Years ago when John Forbes praised
my later work, he said my Problem
of Evil was influenced by Tranter’s
Red Movie, and being younger and furiouser,
I rang Forbes and explained P. of E.
I wish I had been painted by Millais. Maybe not as Ophelia in a tepid bath.
Perhaps as Lady Macbeth. Or Titania. Or Portia. Not Brutus’s Portia. Portia from
The Merchant of Venice. I used to make you sit on a little wooden stool and pretend
you were painting me. Stroke after stroke rasping against the canvas. I would
B, brave brown, C, icicle
pendant, D, dun though pale,
F for faint mauve, fish and bicycle,
G, gothic paint in a green pail
Twelve noon Monday, 38 degrees and rising.
The phone’s rung twice
and someone else has fallen off
the twig while military files of micro-
Emboldened by sharing, briefly, the same
publisher as Frieda Hughes, I looked up
an article on her latest collection, found
a photo of her living room, which seemed
Camperdown’s for dogs,
Friday evening in the park off Church Street
a barefoot man
carries a plank:
If I were well again, I’d walk for miles,
My name a synonym for tirelessness.
On Friday nights I’d go out on the tiles: ... (read more)
A flash like silver cufflinks
ribbons off into river grass:
a fluid lick of nickel,
the sidle and slather of eel.
The house is up for tender and will be sold.
Houses always sell – in the end. Even if it is
for the land. Smoking out or treading down
the haunts takes three days, or even longer.