Emily Lipp has found a poet
dead & nude in the woods

his pale skin gleams
as tall trunks cast shadows

oh how lovely she thinks
my own dead & naked poet
draped floppily across tree-roots

Emily notices how
one shadow has cut across
his loins darkening the nest
between his legs

and another shadow has lopped
off half of his pale
poet's face

o so gently
Emily Lipp lifts him
out of this place

he is as light as a word

merely as heavy
as thunder-storm air pressing
onto her shoulder as she carries
him slumped sack-like


back at Emily Lipp's little cottage
on the edge of the woods

in her damp garden on
her lush lawn as if
he's a sappling

Emily plants her poet

with a scarf
of deer-hide she straps
her poet's throat to
an oak post

and so

he stands
with his head bowed

and with his feet
just under

and now Emily Lipp lies
down close to her poet's

her pretty ear pressed to dirt
Emily Lipp is listening

to subterranean creaking
as her planted poet's toes

lengthen to blind
white roots pushing through



a poet in his bright white suit
a poet afloat on a lake

Millie Palatte throwing
her bread to the poet
for Millie likes creatures
especially tasty ones

the poet's white suit shimmers
as light reflects
from the lake's little waves

and tiny baubles of wet gleam
on the poet's breast

Millie Palette's bread-crumbs bob
on the lake's see-through shivering skin

the poet approaches
sending ripples as he moves

oh how he moves
moves so fluently
& smooth through
the wet

Millie lets out a delighted squeal

even though she knows
the fine poet
in his white bright suit belongs
to England's Queen

Millie salivates as she fingers
the air-pistol in her pocket

the girl's breadcrumbs have gone
all snavelled up with a wet clatter
and she won't throw any more

so the poet
with his long white cravat
slightly tinged with pond-bottom green

plunges his head into the lake's wet
and is suddenly oblivious

to Little Millie Palette creeping
closer to the lake's edge

her stomach rumbling
as she giggles


so a poet crept

along the wet trench
of the brook

crept from the edge
of town out
into distant woods

past the stagnant side-ponds
full of untold sorrows & condoms
through the warm grey streaks
of strange fluids seeping out

from the back of factories

a poet crept out & beyond into
a clear gleaming flow where
fronds wavered proud
as a god's words

her clothes were muddied
and soaked and felt
like another person's sheath
wrapped round her so
she undressed in the trench
and crept on naked

sleek like a fish

but still a poet felt the tug
of where she'd come from

for she'd tied
to her left big toe
a nylon line
and'd tied that
synthetic thread
to the left leg
at the foot of her bed
in her flat
on the ground-floor
of the last
tower-block left
standing on the bank
of the brook

the nylon strand gleamed
gleamed all
the varied length of the brook
from woods to town
and back again
from bed's leg to
poet's toe

in a distant woods
an exhausted poet pulled
her flesh & bone shape

up & out of the brook

and so she lay amongst

bluebells staring up
at repeating words
of sun-lit leaves being
gently read by breeze

but soon the pain
in her toe bloomed
and so she longed
for scissors or knife
or flint
and she sobbed
as her big toe throbbed
she wanted so much
to cut it off
her toe strangled by nylon
her toe as red
as the sky was blue
so red it reddened
the greenery around her
her toe glowed
like the ember toe-bone
of a dead ballerina

pirouetting through infinity

a poet's red-toe-glow now
attracted the snout
of the old orange dog fox from

the only fairytale never to be told

the fox sniffed at her red hot toe
and then yelped

as his snout was lit

flames wrapped round
the old fox's face
his eyes melted like tar
flames crept down his neck
and suddenly his whole
old fox-body was flames
he was all flames from snout to
brush he rushed

away on fire howling

the fox of flame raged
through a distant woods

the nylon line melted

and the town's lights
finally went out


and now in a town

where ivy cracks concrete
and secrets flake off walls
and people are piles

of rotting books

in a poet's empty flat
on the ground-floor
of the last tower-block
left standing there is

her desk by the window
facing the brook

and on her desk there is

what looks at first to be like
a thick wrinkled twig

but if you sniff

suddenly it's all too obvious
it's not a twig at all but

it's fox shit

TO COPE WITH A POET              

do not commit murder but
first find your poet

and kill him
or kill her

poets expire swiftly if
you take the last word
from their tongue's tip

once your poet is still & silent
then carefully gut him

or gut her

the organs of poets
can be stored in your dog or your cat

and now for the real trick of it
shrink your poet

first pull out the bones
and replace them with
splinters of teeth

then plunge your poet
fast into a bath
of hot paper pulp

poets & paper pulp
don't mix and so
a nasty reaction occurs
(it's wise to wear goggles)

watch as the boiling paper pulp
& gutted poet writhe round
in a whirlpool of tortured words

soon all the moisture will've fled as steam
and you'll see your poet's flesh
miniaturised & clinging tight
to the ivory splinters

pop two tiny rubies
in you little poet's eye-sockets
if you're rich

if not you can use
two pieces of Christmas decoration glitter
or similar

dress her in a dinky dress
or a minute sharp suit

and so to keep
your poet as keep-sake cut

out a hollow from a book

and put your poet in that hollow
as you would a gun
or a wodge of dosh

then close the book like a coffin
and slide the poet safely

onto a shelf

   Mark Goodwin 2009