A lamppost named Mark

by Paul-Newell Reaves



“How much time passes

in the blinking of an eye?”

Said the half-blind,

one-eyed lamppost.


“How much time passes

in the blinking of an eye.”

Said the half-blind,

one-eyed lamppost.


I’ll get a day older

till the day I die,

scribble, scribble,

then kick-fade to black.


You know by the Sun and you know by the Earth,

by the nights ten, by the odd then the even,

by the lamppost factory near the heart of the city.

Where, long ago, not far from here,

I recall the beginning.

How much time passes,

from then till now,

in the blinking of an eye.


A serial number welded to our hero’s skin,

that is how our stories begin.



“You’ll never catch me alive, coppers,”

a composite ill-suited to this serial town,

the Lamppost hobbled to the crossroads

and held out his thumb to flag the hovering night-train.

How much time,

how much one-eyed time.


On the darkest of nights as the moon first waxed,

the Lamppost could not see the man wearing all black.

With a rose et al. law-stick, the lamppost’s arms froze to the crosswalk

— the poor, poor, half-blind lamppost,

you know he was born with only

how much time.


And that was the end.


—Unless I’ve misremembered,

which happens now and then.



You know, perhaps—

perhaps you know—

there are so many lampposts…

One hero must have caught that hovering train,

escaped his fate, so late, so late,

at night, at night, at night.


On a dark speeding train, our hero, waiting,

watching lights cast shadows,

“Where to, Mr.?”

“The only place I ever go

no matter where I am,



“Like beauty making beautiful old rhyme,

Or consciousness evoking this sweet lie,”

The Lamppost, half-blind, asked the starry sky,

“The blinking of my eye does pass the time?”


Now on that train I cautiously awake,

don’t give the dream time to evaporate,

pick up my pen, scribble Defenestrate.

I smile, then laugh, and wakefulness forsake.


My lamppost hero journeyed cross the sands—

Deserted desert cut by canyon ridge—

He dangerously danced along the edge.

This precipice cannot be crossed by man.


“Unless the time that travels makes me man,

enough to see the cliffs become the sand.”



Sideways eights,

upside down sevens,

forward arrows,

evolutionary rocks:

perhaps the lamppost’s name

was Mark.

But many that are first shall be last;

and the last first.


(concerning the dark,

the other end of the tunnel…

Long ago on the Isle of Mann

rising above the Irish Sea—

refusing the yellow rose, my hand,

Anna turned her shoulder on me.

Now as I swim I dream of land,

sifting from darkest depths of memory.

Read one more chapter if you can—

you’ll hear more of the Lamppost story:)



Lamppost lost in vast shadowy elsewhere,

turns down a shallow, unknowable road,

where names cost a smile, a drink buys a kiss,

and lights turn on only in


How many eyes pass, from then until now,

in the blinking of a time.


“Why, hello, pretty Signpost.

You must have a name as warm as your face.

Say again, Signpost? 

  You haven’t a voice?

Then lovely Signpost, Signpost love,

let me communicate love with a kiss. 

But what do I see?  No lips for a kiss?

Then Signpost of beauty,

Signpost of grace,

let us gaze through failing vision,

for in eyes we have infinite space.

You haven’t even a single eye?”

Serial composition cursed whom?


Born half-blind, with two good legs, illuminating

the darkness wherever he wanders,

One shadow of light against the dark, casting

shadows of dark against the light.


So every moon rise recalls the orchid eyes

of the beautiful Anna Signpost;

and every midnight hour, soaked in star showers,

deeper wades the luminous Lamppost;

till deep in his dreams, where a sea of sand gleams,

she speaks to him, speaks to him, volumes and reams,

in his dreams by the sandy sea—

in his solitude down by the sea.



Anna Signpost, famous clairvoyant, an Isle of Mann, none the less,

knew just the right place to wait for the right time.

When finally she spoke—with two good hands and a wicked pack of smokes

and no regard for rhythm, reason or rhyme:—

“We modern Gods redeem,

our holy sky, explosive sheen,

with poetry and narrative dreams.

“Eleven, thirty-two, both minus one;

Jai-alai bottle of visible ink.

I’ve heard the old song, how Finnegan wakes—

Rose et al. stone throw through.

