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Be Not Deceived
His hands are horror films, he says the buzz of fighting
and fucking makes people feel alive, and since
you don't fight or fuck you think maybe you are not alive,
and the bent politician smiles Halloween at the barmaid,
she returns his smile, burning, wet, tequila, you slam
the glass on the bar, awkward, shaky, weird, you tell him
you are working on a story, it's about an attractive
liar who meets a vulnerable man drunk
in a club full of Sunday nightmares, the liar
takes the vulnerable man to a lonely high-rise flat
where they screw like thieves among the broken toys
and pass out holding hands, and when the liar wakes
early and tries to sneak away, he physically can't because
their hands have inexplicably fused together in the night,
and the politician grins, coughs, spits, where do you come up
with this shit, but you are tired and drunk and all you want
to know is could the politician seduce the married
barmaid, and he snorts of course I could, and you ask
what that would feel like, would it make you feel alive,
and he shrugs, so you whisper, you hiss, you ask again,
could you fuck that barmaid, and he's like hell yes,
but I want to help you, and it's raining so hard tonight
the street sounds like the obsessive compulsive scrubbing
of a million anxious hands, and every drowned man
sailing through puddles reminds you of your dad,
and every drowned woman reminds you of your mum,
and the politician changes the subject because he's excited,
he wants to know how you finish a story about a wolf
and a sheep with their hands inexplicably fused together,
he wants to know what happens at the end, and you tell him
nothing happens at the end, there are simply two men
in a sad single bed with their hands inexplicably fused together,
and then you close your eyes and wonder what your first
love is doing right now, you hope they are spending
time with someone who appreciates being alive, if they truly
are alive without the fighting and fucking, and the politician
sighs, calls a taxi, stares at the barmaid, he reads her tattoos
aloud, a list of boys names, a poem on her chest, as you knock
a prayer on the table with your thumbs, you think of times
when you didn't think so much, you tap along to the windy old
music under your torn black coat, frantically spinning
the wedding ring around your swollen finger,
clockwise then anticlockwise, until the gold is warm.
Bobby Parker was born in 1982 and lives in Kidderminster, England. Publications include the critically acclaimed experimental books Ghost Town Music and Comberton, both published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press. His poetry, artwork and photography have appeared in various magazines in print and online. He writes a poetry column for The Quietus.
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