An Unfortunate Incident
Before, he was Champagne marmalade; a yacht
named Propaganda and a promising career
in corporate hostility; in his spare time
a keen amateur dentist. After it happened
he was gravel for breakfast; a job
selling things in jars
at the farmers' market; then off
to a home for the terminally nice,
where an elderly nun
looked in on him daily
for his own safety.
My Militant Tendency
It's nineteen eighty two and I know everything.
Hippies are people who always end up asking
Charles Manson to sing them another song.
I'd rather be off putting some fascist through
a glass door arseways, but being fifteen,
have to mow the lawn first. Last year,
Liverpool meant football; now
it's the Petrograd of the British Revolution.
Instead of masturbation, I find socialism.
While others dream of businessmen bleeding
in basements; I promise to abolish double-chemistry class
the minute I become Commissar. In all of this
there is usually a leather jacket involved. I tell
cousin Walter and his lovely new wife, Elizabeth,
to put their aspirations in their underpants
and smoke them; watch
my dad's life become a play:
Sit Down In Anger.
Since the morning she told you
that when you talk
she increasingly hears no words
just loud, continuous
farting; and you took
your striped jacket, your system
of nicknames into that white
February day, with the eyes
of a politician who has no-one to tickle
his Ballinasloe Electoral Area; it's been
bread toasted on a three-bar fire,
the soup of the day
cabbage & whiskey as the insects
take over the house, and you try
to console yourself with the thought
that every time a door closes,
a cat-flap somewhere opens.
His world cracked like a brandy glass,
when she said she was leaving, had
met a man not yet beyond repair.
The universe chuckled and moved on,
not wishing to afflict the mocked. Now,
he texts her to say he thinks he left
his life's work in the back of her car; and
though the rabble-rouser she married
vanished around 1975, he's still against
poverty on Wednesdays. She replies
she should have known: inside
yesterday's perfectly sculpted revolutionary
was always today's paunchy liberal who slugs
his cabernet, and watches daytime TV
with an elderly Labrador named
Adlai Stevenson, the Fourth.