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21ST-CENTURY POETRY For a Kiss by David Erdos

Avoiding crowds, exercise and supermarkets, I am close
To floating now in the spectrum between active health
And ill-health. Each day so far becomes prayer, not to a God,
Or high spirit, but to the slow reserve of the body,
Which if it were to be defined by a poem, is certainly unrhymed

And misspelt. I can hear the agoraphobia start,
Like a series of clogged wheels or vices, holding my tread
And desire to venture forth and taste air, which can no longer
Be trusted, THEY say — whoever they are who contain us —
Removing us, as they do so, from once treasured landscape

And reducing us quickly to sofas like seas, and cliff chairs —
From which we careen and topple, in time with the freedoms
Prized over decades. Those unions of abandon seem
The Science Fiction now in all this, as we peer through smeared
Glass and guard our front doors with real caution,

And the world beyond mists, masks and mirrors
With the intensity of a kiss. I want to kiss someone now,
Passionately, I admit it: for those who have someone,
Do so, and for as long as you can, free from air,
For it is in that embrace you will find sanctuary

And infection, if not from the virus,
Then from the particular disease that spreads care.

Here, then, is my gesture to you, a nation and world
Of kept kissers, as I in my mind touch past lovers,
With the pen of my tongue and lipped page,
I say to you, let mouths bind and loneliness become fashion,
Which used to change every season;

So for those out of fashion and for those bound in,
Recognise — that for the forseeable now, sun, or not,
We are within the same winter. So, let your kisses melt
And free reason. Let your kisses calm.

Charm your cage.

David Erdos is a poet, actor, director, composer, illustrator, musician and critic and lead reviewer for International Times. His most recent poetry collection The Scar on the Cloud is published by Penniless Press. 21st-century Poetry is edited by Andy Croft, email


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