Sonnet 142


It’s katabasis for the French school kids,
and he’s the psychopomp, decoding tags
with the chutzpah of Pound libelling yids.
Appropriately lame, his flat feet drag
along the sidewalk, past the gurning drunks
and jaundiced ghosts outside the pharmacy.
The overwhelming reek of Mendip skunk
betrays the junction with Jamaica Street,
where Murakami’s Wave was haply sprayed.
String ties to rail a fleabag Cerberus
under the calvary where Christ’s been made
to spin upon his head. Our Virgil must
now take his leave, for chums of his slouch here
with Stowfords cider and, he hopes, some gear.

‘Sonnet 142’ won Second Prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017)