The Split. An Audio Textual Poem. Excerpt from All the Babble of the Souk


He knew not, he said, whether he was a butterfly 
	who awoke to find he was a man 
or a man who awoke to find he was a butterfly. 

To begin in the image, he kills for in his dreams 
	he wakes from half forgotten 
to the commotion of the day sealed by a story. 

To begin in the image, a view before the abyss 
	from old familiar haunts 
what clings, where there’s neither choice nor chance 
	yet beckons, to the impossible impasse. 

The Breach. 

Wu Ch Eng En descends 
	the mountain of the five elements 
bearing the moon as his lamp 
	forever grows longer, he muses 
leaving no footprints in the snow. 

	At daybreak the view is emptiness 
the truth of truth is its lie, he muses 
	to a lamp without a night. 

Wu Ch Eng En rested 
	to speak with the world on emptiness. 
He looked at the village’s railings 
	their fierce barbs pointing to the sky 

between which shadows peered 
	as if to promise through tricks of light 

Mystery but revealing only bondage 
	to landscapes in whose labyrinths 
you could believe you were in a place 
	you’d never left 
where to return was just deception. 

Must not you and i be inside emptiness 
	for we cannot both be outside 
but the world made no reply 
	lost to a fleeting memory 
that may never return or may. 

Wu Ch Eng En said 

	Day dreams the wandering mind 
as lonely as a cloud, flower and song 
	but not without blood 
the lifeless, Terra-Cota army 
	marches over our groundless days 
outwards from the tomb. 

Nature Thrives on Deception. 

Chuang Tze perched 
	on his usual precipice and reflected 
on to suicide or not to suicide. 

He recalled he had worn a dark suit 
	dark glasses, returned 
on a crowded summer’s night to a past 
	whose memories 
he could no longer remember 
	there he had sown his wild seed 
what had they come to now 
	but the way of all nothingness. 

There are those who maintain 
	creation is a purposeless drift 
those who maintain its entelechy 
	can simulate a deity of divine attributes. 

Chuang Tze  rocked to, fro 
	would not such deities grow perplexed 
about their state of affairs 
	traces of white fleece trailed 
across that blue emptiness called the sky 
	thus in that fall 

from that exalted simulation 
believe they were immortal souls. 

Chuang Tze said 

Even the wind is flawed 
	as it speaks through the leaves of trees 
the moment of history. 

Now caught in time evermore 
	yet the leaves belong to the branches 
to make small patterns in infinity. 

And we, where do we belong 
	with our swan song, as if we were going home 
the day after tomorrow. 

*(in homage to Ezra)



Robin Ouzman Hislop is on line Editor at Poetry Life & Times at His numerous appearances include Cold Mountain Review (Appalachian University, N.Carolina), The Honest Ulsterman, Cratera No 3 and Aquillrelle’s Best. His publications are collected poems All the Babble of the Souk, Cartoon Molecules, Next Arrivals & Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems. A translation from Spanish of poems by Guadalupe Grande Key of Mist and Carmen Crespo Tesserae, the award winning (X111 Premio César Simón De Poesía), in November 2017 these works were presented in a live performance at The International Writer’s Conference hosted by the University of Leeds. UK. A forthcoming publication of collected poems Off the Menu is expected in 2020


You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)