Thursday, June 02, 2005

Tug of War (1996)

Your eyes fried eggs
Dripping with fat
And the bruised red plum of your head
With bulging cheeks, balloons being blown

And from your crisp bacon lips:
'You hit me, you bastard!
How could you hit a woman?'

But I would never hit you
Your eyes glazed over
With the glimmer of supermarket shelves,
The watermelon of your gut

'He started it!'
You wept carbonated tears, pointed me out
And the onlookers in their plastic wrappers
Caught sight of my guilty trousers

And you pushed me against the glass
Of the chemist which sells tampons
And condoms and babywear

So I held up my pistol-ended arms in defeat
And broke free of your insistent grip (an immense vine of sticky tape)
Then walked off, shaking my head
My pulse the flashing red man

Only when I reach the outdoors
With its evenly spaced, soothing rubbish bins
Does the red man turn green
And I realise I am walking home
To where an ashtray languishes
Waiting to be emptied

An earlier version of this poem was published in Farrago, Volume 75, Edition 5, June 5 1996.

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