Switch For Breathing


The contents dog silence half-inclined to ask
but the inclined head half-open has a gold filling.
The entire angle in sleep holds a burning glass
sets up wrapped in newsprint to belie crippled balance.

A picture of speech in the upright locked position
replacing the mouth with a joke, with an ear, with a ringpull,
the love half of the mouth paramount as wax
ill-wept, an anathema called down on the hive.

Have nothing, have, mislay, or delete the fame of Eros
pressurised now in a can, and it slams at the dawn’s elite –
sleep-in deferred; what actually died in the sheeting
is sprouting in the language of the newly dumb:

no stable hair, an apple, and the image cut
for nothing, back in labour, for the good of liars.

First published in Quid magazine, issue one, 1999.  Also in For the Good of Liars,

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