if I waste your night
know it’s nothing to the times you’ve wasted mine
when I have torn up pages and crossed out all the lines
and bitten my nails
and starved like a stylite.
when I ignore them,
know it’s nothing next to disappointment’s grin
when my words dissolve
like moths in a glass of London gin
and god, next to the boredom
when I see your golden geese
stuffed to death for paté
redoubling like yeast
your disappointment is nothing.
if you’re not used to this
kind of treatment, you have been pampered
by the sort of mild thank you that you’d get
if you watched me take a microphone, applauded at my set
(and heard me do some masterpiece you’d instantly forget)
and said a few kind words;
this feeling is new –
you’ll get used to it before I will.
If you want something you identify with,
to remind you of homes
you have lost in dunes and jukeboxes
write your own fucking poems.
these are love poems
if you find this too embarrassing or don’t credit what I say,
this is true love; you think this happens every day?
if you’re cringing at the reference, my rhymes trite and archaic;
when the serpent of your intellect, whose venom is prosaic
turns out to be a flatworm or a common water snake
please try to look embarrassed, though your blushes may be fake.
I want these to be new
to cut the storm with green swords
and serve it up to you
on lazy susan’s bones and a bed of silver words
to package forms in vine leaves
to form a chrysallis
to wrap my skin-clad limbs around
a feeling red as this
and sore and sweat and smarting,
startling, sweet and sure
I have never felt so loved,
so safe and so secure
I have never felt so loved before –
so I want these to be new.
I owe you nothing
nothing for the rakenails of your crones
but if you persevere and you trial my tender tones
I’ll smile as you try to match my maggots to your bones.
Robert de Born is a poet and player of stringed things who lives in Sheffield with his wife, a fluffy Christmas tree destroyer, and some trolls. He has performed at festivals such as the Newfound Festival and Colourscape at the Rotherham Show; his work can be found online and in print.
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