Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Amateur Hermeneutist

The self-styled world-weary and woke
Poetry book reviewer
Asserts tartly that I invoke
The worst a hermeneur
May bring to his note, by decree,
That states "no cishet white men".
Aided by a dichotomy
Between discrimination when
It is merely consumer choice
And when it involves oppression,
He expatiates with the voice
Of one whose pained confession
Is that he himself is "cishet".

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I rinse my hand briefly under the tap – lifting the toilet lid gave me a slight sense of having condensation on my fingertips – and the water is kept running to mask the sounds of my bowel movement. After using the rinsed hand to wipe myself, the tissue paper adheres to my damp fingers, preventing me from disposing of it; shaking it makes it hang down momentarily, like a tired festoon, which then falls onto the floor beside the toilet bowl.

Gloating at stale readdressers
Of love, I lengthen, in lieu
Of hypothetic successors
Hazarding poems for you,
Shadows beneath my beetling verse.
Groat, with likeness of the swain –
Let it be muled with the obverse
Die of a coin from my reign.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Prepared Eulogy

"If you start counting now," my mother would say, as we waited in the car park, "he's sure to be with us before you reach one hundred." We would start, each number intoned teasingly so as to tempt my father to turn up. It seemed to us, as children, that we could verifiably influence the duration of our wait: before my sisters and I got to one hundred, usually towards the higher nineties, my father, commuting back from work, would emerge from the train station.

Once, in life, my father failed to come back,
Delaying with demurrage in death.
Homing, had we counted hundreds more,
As inveiglers of schedulers, of rail track
And of fate, and appealed under breath
In thousands, then, to a causal law,
We could not have delivered him to emerge.
He left work when it was dark, timely
For his tube, were he only to carve
A thoroughfare over the verge – small verge,
Might as well have been a steppe, that he
Expected would trim or even halve
His journey, but he strode into a crossbar,
Horizontal, hidden and head high,
Which split his spectacles at the ridge.
While he journeyed across that verge, veering far
As the hospital, for stitches, I
Was counting fruitlessly to abridge
His journey home.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The rota, which required junior library personnel
To alternate duties, assigned me to that dreary stairwell
Once a month; and there I would sit, arschhungrig, barring the way,
While going through readers' handbags on the green leather inlay
Of my desk, looking, supposedly, for a countdown timer
And wires, before gazing at the rear of each female climber
Of those stone steps. For one morning of one day, one week in four,
I would sit alone in the stairwell below the corridor
That led to the Reading Room; from below saw contours imply
How soft is the flesh beneath the eaves, the soffit of a thigh.