Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tom Kelly


Kiss

Tonight I kissed my dead father
in my sleep;
he was a reclining Christ,
eyes closed,
skin young, pewter-like.

Tonight I kissed my dead father
in my sleep,
he had turned to stone,
flying above the flat roofs of Luke’s Lane Estate,
long-gone Monkton Coke Works,
headed for immortality
somewhere near the Elmfield Club.

Tonight I kissed my dead father
in my sleep;
silent as the stone he had become,
needing a shave and
adhesive for his false teeth.

Tonight I kissed my dead father
in my sleep;
I tried not to remember but he followed me
pointing his bony finger;
I threw back the duvet,
remembered the kiss
I had never given him in life.


"Doing The Tennessee Wigwalk…"

Grandmother had crushed ankles,
empty wooden bowls,
walked with a "wiggle and a waddle".

Grandfather hit her with a stick,
caused the damage.

Women had a place,
had to be quick
not to walk
with a "wiggle and a waddle,"
thirty years later.


Dad and Frank O’Hara

In the loo with dad
at the trough, music being piped and
him dead embarrassed in this nearly posh bar.

I said nothing to anyone
-except to you, Frank O’Hara.
I’d just read your poems
your uncollected:
saw you in NYC,
dad joined us.
Next thing
dad and me are drying our hands in unison,
drier masks our one-sided conversation,
something you would approve of,
not that I’m seeking approval
just telling you dad and Frank
are with me
as water flushes away and music
pipes on.


Chekhov’s Grandfather

Dad never bought his freedom
he was a serf:
labouring jobs, bottom of the pile,
low self-esteem c.v.

Always in the 1930’s,
like Anton he had a hacking cough.

"Chekhov’s grandfather was a serf…

"You walk away
to the club,
didn’t know him,
never drank together
your back says.


"The Excellent Will Be Permanent"
(Aristotle)

My hand’s in fire.
I’m cut, aching, teeth clamped.

Headache’s fixed,
flagged across my skull.

Clich├ęs inhabit me,
"it takes time".

You will be remembered,
recalled.

Loss batters me.

My mouth is filled with acid.

-all poems from next collection entitled Love-Lines

No comments: