Friday 23 September 2011

The Sacred Cud

Some day you’ll see me
Desk-bound.

How clever I’ll seem:
Scratching, writing, sucking on the lower lip
Of freshly-awakened mind;
Biting down on the slimy grip,
Of a sentence, less than kind.

How serious I’ll look:
Chewing the sacred cud of commas best erased,
Interviewing semicolons worthy of national debate,
An accident of apostrophes and puns that must be praised,
An anecdote of little faith, a punch line far too late.

How tired I will be:
You’ll see the sweat trickling down my chin
Sweat dotting the lines of this mess I am in
Confused by words I cannot say,
Words I must write anyway:

Cinnamon, synonym, minimum, tragedy, prodigy, itinerary, abominable, ineligible!

But I am strong.
I will not be consoled by a man
Who thinks Toni Morrison
Is a man.

At night, lying next to the exhausted book,
I’m open-mouth-asleep, imitating the dead
You’re pretending to watch Nigella cook
Her Crispy Cakes are messing with your head.

The ceiling fan mutters a curse through the pages
Ruffling the feathers of writhing adages,
Not wanting to intrude, you’ll look away for ages
Then lose the resolve that man carefully cages.

Ignoring your battling guilty denial
You’ll “happen to see” my literary trial
The shocking residue of all that lip-biting,
All the ruckus over dyslexic infighting.

Today I have written a magical thing
To put your conscience forever to shame:
Seven hundred and forty nine times I’ve scrawled, the nuances of
Your name.

Satis House

Every time you step over the thin line
and commit an accidental endearment,
I hand you a balancing beam
of carefully chosen plays on words:
comic plays
tragic plays.
You bite your tongue, and
fling the expletive of a pat on my back.

Every time my mouth is on the verge
of crossing that same line
of friendship into something new,
you say something old,
something trite,
something about a former lover,
something that just won't do.
I swallow my words, and
ignore my gag reflex.

No one will chastise us
for our wimpish follies, our impish jollies.
It will be many years before we realise:
Walls in empty houses eavesdrop
only on a wary weary past.