1664 c/o Sam Riviere

Claude nearly drowns when the river floods.
The water came in faster than he could run.
He's saved by the man who practically invented beer.

I am huge, obviously. I bathe the scene.
There's a smell of river muck. In the opposite house,
a poet's being born. The last part is his fist.

Water laps under the door with a noise
like an enormous black tongue lapping. Its stagnant smell
announces the poet. It sticks to him his whole life

and intensifies during the creative act.
He curses it aloud many times, shame
driving him from the library and his private studies.

If I seem conspicuous or bigger here, it's because
there aren't enough things to compare me to.
I am more like fizz inside his mind. His tiny fingers

are failing to define it. The smell reaches optimum strength
during his long incarceration, where contrary
to popular legend, he does not produce his best work.

Often, when he looks up from his writing, I appear
and disappear in the window. My reflection is a slice
of myself, sliced off. I am not a constant, clearly.

Soon we enter the age in which the state applauds the satirists.
Claude coughs up some river muck. I touch his face. I want
to be like something to drink. Inside his fermenting, fist-sized brain

I am studied, conceptualised, photographed, redesigned,
filtered, compressed, stored at supercool temperatures.
I am refined and then refined again. He perfects this version

and I see my face floating like white plastic on the waters
of the floods. It's like… I can't, for example, from here,
on May 4th, look much like a beercan, viewed from above.

I don't think I am mysterious enough.