Poetry

April 4, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

By

John Thieme

 

 

Pragmatist

 

 

Lately, in that suspended hour,

Before I lose myself in the night,

I dream the world as a dog,

Sniffing where others have been,

Yesterday, last week, a month ago.

 

Exploring the stinks of yesteryear,

I check grass, stones and gateposts.

Eliminating the unnecessary,

I pick my way through unrecycled crumbs.

I am no ecologist,

But I clean up as I go.

 

Scouring cemeteries, I detect bones

Beneath the urine on the gravestones.

Scavenging amid these granite tributes,

I, too, mark territory.

 

Man’s best friend, I love women too.

Gazing up with hazel, adoring eyes,

I train humans to feed me.

I am the perfect family member.

I make friends with their friends,

I growl discreetly at their enemies.

 

I swim easily, amphibiously,

Disdainful of landlocked cats.

Back on the riverside, I shake myself dry,

And doze with one eye open, one ear cocked.

I snooze at will, but never catnap.

I look to the stars, but I follow my nose.

 

Outside my dog dream, I am a confirmed doubter,

But in that suspended hour all uncertainty disappears.

I focus on the smells in hand,

I sniff, therefore I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Et in Arcadia …

 

 

These are no ordinary vampires.

They’ve lost their way in daytime television,

anaemic mazes where the new shows seem repeats.

They come together late at night,

to say another lingering last goodbye

in this round room with jaded wooden panels

and worn-out folding metal chairs,

stacked close against its concave walls.

She strokes his cheek in fond, enfeebled hurt,

a gesture she may never make again.

He licks her neck, too weary now to bite.

Blood-red has turned to monochrome.

They’ve known each other far too long.

 

There’s just one hope their vigour may return

through spectral reruns of the broadcasts of their days,

in which the outcomes change: the gameshows end in killings;

the talkshow hosts fall silent; the antiques are all fake;

and liberation comes when knowing city couples

in search of homes with walled, protected gardens,

Horatian farms, Arcadian retreats,

are misdirected into Transylvanian hills.

They chuckle as they contemplate the prospect.

youth beckons with a crooked little finger;

anticipation quivers on their lips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Thieme

John Thieme’s creative writing (fiction and poetry) has been published in the UK, India, Italy, Argentina, the Netherlands and the USA. He has recently completed a novel, provisionally entitled Cabinets of Curiosities. Mainly set in Lincolnshire, UK, where he lives, it is currently seeking a publisher. He is a widely published academic, who has held Chairs at the University of Hull and London South Bank University. He has also taught at the Universities of Guyana, Turin and, most recently, East Anglia, where he is now a Senior Fellow. His most recent book Postcolonial Geographies: Out of Place is due for publication by Palgrave Macmillan in May 2016.

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