Sunninghill

I wanted to write a deep poem, soaked
in fragrance and forgotten thoughts. I wanted
to dive down and speak of the blue electric
heart of the thing looking out,
but that’s not what it was like it all.

It was dull and white and far too clean
with that lingering smell of formaldehyde
and staved off death in favour of suffering,
as you lay there, your eyes searching
for those other worlds distractedly while I read
from a favourite and utterly inappropriate book
which spoke of carburetors and clitorises
and the rectal temperature of hummingbirds
in a small attempt to weave a different story.

And all that it really achieved was that the man
lying next to you and picking up stompies
thought you were some kind of fundamentalist
Christian (my attempts to mumble
over the finer aspects of female physiology
having been somewhat successful)
because this weirdo had rocked up and read to you,
and who does that these days, and his voice
sounded far too sincere to be reading anything but
the most deep and meaningful prophecies
of our many-storied people.

This caused you no end of mirth and,
while we waited for a doctor that never came
and I grew more impatient (to the point that
I couldn’t even focus on the raunchy cowgirls
and their revolution) you reminded me
of the silent middle and something
we had discovered about time there,
all the while still smiling about the old man’s
misidentification, because (let’s be honest)
who but a monk or a madman would bring
Tom Robbins to the blind, only to be shown again
that it is always those with sight
who take longest to see.

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