Monday, 28 July 2014


OK, let me explain.  This is a poem that refuses to lay down and die.  It won't resolve itself - it's been in my 'to redraft' pile for about eight years now.  About four years ago I made the mistake of thinking that it was resolved and got a version of it published in "The Delinquent" magazine, but despite their seal of approval I still wasn't convinced.  So I reworked it again.  And again.  And again.

The version you can see below is the latest version, and whilst I feel that my mind is far too weary of the whole idea to really do anything better with it now, there's no guarantee that I won't come back to this again at some point in the not-too-distant future.  In the meantime, this is probably as good as it gets.

Those colourful talking birds,
they come to you in the middle of the
night, fly through the open
sash window like mis-fired
darts from the street corner pub,
scuffle and scrape beaks and
claws across skirting boards like
finger bones on wood.

They murmur their
demands in voices like a
choir of schoolgirls
humming the national anthem
slowly, out of tune
with each other, plead with
trembling beaks like
tweezers delicately gripping at
the splinter of a truth.

They bother like all beasts
bother, climb to kick at the
ghosted screenburn of
bad old ideas, tug the
sheets in the compass
direction of your last lover,
morbidly mutter the
name your parents would
have called you had you
been deemed worthy of it.

They stole your instinct
at birth, and are now
acting on it, indefinitely,
reaching for a conclusion
you have been denied.

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