The Backlists Poem #4


This man has a stuffed mouse taped to his head.

The lobby’s ever-changing guard of attention-seekers
click into focus:

These fashionable diagnoses keep chipping away at our penchant
for the accurate: here is a clump of badger hair, bathing
in a pool of neon. Here is the invisible man projecting films
of his absence onto a wall.

Other convoluted gasps in the rosy dark of a fontanel:
A dreaming surgeon strips the skin from his thumbs.

Having already broken, rebuilt & enshrined the heart
in a heart-shaped estuary, Maddy will charge Japanese tourists
£15 apiece to admire / ridicule it using kaleidoscopic goggles.

‘All art tries to swindle death.’ The drunken doctor hands out
freebies: charcoal, pastels, massive blank X-Ray cards
& sends his ladies trundling off, nursing delusions of artistry.

We are informed of the season’s whereabouts by
a series of effective illustrations. We are quietly influenced by
the distant quack of a car alarm / every single thing
we see

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