The following are extracts from Gordon Day's first full length poetry collection
published by Jawbone Books and available in local bookshops.
These are published here with the permission of Gordon Day.
You're still leaving jobs for him to finish.
He's not going to poke his head through
the hatch you've yet to make a start on.
I mean, one brick knocked out
makes a peep-hole into the dining room.
When he gave you a hand
to pull your first Christmas cracker
did you believe all life would be like that -
him always keeping your end up?
I don't wonder jobs get on top of you.
If the hole's not a hatch by tonight
nobody'll be on top on the job -
you'll be keeping your end up.
I'll come to the bedroom
when you've finished.
I mean for the gravy -
a vowel away from a straightjacket
which is easy to get out of
compared to the grave
many finish up in
after a slip of the tongue
in barbaric lands
where they've never known
that savoury drift
that settles its stock
round an Englishman's castle
a Yorkshire pudding
so crispy, yet fluffy, so filling
the recipe I keep under
an old chef's hat I wear
when dressed for the grave.
At the wake all the young men
hungry for the world is their Yorkshire
will be bereft of my gravy.
Before The Hunt can begin
The Sacrifice: a shivering
mongrel has its throat ripped out
blood drips into a stirrup cup
which is passed round
and the contents drunk
by the hunters
who are summoned by a howl
to a meadow, where a cross
between a horse and a cow
with a small winter tree
on its head, downwind
of the hunters' manure
turns and gallops into the forest
it was born in
trees step aside for it
air becomes sticky
out of the forest
as the hunters salivate
at the thought of the kill
stirring up river beds
trampling hedges, crops
motorway cars, scaring off
neighbourhood watch, to corner
in a front garden, a cross
between a horse and a cow
and decapitate it
blood drips into a bowl
which is not passed round;
the hunters fight over the contents
they leave a small tree on a head
to be hung on a wall in Balmoral
where it will always be winter.
May n. month of many days like the rest
not to mention September/
may v. 1. might Speilberg do another take
as long as it takes until
nothing really happens?
2. archaic. might happen only in America
maya n. 1. illusion over there.
2. reality over here.
may apple n. bomb that does not explode
on impact but lies dormant waiting to be
plucked from the earth
as yellow egg-shaped fruit.
maybe adv. 1. perhaps Pollock's the man
upstairs splurging red and steel-grey pains
through windows on sky-blue canvas?
2. perhaps performance art of not taking
the lift but going down with the building
ground floor only.
May bug n. cockchafer in the White house
on the thick-piled carpet.
May Day n. annual celebration of firemen
with flags excluding red.
mayday n. 1. Mid. East. I'll always love you.
2. N. Amer. get me out of here.
mayfly n. adult of brief life
but many flying hours.
mayhem n. panic on Air Force 1
sky turning steel-grey.
and the President doesn't know
where he's going
where he's coming from
not to mention what day it is.
mayonnaise n. thick, creamy dressing up
of the unpalatable sunny-side-down.
mayor n. hero of the hours that suit.
mayoress n. 1. mistress of mayor.
2. archaic wife of mayor.
maypole n. annual pole for walking round
adorned with ribbons and flowers
mayweed n. stinking or scentless plant
climbing number 10.
mazard n. Europe's sweet cherry that doesn't
make a fist with others.
maze n. complex arrangement of chambers
in the ears designed to puzzle those coming
up against them from the wromg side.
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