SLQ Daily 03 September 2020

Read of the Day

The old man in my bed

Taken by surprise
as I lay in bed, dozing,
I touch an old man’s head,
fingers falling through reeds
into a pond. I wipe away the sleep.

His cheek soft, wrinkles to my touch
a fruit past its prime,
slow deflating balloon.

How did this old man come to be
in my bed?
His failing crop
alien to my touch;
decimated rain forest.

I remember now
seeing the old man
in the living room mirror
caught him in a sideways glance.

He didn’t register as anyone I knew,
yet here he was
in my bed.
My fingers run lightly

over his parched brow tense,
line after line his forehead reveals
his furrowed history.

I rub gentle circles around his temples.
I feel relief,

he coughs, I choke,

he yawns, my ears pop,

he hooks his spectacles into place,
my world comes into focus,

then I realise,
my God!

‘The old man in my bed’ by Andy Eycott received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2020) judged by Terry Jones.

Sentinel Literary Quarterly, July – September 2020 – Buy or Subscribe now.

Blast from the Past

Walking (1)

I was a large thing walking,
I was a small thing walking,
I was walking a small thing
walking a large thing walking:

I was a large thing walking,
my son was a small thing running,
my daughter a series of hearts:

There was a green eyed woman,
I could hear her in the dark forest-
no moon thick trees-
down there
across the creek
flailing or holding back
waiting to perch
on the neck
to invite the man.

You could hear the music start
And know the man, small the stone rolling gathers,
The light industrial sound mounts
A clarinet without sides,
Or an inside
Delivered out.

To hear the music circle
Without finance or vision,
The division, my daughter screams,
My son chortles: What arm
Around the throat or waist? What victim?
The joy delivered backwards. What’s a
Young man to do?

What she dances,
Her hands plying her crotch,
“I’m squeezing my vagina. It’s good
Massage. What do you think of
the Pointer Sisters?” Four years
Old. “Look Dad,” a few minutes later
In the bathroom, “I’m pissing
standing up. None got on the floor.”

Walking & walking & walking.
You are not with me anymore. Happy.
Sad. You name it. I don’t care.
Walking. Walking. What’s a life?
Though I hear you walking.

Stephen Vincent served as Director of Bedford Arts — an art books house (1986–1991) and as Publisher, Momo’s press (1974–1985). A former Poetry Review Editor, San Francisco review of Books (1976–1982), Director of Poetry in the schools, California (1970–1972) and Lecturer in Creative Writing, San Francisco Art Institute and San Francisco State University (1968–1970), Vincent has also worked as Lecturer in English and Creative Writing, the United States Peace Corps, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 

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