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Monday, November 03, 2008

Walk On

Are you a dustbin? It appears so, as the following is a dead poem, which I am hereby dumping on you. Its vintage can be guessed at from its featuring this man in a red shirt, recent shock! horror! rumours of his possible return notwithstanding. A match report for the game in question can be found here.

{Premable ends}

‘Walk on, sir?’ ‘Walk on.’
We are the Kop End Stand
of reception desk camaraderie,
she and I. I walk on
alone from the choking diesel
transport pens, their huge
gross cattle nose to rump,
rattling their chains, past the stairwell’s
You Are Here and shadow
a cleaner through the ferry’s
intestinal tract to my oubliette,
its tucked-away, ironing board bunk,
a smoker’s cough haunting
the pasteboard divide, and my unwashed
face spotlit over the brutalist sink.

But you are not here, and wherever
I am you are not. The barmaid
slips the beer pump out of dry dock,
the counter awash in frothy slops.
Yes plenty more at home like her,
she pacifies my van driver friend,
back where she comes from,
Manila or Monkstown. Someone
has to do all the shitty jobs!

Out at sea prime Japanese-
reject BNFL
cesium-137 closes on Sellafield,
throbbing in time to the Brave
Merchant’s grampus rumble
(clearing the buoys and
leaving its TV signal and Liverpool-
Bolton highlights behind);
throbs, checking its pulse against
the .01 of a second’s
small change refunded
that same afternoon from
the world hundred metres record.
Through the static: And Heskey must score…

How many electron heartbeats
divided us on the Irish Sea,
sunbursting into extinction,
that Saturday night of hulking containers
under the water line,
their secretive cargo, of surly
drivers and last-minute goals,
how many beats of my mobile’s pulse
in search of a signal, leaving me
silently boxed-in, counting the hours?
More than enough, as I reckoned
again my tally of half-lives
jettisoned one by one
in the ferry’s sightless wake,
my something to declare, the one thing
bumped from me the next morning
by the prow door: Isotope,
my irreducible isotope,
who will whip our overheated
sub-particles up to a storm
for miles round the sealed chamber
that, month after month, you have kept warm.

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