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Three Poems from The Rake

The Rake packs up his troubles in an old kit-bag and smiles, smiles, smiles

 

Holding things, I found, was holding me

up. So nowadays I’m mostly empty-

handed, bearing nothing but the stitched

shoulder strap to this, my dashing hell-

for-leather holdall — the mark of a life spent

all over. These last few years or so, I’ve gathered

nothing that would make it stretch or crack.

Nothing. That’s what made it stretch and crack

all over: these last few years. Or so I’ve gathered,

for leather holds all the marks of a life spent

with shoulders strapped to this, my dashing hell.

Hunted, baring nothing, I’ve been stitched

up so nowadays I’m mostly empty,

holding things I found were holding me.

 

 

 

The Rake invites you to the weepies

 

Don’t be lugubrious, my newest friend.

Bite lugubrious. Roll it around,

and roll around in it.  Take a dive

in its lubricious, bleak lagoon, lukewarm

and wallowsome. Drink deep and swoon. The salt

will lift you like a vast and sudden futon,

a waterbed, luxurious and soft

and overfed, the kind they advertise

 

in why-oh-widescreen at the multiplex.

The eyeless ushers mutter unless   unless

Shush. The trailers are my favourite bit.

It’s dark in here. Can you remember where

we wandered in from? Good. Forget about it

while I brush this popcorn from your hair.

 

 

 

The Rake’s apology

 

Darling, let me lay it at your feet,

blinking and soft, a helpless little wolfcub

huddled inside a gingham picnic-basket

on a cold night, on your doorstep, the fog

a clean slate, no sign of the coming flurry,

the never-ending blizzard. Do not worry.

Though it may break things, let it be your dog.

Snowed in, you’ll feed it steak tartare and brisket,

its licked-clean bowl the colour of false love,

of the ice outside the window, of its teeth.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

, 27, lives in London. His pamphlets include Woodsong, inspired by the Irish epic The Madness of Sweeney, and Postcards from Sulpicia, a translation of Ancient Rome's only extant female poet. He has reviewed poetry for the Telegraph and Radio 4's Front Row, and performed his poetry at Latitude Festival.

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