You Feel Like an Idiot When You Dance at Parties?
Something inside me doesn't want to
go outside, I stare out of windows
considering the cold light. Best to stay
indoors with my unease, even though I'm
sick of sniffing my own socks and bored
of pulling faces in the mirror - my teeth
are happy in here, the fine hairs on my belly
are happy, my balls are happy, my wife
makes the best Bolognese and she flashes
her breasts at me when I'm writing poems.
In the morning we can hear our neighbours
going to work or walking to the shop for beer,
newspapers and scratch cards, their names
are a mystery to me, the tall bald one with
big wet lips thinks we are friends; I feel
guilty chatting to him in the hallway
when really I wish he would just disappear.
It's cold in here but we have the option to flick
the heating on - we contemplate this power
as our feet thaw under two thick blankets.
Tomorrow we'll go to my parents' house
and look at photographs on the wall, I don't
like myself very much. After chicken,
vegetables and belches I might ask my dad
about his life, maybe sit on a broken chair in
the garden and keep my sadness away by teasing
the angry dog next door and squeezing
a shiny penny into the palm of my left hand.
Pale beach crisp-cold
hangover muzzy in the wind
finding a washed-up dogfish
eyes calm mouth smiling
a friend for my voice, I told him
my secrets and when
the breakfast plate sun
came up in his left eye I thought
about writing my name in the sand
for the birds and planes to ignore
and walking along the coast
forever with my new friend
feet slapping the wet sand
bouncing away like the last star.
Pretending to be invisible, I picked up
ashtrays and cups in slow motion to
frighten her mother - she gasped,
'This flat is too cold for me!' and as
her mother got up to leave I grabbed
her shoes, holding them just out of reach;
every time she tried to snatch them
was a minor victory. She looked at
my fiancˇe for justification; then my girl
looked at me, or the space where her
boyfriend should be smirking. Furious!
The vicar came round to talk about
the wedding. I ruffled his hair, twisted
his nipples and filled the room with phantom
laughter. Happy as a ghost I opened his bag,
found a soggy sandwich and slapped
his cheek with a piece of salami.
'Are you sure?' He asked. She took a deep
breath and nodded. He sighed.
The game went on until she couldn't stand it
any longer, 'I can see you! We can all see you!
Does this mean you don't love me?! Is this
your way of trying to get out of the wedding?'
So, with a click of my fingers I became visible.
We talked about mothers and vicars. We talked
about what's acceptable. Everything is O.K. now.
And she has given me one week to replace
the smoothie maker and kettle I used
to make my time machine.
They Have Tablets For This?
My doctor's buzzer is a weird
familiar kind of horror music.
A doorbell gone mad.
Engaged. Next Patient... Bzzzz!
The waiting room is square
with chairs against every wall.
Patients staring at each other
guessing. Looking for clues.
I watch a fly on the shoe of a man
in a wheelchair, it zips from his left shoe
to his right shoe and then it travels
the length of the rusted foot rest.
His shoes are brown. They look sad.
The man in the wheelchair is wearing
a faded beige suit. The fly crawls up his left
leg, rests on his pointed knee. My heart
hurts, whomping and warbling in my chest.
My wife picks up a magazine. Across the room
a young mother yawns through the fear.
Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life
Behind your smile there's
the kind of broken furniture
you don't want strangers to fix.
People want your secrets
to trade for more secrets until
the soul is a broken satellite dish.
Pretend your lips
have been glued shut
by a woman with red hair.
Keep the mischievous
flames of their tongues from
peeking into your petrol tank.
Communicate via nods and grunts.
If truth shines out your eyes
wear dark sunglasses.
Cut out your mouth and throw
it off a bridge because it hates you,
it wants to pull you inside out.
When people ask your name
look away, shrug; consider it for
a moment - hold
© Bobby Parker 2010