Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Giles Goodland, "The Poet"

Giles Goodland

The Poet

The poet comes home
and his three-year-old son runs at him
with a monster-mask of his own construction.

The poet considers whether he should
congratulate his child or run like hell.

The poet walks into the kitchen
to witness his daughter fall from the high-chair
onto the wooden floor
and for the next hour there is no conversation.

The poet realises his mistake,
makes an excuse and leaves.

This mask the poet purchased earlier
appeared to contain a skull:
you put it inside your head and it made you.

The poet cries out cloud, it made you cry
something on the news.

The poet’s son leaps up, he wants
to cook everything, it should be
given as many seconds as can be numbered.

The poet thinks if we were actors
we might be really bad ones, yesterday
he fluffed so many lines he felt like
a thistle pouring whiteness across his family.

Somewhere she is in a poem
rubbing her eyes. It’s hardly even morning yet.
It will be hours before she starts looking for the poet.

The poet writes a poem in which the narrator
steps out and congresses with ropes of rainwater.
He claims he made a new sun yesterday
that casts no shadow. You can
swim in it and not burn. He calls it
language, and it has never set.

The first thing the poet forgets is his skin.
Softly but continuously language is describing
to the poet why it should go on, but the more
it talks the fewer words it has left.

The poet listens to the pages emptying
and is followed by a verb of motion.
His cat has been missing for several decades now.

The road he did not take negates the poem.
It is so bright and open,
an inviting street-lit yellow cupped forever
in the palm of his mind.

The poet laughs and cuddles in his sleep
a razor blade and a tin of flowers.

Giles Goodland’s last book was Capital (Salt, 2006). Before that was A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001). He lives in London and works as a lexicographer.

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