Being Eighteen

Being eighteen in 1982
was easier than in 2018 –
we had less stuff to plug in –
sniping critics were blocked
by the turn of a front door key
and loud parents muted by
the stereo being set to ten

Our whole past was aligned
spine out – but not in public –
on the overhead shelves –
bound in worn LP sleeves
to which we returned on those
solemn dead-end Sundays –
before it was switched on

Old Devices

We’d race to get the telephone –
stating our number as rote taught –
our mother in her poshest voice
but rough for sister talk

Relative news transmissions –
but not intended to be heard –
I knew nothing of kindred facts
’til I stole truth from her words

We were ignorant between acts –
maybe flattening an irksome book –
we’d stare through the yellowed nets
whilst half-tuned to loosened talk

We tugged at the reluctant drawers
where our history was lost and found –
there tucked between old table mats –
sepia smiles were loosely bound

News bulletins marked the hours
or were shoved through the letterbox –
that narrow window on the world –
ink fears of the Eastern bloc

Ignorance was a short-lived bliss
in those disconnected times –
no algorithms on our wrists
to redress the truths and lies

St. Catherine’s Sniff

I do not need to
Travel to California
To be struck by the low reek
From skunks,

Those striped creatures
Condemned by Jesuits as:
‘Not worthy to be the dogs of Pluto.’*

Here that crepuscular
Scavenger of the dusk
Lifts its too-proud tail
To squeeze

A malodorous attack
Upon us both:
‘The sin smelled by Saint Catherine
Must have had the same vile odor’**.

‘Hold your nose,’
I suggest to my wife,
But the foulness
Is already there,
Inside.


* **Thwaites, Reuben Gold, ed. (1633–1634). The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents. Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France 1610—1791. VI. Quebec.

I V*w*l Fr** T* My C**ntry

*ngl*nd, *ngl*nd,
y** *gn*r*nt f*cks,
r*g*rg*t*t* ‘Th* M**l’,
th*r* y**r tr*th *s pl*ck*d:

‘H*m*s for Wh*t* Br*ts’,
                                 ‘F*ck the d*rk-sk*nn*d’,
‘*f th*y *r* M*sl*m,
                                 d*n’t l*t ‘*m *n’.

*fr**d *f th* w*rld,
th*s* n*me-c*ll*ng r*nts,
k**p th*s, ‘y**r’ *ngl*nd,
‘c*s *t’s * pl*c* *f f*ck*d c*nts.


 

Happy Families

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” — From Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut

Published on Facebook,
a happy deal of cards,
a knave-free life,
for his re-fixed wife,

whilst we looking ‘Likers’
know the truth –
no honest comments,
because that’d be rude:

We transmit our pleasure,
but rarely the pain,
eighteen-rated marriages
are never Facebook-explained.