For years now I’ve pretended to be good-looking
and let them make what they can of it, me as
photos of me, skipping through colour supplements
this week, next week, scrupulous as to where and
when I unfold and, often as not, making my entrance
on the arm of a detractor. I gather captions to me,
theirs among many. Between the lies, read
how they seek me out like an ill-chosen beloved.
Let them keep me on shelves, on floors, in narrowing
passageways where rooms once were. I will nest
and yellow with them and when at last they crawl
into that no-space where the ribs cannot open or shut
and the poor heart stops, let it be me that’s found
there, thousands deep and not yellow but golden.
He was a regular. Every time
he’d pick up his manners
where he left them, and a smile
that allows, yes, rules were broken,
half withheld. He’d make a pound
each from he knew who.
It’s not instantaneous, passing away.
You’re eased off the streets
drunk on anything you can get,
into a no-man’s-land of kindliness
with half a mind you’d think
to turn you back, but no, it’s heaven
for you, the bastards all in white.
Your mother’s there. You ask
her as you did strangers on earth
why if she loved you she gave you birth.
Light strips the trees
and ghosts the windows
till they pass
through one another freely
and the square rooms
frame and reframe themselves
for whoever there is.
“I am here,” says Light.
“I have stepped into your shoes
for the sake of the more suggestible
caller. Dust motes and I
obscure for them your prolonged absence.
They do not overhear
my remarks and if they did,
no matter. They would smile
and enquire to whom I am speaking.”
For the night window to slant
above my bed.
For my dimensions to be what they are
with the cleanliness of a fossil
in rock, that is distinct
but is nevertheless and also rock.
For a foothold in air, the far
side of the glass, to admire how I lie.