By | 1 May 2017

The radio, for the serial, ’s propped
against a turnip to maximise reception
It’s a kind of stereo for the neighbour

My very head’s a paddock he says
checking a hedge for catching pricks
He’s been crutching poems since six

Let’s see what the surface’s doing, its
job’s to hide the depths. Turn to me
reflected image: you are nobler

than a pineapple. This fence is the fence
from my dream, the one I wrote the Queen
I sometimes see her reply winging

over the cliffs so dolce, as they say
He makes shade as the hay dies in Jersey
jaws, as trinkets spill off ferries

scoffs red cherries. If his name was Raymond
he’d be a diamond, cutting up rugs
like ice. Lyrebirds flayed his shower

curtain, now he’s condemned to do
the same. He takes his kids to boxing
school so they’ll protect their lunches

from thieving roos. A tulip’s worth
its weight in Chinese takeaway he jokes
His bread is heavy. I’m not gay

like Tennyson he says in town
Pass the gravy. WW-
I didn’t weigh down my

lip. Skip sympathy, with its rotten bags
of laundry and defunct toasters. He waves
the flag but wants to secede, to be

a king of cane, to ride into glory
on a black swan with slippers of cygnet
down. Ugh! See him on his

ride-on mower having
a heart attack. No, he’s just grabbing
his hat, which has flown like a bat into

the cucumber patch. Felt is a kind
of feeling. So is a hearty greeting
or memory of shaking a black man’s

hand while flying a kite. He’d
never felt so white as when
he saw the clouds go over, spelling

his name, forming his face, raining
on his drought-stricken self-parade
He had an orangeade spider

later to celebrate. He went off
the juice when he turned forty-two
I want to survive my second marriage

he claimed. In order to write the novel
he explained to his mates. They were great
not like some. He always knew what they

were on about, even when
they were sketchy. The judge not
excluded. He finds a painted

egg in his dressing gown pocket
Must be Easter. Happy chocolate
he says to his indifferent ex-wife

when she rings about the shares
portfolio. Get ex-
husband sectioned she scrawls, along

with a camel and an upside-down
umbrella on the pad. Get
well’s all she says. She has a rabbit’s

foot in a drawer somewhere. She walks
to yoga but accepts lifts home
from instructors. She pulls out weeds

in the late afternoon singing Barbra
Streisand to the wrong tune for the hell
of it. I want to dance with some-

body she tells the dog in a ro-
bot voice. She has a shed
of her own and a secondhand Rolls

Royce. She stares at goat videos
like she’s the wicked queen of Disney’s
Snow White. This is what

being out of love’s like. She writes
a sarcastic review of a rest-
aurant and a movie. The reviews are

the same with a verb or two changed
Let nouns be metaphors
she concludes. She takes off her shoes

Let shoes be the blockers of the honey
of life. She squeezes them like
daffodils for their wisdom or wine

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