Anyone here had a go at themselves
for a laugh? Anyone opened their wrists
with a blade in the bath? Those in the dark
at the back, listen hard. Those at the front
I am very bothered when I think
of the bad things I have done in my life.
Not least that time in the chemistry lab
when I held a pair of scissors by the blades
Five pounds fifty in change, exactly,
a library card on its date of expiry.
A postcard stamped,
And if it snowed and snow covered the drive
he took a spade and tossed it to one side.
And always tucked his daughter up at night
And slippered her the one time that she lied.
I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair
of busted Levi's and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.
We hunted, swept the planet pole to pole
to capture a glimpse of that rare species.
Through a thermal lens we spotted a shoal,
Here on the Hard, you're welcome to pull up and stay;
there's a flat fee of a quid for parking all day.
And wandering over the dunes, who wouldn't die
Just how it came to rest where it rested,
miles out, miles from the last farmhouse even,
was a fair question. Dropped by hurricane
or aeroplane perhaps for some reason,
I was pegging out your lime-green dress;
you were hoping the last of the sun
might sip the last few beads of drip-dry water
from its lime-green hem.
The sun comes like a head
through last night's turtleneck.
A pigeon in the yard turns tail
and offers me a card. Any card.