Russian Roulette

I’ve heard that at Oxford Auden slept with a revolver under his pillow – Elizabeth Bishop

A bolster-engineered solution works
for my now nightly supine issues –

no handgun is – yet – required –
but poets can be miserable fuckers

and that urge to fire off blank verse
in that hot scrum of an early hour

means my sleep is often disturbed
by crept thieves and angry ex-lovers

who do not want their ugly regalia
plastered across perfect bound paper –

or those others who steal my words
and pass off my breath as their own

No there is no revolver – no weapon
to set me to sleep with its close muzzle


Last Dance

You were a low-slung
holdall of hot tears
in my useless arms

like those strained bags
of fairground goldfish –
ones eventually flushed

Not my choice of dance
either – in an empty place
at this time of life –

too much to yearn
after your choosing
of others’ routines?

Another unasked
question left to quell
as my discomfort rises

Seller’s remorse kicks in
as you consider my
boxed up possessions?

Do not answer me
and score higher points
of pity from our audience

Let me leave untouched
without your wept stains
on my dropped shoulders

as salted marks of high rank –
which you had removed
in a previous court-martial


Super Veterans

This lake’s shore is disturbed by cutters
and mowers at two-stroke Sunday work
of keeping back too much growth –

still their gig crew rolls through turns
of hard rudder and clean recoveries –
breaking out a wake and six puddles

Four – together – power – six – power through
cries their cox above Canadian chatter
from a disinterest of drifting geese

I wear a bench well – even at this age –
my practice of securing such comfort
in open spaces is my latest fascination –

along with finding a place to live
and other such micro matters in life
which pale under this sky – seated lakeside