Poem of the Week |17| Is This The Thing? (L— Poem)

Is This The Thing? (L— Poem)

Could this be the Thing, I’ve read
Of poets knowing, so well, too well
And lamenting, and indulging, with inky raw palms, behind
Chipped wood shuttered-light panels,
(Too bright to see, clearly; a blinding white) in the
Depths, of an insect sound-laden, weighted noon?

As mother and child scuff scuttle past,
Hand tugging, head bowing, hush rushing,
Come on, hurry now with tightened grip, silent, for
Fear. Contamination; of oh those groaning
Souls! Up high, in off-whitened wife-beaters, empty
Beer-brown bottles, strewn, watching discerningly their unshaven selves,
Their shapes; pacing. Sweating in recesses, between
Forced fitful sleeps, masturbating their
Pencils ejaculating names Sarah, Christina, Jeremiah Bates! across
Filthily groped notebooks; pointedly well-worn,
(As displayed on mustard lit sets, with half-carafes, outside cafés).

This Thing (so I have read) has killed a man,
Or two (or more). Propelled, into battle
In its name, on drunken eves outside of buildings; muffled
Bursts of music through open-closing ash blackened doors
With green light, filtering, onto muggy slipstreets,
Crowded, jostling, awaiting the bated –
Sifting through thrillingly misheard words;
The pierced women gone wide-eyed-red-lipped feral
On the rip-raging power of it, of this Thing, clawing at the
Hot wet sweat between up short skirts of it – confusing
It with – and those tippy-toe red hot
Tongued whispers, in blossom open ears, of the
Rewards for (in Heaven hereafter); When we get home,
Bloodied, the spoils; Oh just you wait ‘til I give to you . . .


This Thing; With a smile in its
Heart, at hope’s folly, flinging offerings with gusto
Off monumental bridges, or guiding,
Comforting hand firm on small of docile back,
Into warm bullets.

(–Has killed a woman too, a good one, I believe,
In her fertile prime! She did it though, in perverse
Hope. That female way:
A punishment, always a reaction to – see what you
Made me do? Made me give to you?
Below the water line, above
The limit. You know how it goes:
The gentler sex. So he’d live forever with the -)

But this, this here, could not be that Thing. No!
I am in no danger.
Because this is just me, here, now; see?
Not a person, made, like that. In those…

I’m talking here about poetry;
With gold and rose and delicate olive-tree scented,
With lidded eyes draped with earnest and open lips designed for –
In fact, from what I have seen, it is solely in words, in
That this, this Thing reigns supreme; and makes designs,
On hearts, and
Weaves, in wait, lurking: beast with blackened two back –

But this here, here and now, is not that,
No. Because this is just me! Here, look: This is my
In stark colour, in this,
Moment, now;
With belly bursting over jeans, and
Blood running (languidly) and
Pock-marked skin, and coffee breath and
Hair that frizzes at the ends and
Underarms that leave deoderant stains on clothes.
I am simply a creature who
Farts in bed beneath covers
And rubs cold feet in a way that is not endearing.

This is not the stuff of poetry!

And so what interest would it have, in me? With my
Long luxuriating shits before a shower, sitting
Reading Dorothy Parker, or the paper,
Biting nails; or with those unruly
Dark hairs, on the inner sides of my mottle-fleshed
Thighs; or the snot insulating the rutted pink walls
Of my nasal cavities?

Surely nothing! These, as can be seen, have no place
In poetry!

And so this simply cannot be, that dreaded Thing,
That kills and maims in thoughless frivolity,
In spite of the distinct similarities, as noted
While in the presence of –

With the eyes that- oh, and those
Fingers (all for me) and a chest that
Pulses, against my eardrum.

This fucking Thing!

No, I shall buy cream, and
Smear myself, systematically, all over.
I will put it all down, to some
Vitamin or mineral deficiency, which
Should prove far more curable, and less
Dangerous, a diagnosis. I shall drink
More juice! I shall purchase rattling supplements
From a woman in an indistinctly coloured
Headscarf, who smiles habitually and smells
Of long-cherished trips to India or Nepal.
Or perhaps it is an
Allergic reaction, to that skin, Christ, outside of
Which I have grown to –

Otherwise, frankly,
I am in big trouble (according
To those gone before, who were kind enough
To leave breadcrumbled words of warning
Along these murky light-lurking streets
– you’re fucked! Turn
Back! One
In three marriages –
Who were we to think we
Could be –).

But I am no dreamt thing, (trust me!) and so ought
To be safe, here, in my unrecorded present, with
A woman eating a croissant beside
Me with crumbs flaking, and
My itches, and belches, and
General discomforts:

Thank Christ, for me, that
I am not the stuff of poetry!