Alone is his pyjamas
After the sycophants
Are all in their beds
The dictator, silent
Examines his image
Wrinkles and lines
And soft-joweled planes
Surrounded by wealth
In the marbled rooms
Of a haunted palace
He did not inherit
But strives to display
To best advantage
For diplomatic reasons
Dreaming of leaner,
Before he became
A political prisoner
Trapped and tamed
By the violent success
Of his own actions
I am right there
Surrounded by cockroaches
Squatting in the ruins,
In the fallout
Of a truly
That looked up to its
Idols, now idle.
How they glittered
In their lame, sequinned
Just me – a bunch of
And under the rubble,
Perhaps if we put our
We can try
To find words
In these fractions I seek solace
That infarction is no menace
To my own unknown condition
Though my colleague lies on trollies
As they fill her veins with serum
Hoping vasos are dilated
I’m surrounded by the vision
Such careers are overrated
In my secretary’s costume
I must take on further duties
Try to prop up one more rostrum
And ignore last rites for loot. He’s
Working from his home computer
While I ride the bus to nowhere
In the misty morning chatter
That’s conceived to make me go there
How much more am I allotted?
This existence, mere survival
Will I too go out, garotted
By a heart attack unrivalled?
As my logic fails, convince me;
I’ve decisions that are burning
Every inch would rather lynch me
Than continue painful earning.
Although I rarely explain my scribblings, as I prefer to let the reader interpret them at will, this poem, and the one that follows are written in response to a recent event. The woman with whom I share a desk at my day job suffered a heart attack this week. The events on that occasion and which have followed have caused me to question our place in the universe with perhaps more focused ferocity than usual.
This is the place we come to die
We secretaries, in our rows
Two frozen stiffs, a living lie
Few care to note, and no one knows.
While patient, we sit out our time
In managing capricious men
Whose fruitless whims, though not malign
Wear lines on brows and fray each hem.
One more may chew on dust this hour
No more to block electric space
In diary; a heart lacks power
To beat a path through empty wastes.
We are not dumb, and yet, we wait
Preparing meeting rooms, hot drinks
Awaiting proof; appreciate
A mind, unheeded, soul that shrinks
And though the autopsy infers
What killed her was nobody’s fault
That one can prove, (except for hers)
With such a sedentary vault
Of memories of closet, desk,
A filing cabinet to store
The means of murder – this slow death
Made up of tedium and chore.
Stuttering pickles, confounded by paint
While floral designs’ floating chaos smells quaint
Old ladies and bug spray, some mothballs to go
Enjoying their day at the end of the show
A nonsense of feelings, of sounds and of taste
Bemoaning new wrinkles, fine hair and all waste
They’re off to the seaside, to sit and slurp tea
Just Harriet, Ethel, Jemima and Fi
The driver had better keep eyes on the road
Or our Ethel has threatened he’ll turn to a toad
While Harriet’s brolly is pleasantly queer
The spiky end’s sharp when it swings past your ear
Jemima’s gone missing, been absent for years
They always invite her, despite tantrums, tears
For Fi still remembers the role Jemi’ played
In keeping her steady in service, a maid
Look out for each other, they’ve done all their lives
Through brothers and lovers, old husbands, new wives
The die has been cast, there’s a pin in the map
And the cats have been fed and the dog’s done his lap
Now the ladies are off for a whistlestop tour
To find dancing and drinks on a pier they adore
We’ll see them again, they have given their word
But they’ve gone in pursuit of amusements absurd
Five smooth hairs
Sit smugly on my brow
Staking their claim on my sanity
Tweezers forgotten on the carpet
The agony of plucking
Each unwelcome visitor
In the harsh grey light of dawn
Making the simplest remedy
The most painful
That one hair, evicted
Clings to my clothing like a child
Sobbing at abandonment
Unwilling and ashen
In stark contrast to my usual
And wild auburn curls
I feel my age settle like a mask
Sewn to my temples
With threads of silver
Ce qu’on aurait appellé l’atout principal
de ce pèlerinage m’est perdu.
On a laissé mon coeur se distraire pendant
assez de temps. Maintenant, il est cuit.
Et on n’a plus de voies, plus d’avenues,
plus de dépit, plus de tristesse.
On n’a plus de sentiments actuels, seule, nue.
Je devrais te quitter, aller explorer d’autres possibilités
de ce monde, dans ce monde,
puis qu’il existe de plusieurs possibilités.
Mais j’ai plus de volonté me jeter dans l’océan
Pour voir si j’ai du quoi flotter, ou si
Je me suis habillée avec aplomb en plomb.
Et les jours passent, sans que je m’en aperçoive…
La vieillesse m’atteint à l’âge d’un quart de siècle.
J’ai un regard fixé, tout droit, sans voir.
La lueur que j’avais trouvé dans vos yeux s’est éteint
Et je restes dans le noir.