Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tuesday poem #351 : Paul Perry : Night-Shift

my breath reaches his neck –

but the heart is cold
he cannot see me
though he searches 
through the streets
in the dark
in the mirrors
all the late sour hours
his custom
by the quays
by the river
over the bridge
this way and that
the metre ticking 
over like a count-down
I want to reach out
I want to say something
I want to say – 
not sorry 
sorry is such a pointless
and stupid word
it can’t carry the weight
the range of what I need
to say
to you
old man
you know how it was
and fucked
the last I know
it was a room
like any other
a score like any other
like all others
did the sun ever 
touch me
if you could see me
you would see 
through me
it was always thus
autumn in my soul
not your say
not yours
look at all these leaves
in my hands
in my arms
look at you throw
them into the air
and it looks 
like laughter
but I can’t hear nothing
but the bubble
of speech bursting
like a pocket
of blood
charged with the smack
of all austere
ok daddio
forgive me
for all the light
it floods this cab
like the sun
in winter
for some of us 
that’s all we need
its gentle bright
its annihilation
ice cracks 
walk with me
go on 
get out of this black car
I say so
but when I move
there’s nothing
a movement
the gesture of movement
I step out of myself
to nowhere
I’m not there
and if you know
I’m not
why then 
keep speaking to me 
why daddio
telling me
love will save me 
when it never did

Paul Perry is the author of 5 full length collections of poetry including Gunpowder Valentine: New and Selected Poems, and two pamphlets of poetry. A recent recipient of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship, and co-author to 4 Karen Perry best-sellers, including the Penguin published The Innocent Sleep. The Ghosts of Barnacullia appears from above/ground press, 2019. He directs the Creative Writing Programme at UCD.  

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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