Lincoln Jaques – Rain

Lincoln Jaques LEP&W V1 Dec 2022

Download PDF Here 13th Anniversary
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One December 2022.

Rain, Poems by Lincoln Jaques.

Strange Greetings

This morning
I finished
my breakfast
that served
all the food
on mismatched
I stepped
onto the street
and a guy
coming along
said ‘Hey man!”
And I said ‘Hey!”
And then I saw
he realised
I wasn’t the bro
he thought
I was but his smile
and we high
and I walked down
the street
thinking of
those mismatched
and the mismatched
look on the stranger’s


As he walks down the aisle
she loops a thumb under his
jumper hem. Points out all
the exotic fruits to him.
Dragon fruit.

She’s imprinting these names
on his failing memory.

He picks up a feijoa
holds it to his nose
but doesn’t inhale.

Yesterday the rain fell
so heavily it stopped
traffic. I sat in a long
queue of sinking cars
going nowhere. I thought
of the woman and her husband,
how she held onto his hem
how he sensed somehow
if she let go, he’d stop
shuffling along, stand and wait
for her to touch the hem again.
Then he would take another step.

Through the rain yesterday
I saw another man sitting in a bar
alone. Sipping his spirit
staring at nothing, not even the tv
hinged in the corner. His face reminded
me of a friend with Parkinson’s.
The last time I saw him he talked
as if he didn’t really know me
but was chatting to me anyhow
just to be polite. He walked with a stick
and he ate his food slowly, not tasting it.
He died alone at home sitting in a chair
not knowing what he was waiting for.

What did we talk about at that final lunch?
I remember he told me dragon fruits
are called pitaya in Peru.
His ex-wife told me they found him clinging
onto the hem of his jumper.

And I said, that wasn’t so strange.

Instructions for Self-Mummifying

The Egyptians weren’t the only ones
to practice mummification. But at least
they had the decency to die first.

Encased in a glass tomb, reflections
of trees and of yourself staring back
a Buddhist monk in Thailand sits mummified.

They call it Sokushinbutsu.
The Buddhist act of self-mummifying.
Only 17 have managed it between 1081 – 1903.

They weren’t dead when they started
out on this journey. Far from it.
But they farewelled their loved ones, their disciples

as if they were taking a trip to Lanzarote.
Köbö Daishi was said to have started the trend.
He entered nyūjō a meditation so deep it resembled

suspended animation. He reduced his diet
to “tree-eating training”. First only fruits and nuts
then boiled teas of pine needles and bark.

Until he starved himself into nirvana, expelling
from his muscles all fat and nutrients. Then lastly
arsenic water, small amounts, to slow the heart

to cease the brain activity. He’d ring a bell
every so often so they knew he wasn’t dead
yet. Then when the bellringing stopped

they sealed the small tomb. He would stay
like that for 5 million years. Now the monk
that sits on display on Samui Island

his mouth dropped open slightly as if he
had one final thing to say, dressed in a filthy
ochre robe, his skin like an elephant’s rump

and most notably, a pair of Ray-Ban on his nose
(they’d taken out his eyes, for him to see better
or so they believed). I put out of my mind

for now the nightmares that will haunt
me later after they inform us that his hair
and nails still grow. Who has the job of clipping them?

But the way we’re going in 5 million years
when he awakes, I feel sorry that he’ll miss
his big moment, stretching those poor limbs

and taking off his dark shades like a mafia
Don expecting his disciples gathered only
to find the temple empty and the waters flooding in.

Moving South While Slowly Drowning

the rivers silently rose
but we ignored them.

I made a fist
the river drowned it

a cricket crawled
out of the sun, bleached

the secrets of wet leaves
cling onto dead trees

everything has changed
everything remains the same

they raise banners pour out
anti-war slogans

they have no limbs
they can’t even crawl home

but home has been removed
the burning fires extinguished

we can only find direction
by moving backwards

its winter, I’m sitting watching
two pigeons fight over a crust

neither seems to be getting
the larger piece.

© Lincoln Jaques

Lincoln Jaques’ poetry, fiction and travel writing has appeared in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, the US and Ireland, most recently in Tough Magazine, Noir Nation, Poetry NZ Yearbook, The Agape Review, Mayhem, Burrow, Tarot, Loud Coffee Press, Book of Matches, Live Encounters and Poetry for the Planet: An Anthology of Imagined Futures. He was a 2020 Vaughan Park Residential Scholar/Writer, a finalist and Highly Commended in the 2018 Emerging Poets and was the featured poet for the spring 2021 edition of the New Zealand Poetry Society’s magazine a fine line. He lives in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland).

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