Thursday, May 12, 2016

Neil Fulwood- Three Poems

The singer has the grin
of a man who never learns,
his stoved-in face a commentary

on family ties,
rivalries and how things work
in the bayou; the singer has a stogie

filed behind his ear
that could have been rolled
at any point in the last four decades;

the singer's wearing
what he's standing up in, what
he had the right change for in the laundrette;

the singer has a PhD
in bad chat-up lines, an MSc
in finishing the debate in the parking lot.

The percussionist
has three kids in a good school,
makes the payments on a pick-up truck

and you know what part
of his anatomy you can attend to
and where you can shove all those old jokes

about drummers.
The fiddler is playing fit
to beat the devil, to whup him, to send

the motherfucker
back to hell. The fiddler
has an honest-to-God college degree

in economics
and parents who envisaged
a slightly cleaner version of the guy

in the movie
about Wall Street.
The guitarist has a telephone directory

full of exes,
an agreement with a loan shark
and scars in places it'd be impolite to ask about.

The guitarist
has beaten the rest of them
at pool and two of them in a fight. The guitarist

has wrecked the van
and punched out concert promoters.
His mug shot is cover art in waiting, if they ever

cut a record.

Spontaneous Expansion
Go on, then – mouth off to the office,
your family and the whole of social media:
outline your rigidly disciplined diet regime,
delineate what you can and can’t consume.
Talk us through it with the hubris
of a Bond villain all but unrolling the plans
to the underground base and jabbing
a finger at where the armoury and escape pod
are conveniently located. Savour the detail.
Mention the celebrity endorsement. Point out
the finer points of the points system.
So what? You’re half a taco the right side
of your ideal weight. You lucky sod.
Spare a thought for those of us who only need
to look at a cheese sandwich the wrong way
or hear the jingle of a fast-food ad
or fancy a pint – just fancy the fucking thing,
not even balance a palm on the brass rail
of the bar and catch the barmaid’s eye –
who only need to answer the siren song
of the vending machine to fall victim
to calories and their spontaneous expansion.

The Park
Six months of Sundays expended here
training for the half marathon. The long
gradient from the lake, past the stables
to the mansion house on its sneering height –
a lung-searing stretch you nicknamed
the Reaper (as in don’t fear the ~).
The downhill slope where the deer
lifted their heads, antlers like aerials
tuned in to the unmissable sitcom
of the middle-aged male in form-fitting
and unforgiving running gear, face
like a mortified tomato. Their mirth –
the silent mirth of the deer. Today
they’re being Snapchatted by students,
Facebooked by tourists; they’ve
just checked in on innumerable newsfeeds.
They wouldn’t recognise you.
Jeans and tee-shirt, aviator shades –
you’re relaxed; you’ve put on weight.

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