(poem ending with a line by Adrienne Rich)
This cocktail stick is a functioning spear,
ideal for the floorspace afforded us, here by the pier.
Ditto that toothpick. Ditto my career:
tapered to a point that blunts on a mere
patty of piggy, or that tooth at my ear
where said piggy gets stuck. Compare the dear
little catalogue of failings to the scale of the near-
unscalable heights of their warehouse! I fear
this story is not for us. I’m afraid we repeatedly veer
from the plot line into a creek of craft beer,
a box set and a mid-range bourbon bringing up the rear.
Hell is other people having one hell of a year.
Heaven is a half rhyme. God is queer.
His list must not have room. Our names do not appear.
John Craxton: Portrait of Sonia (1948-57)
I understand. A decade blown
to bursting, its glut and its rubberneck gored.
Spinning, from the string of the body’s balloon,
between twigs, a skewed grid.
Don’t talk. This isn’t a poem. Pull on
not forelock but base coat, and wade
out through the pool scummed with pollen.
Be unfallen. Spider, spider, turning white.
Weeds mock a plot arc, a bended knee.
Heartily sorry for having offended thee,
they, as you through your film of noir, see
that there’s mostly too much other to
make forsaking it fair. Rarely, too,
sufficient always to save the face just so.