“See how they fall?  See how they rise and fall?

opposing end to opposing end—endlessly sine curving:

Lamppost and window; populist and poet;

the odd then the even; the sledgehammer and the swan.”

“But cannot I form? Cannot I create?

another world, another verse

to overbear and crumble this to naught?”

“Throughout it all you must have forgot

that riddle, riddle, then kick-fade to black.”

“But where do we stand?

On what mountain plant our feet,

so to yell at the sky?”

“Socratic Mark, don’t dim, don’t dim,

emphatic barks of lyrical sin—

revel, revolve, revolution.

Berlin Walls, Jerusalem Gates,

depleted Plutonium concentrate—

revel, dissolve, revolution.

Window open to elsewheres unknown,

meditate on a balcony prayer throne—

revel, revolve, evolution.

“That mountain’s named Populism.”



“If time-space’s the Atlas, is death the last pain?

Will bright lights ever shine on Earth again?

O, bid me leap, from off the battlements of any tower.”

The lamppost, dreaming,

jumps through the window, experiencing


for very first time,

L-7 L-7






Placebo of poison, distilling liquor vile;

only a gun that fired a flag;

a tessellating rose;

no serial number, no code of bars.

He swan dove

in the unknown.

How much time, 

how much one-eyed time.



The Beginning:

NOTES to Lamppost Poem: 

Muhammad the Prophet, Sura 87;

Shakespeare, William, Sonnet 106;

The King James Bible, Gospel of Mark, 10:31;

Poe, Edger Allen, Annabelle Lee;

Elliot, T.S., the Wasteland;

Keats, John, Hyperion a fragment;

Shakespeare, William, Romeo and Juliet;

Bugs Bunny, Tex Avery, creator.


A defense of the Lamppost Poem

Meaning is no Modern or Post-modern sentiment.  That everything will make sense when thought about did not feature in these eras of literature.  One reading of the Wasteland, and the Cantos of Ezra Pound, they give promises of overarching, underlying meaning, that ultimately dissolve.  Since Derrida, even language itself, and all built with language, is meaningless.

However, if one believes theorists such as Lennard Davis or Jeffery Nealon, then we have moved past Post-modernism. I have argued the name for this new artistic era needs keep the Post and ditch the Modern: Post-humanism?— really not as depressing as first glance at the theory may suggest.  This new era need develop some new aesthetic values: brand new, not reactionary; not the flip-side of Post-modernism; not a reversion to pre-Enlightenment moralities.

Since the mid-nineteen-nineties, applied mathematics suggests there is some degree of knowability to the universe; I happen to believe we will grow asymptotically closer to a unified theory of everything— hey, I’m an optimist.  But whether or not we ever come any closer to understanding the universe, at this moment in history, we believe it may be possible.  What a break with the traditions of Modernism and Post-modernism: Meaning.  Hence, the Lamppost poem.

I view A lamppost named Mark as a sine curve.  I filled the second part II. with as many meanings as possible: from numbers that reference, to Disability Studies, to importance in who speaks what, to escaping death.  Both part III.s ask questions I consider elemental to existence.  As for the significance of the window, well, it always stands for something more and different, but at this historical moment, the window is Post-post-modernism and our new century.



more Art of Throwing People Out Windows

keep surfing through for the 2017 !Short Story Contest!




Facebooktwitterlinkedinrssby feather
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

6 Responses to “A lamppost named Mark”

  1. Defenestrationism.net » Blog Archive » A lamppost named Mark pt: II. Says:

    […] « A lamppost named Mark […]

  2. Defenestrationism.net » Blog Archive » A lamppost named Mark: pt. III. Says:

    […] full Lamppost Poem, in […]

  3. Defenestrationism.net » Blog Archive » A lamppost named Mark: pt. 0. Says:

    […] read the full lamppost poem, in order […]

  4. Defenestrationism.net » Blog Archive » A lamppost named Mark: pt1.2 Says:

    […] read whole Lamppost poem, in order, here. […]

  5. Defenestrationism.net » Blog Archive » a Lamppost Named Mark: pt. 2.2 Says:

    […] read (almost) full Lamppost Poem, here […]

  6. Defenestrationism.net » Blog Archive » A lamppost named Mark: pt 3.2 Says:

    […] read full Lamppost Poem, in order, here […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to
Defenestrationism reality.

Read full projects from our
retro navigation panel, left,
or start with What’s New.