John Denny


The Penalties


A beautiful loss
is still a loss,
a beautiful mistake
is still beautiful.

It is the rules of the room
that still define you,
it is the things that we do on our own
that betray you.

From the council estate
to the London art squats
that fill in the textual background ~
feeling numerous
writing can be poisonous verse
almost plural
at your funeral.

Your disparate profile networked in the window
like a ghost or a girlfriend,
marrying my widow
you looked stunning ~ to die for
to the end.

All that has been achieved
with your devotion
to your art
when I was your 9th symphony

a beautiful loss is still a loss.

A day with nothing left in your body
bar mortuary and vestigials of heart
and a heightened sense of reality ~
it’s you and I
or nothing
is possible, probable,
everything in this moment
portent, can be lost.

The doctor said,
‘you had better take better care of your self’.

Your dark suitors in their gowns and waistcoats
gave you such a tribute I almost lied.

Pretending to know better, I for this matter
said let’s make a deal ~

I will give up the writing and the vanity
and you give up the reading and the criticism.

For heaven’ sake ~

I will be going soon to escape
via the light footprint,
the misfiring furies
in your head
the misguided voices
in our bed ~
foreign forces overhead.

This is the crisis ~
as we approach the middle eight,
all that remains is for us
to decide
the order of death.

After you,

a terrible man
is still a man,
a terrible truth
is still terrible
because ~

a beautiful loss,
is still a loss
a beautiful mistake
is still beautiful.


(18th January 2011, from Englandcollapsed)

Submitted: Sunday, May 08, 2011
Edited: Sunday, May 08, 2011

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