A Single Skuller
The Final Whistle
My Dominant Characteristic
Life as a Serious Person
The Little Talker
THE FINAL WHISTLE
On Being Boiled in Oil
If I came to be suddenly plunged into boiling oil
I think my adaptive powers would be challenged beyond bearing.
Yet I’d make a good soup for an undiscriminating monster.
This would be no consolation beyond the happy thought
that my life and death were not ultimately in vain.
The beige feral is cute,
being careful not to shoot
his evil eye on potential
doters. So he eats well.
And in the night of cats
he can muster master
strategies in splats
with rival right bastard
toms who tum the pussies,
the phalanx of sissies.
‘I think the world of you.’
‘That’s not saying much,
knowing what you think of the world.’
‘Yes, that’s what I meant.’
The Raising of Diego
The hand of God has been withdrawn.
Maradona has marred his don.
Still his sacred legs stagger on,
though hamstrung by loss of form,
at the edge of the box. He’s not
going to turn and hit the net.
A penalty is his best bet.
Or an own goal. It’s him that’s shot.
But as the final whistle blows
for full time, the fat man steps back
to score a goal, the last attack
in the game, and the crowd rose
to their feet. El Diego lives.
And it was done without a throw.
Only a miracle (I know)
explains how he regained his gift.
While the Ref’s devil advocate
in Rome reviews action replays,
I’m already sure, heaven be praised,
it was Pantini, Diego’s mate.
When Marco was martyred, the sole
big name at his disparition
was El. So justice has been done.
The saint of cycling made him whole.
Honesty in Private Life
As long as you don’t tell the people the truth
in the eyes of the world you’re beyond rebuke.
A lie to save your face is a sensible ruse.
They would do exactly the same in your shoes.
The Last Word
For the Unnamable (deceased 19 January 2007)
When it came to the last roll call
for the old cake of the Creole,
no one knew that he had a name.
We had learned to cherish his innane
smile, that so cheerfully evinced
understanding. Of that we’re convinced.
And the uncertainty of his teeth.
They wobbled around, cheek to cheek.
Was he a drinker? Yes, of air
certainly. He sat on a chair
in the garden suffocating
with laughter, which didn’t have a ring.
He widened his bouche beé to release
a last breath, one that wouldn’t cease
till respiratory violence
broke wind, and his vow of silence.
But nobody quite caught the drift.
And so he died just as he lived.