we collected together all of the scientists and historians & i said
okay, how about him.
he was a murderer – but it’s
a photograph. sun in
his eyes. how many decades since
he tried it on?
we tried it on,
did we? we wouldn’t do it, she said
& we took lifts from vans
on longwall street, pulled our tights up
from the waist, snacked outside libraries –
we needed headrushes
to break our reading.
we salute you from new college’s slippery mound
where we climbed to escape the tourists
& their guidebooks, laughing
at their own hands. we salute you
& your endeavours
noli me tangere, i am flying
i am flayed today – there are exams
& it is a good rotten apple summer, i think we bit away
i spent so long reading reprinted old books that when i read
the new ones you told me about they said
oxford’s problem is all the women
who won’t fuck you – i thought
that’s interesting. baby, did i make you sick?
the minstrels strummed
& we thumbed back through the pages – margins full of us.
this one’s about anne boleyn & this one
is about wild game. the rhyme – it’s so quiet.
noli me tangere, is it my right
to say that? i didn’t like my legs
but didn’t know what to wear
in case you saw them
& we spent lunches stuck on dead princes’ faces.
this is not what you’re like.
you only want to sing
about how much you love us anyway.