenged by lack of self-confidence, I began to find light breaking out from European poetry in translation. And as soon as I had encountered it, all that light began to break into the fractures of my own weak imagination. It began to concretize inside me, and I was transformed by its giddy merry-go-round of technique and theory. One of those poets who brightened my mind considerably was the Yugoslavian (present-day Serbian) Vasco Popa. His style was a mix of surrealism, folktale, and proto-Martianism. Encountering him was utterly liberating. And in his poems there seemed to be a quest for reality in existence by inventing new conditions for existence. It was through Popa that I began to fully understand the power of metaphor. One set of poems, from the 1956 collection Unrest-Field, concerned itself with invented, and sometimes simply subverted, games; games that were described through a series of instruction. In reading them I began to see more clearly the magical element of the games we play as children. These were lessons that have stayed with me for over four decades as a poet, and I often return to them as catalysts for new work.