1775 c/o Martin Jackson

Happy birthday, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling.
Lots of love, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

Vision me this, roomie:
a mile-long treadmill
unfurled across the Obersee
of Bodensee:

one end cleat-hitched to Immenstaad’s pier,
the other untethered, to let
the somehow pontooned
black track loll

across water grey as lavender
and goose-bumped
by the January dawn breeze.
Fuck me it’s cold

but you’re the one in shorts and trainers
who steps on, jiggling each leg’s
already stretch-lubed muscles.
A megaphone crackles.

Auf die Plätze…
and you’re off

as cockily slow as I thought you’d be –
but your saunter’s
made trot-fast
by that cog-torqued deck;

and that left stride right doubling
left speed right tweaking
suckers you in to a jog
then a sprint then –

a couple of hundred metres in –
to left-right full pelt right-left
knees right-left pistoning
ripples right-left patterning out

towards the lakeside.
Where, though I know I’m lost
among the thousand abstract others
white-knuckling their flags and banners, I wave

as I think how Pheidippides’ Nike+-busting
marathon was a measurable run
but a pedometer would know as much
as an armchair pedant knows history

as faster than fast as can be
you spittle-smile at the skewwhiff skein
of geese babble-honking above,
about to make for planes

and satellites an arrow
of this disappointed footbridge,
this nowhere path,
this begin-

that ends
before you can arc into
the swan-dive of meaning
with a step

not so much missed
as mistaken: foot into water
that splits to blood as it slaps
the skin of your cheek.