I overheard a man talking into his phone and his dialogue punctuates this poem. People often seem to be in control of their lives, at least to me, and this clear evidence of the opposite seemed to be useful. But it came as I was struggling with the past, with rising feelings of panic. The harsh juxtaposition of the one-way phone call and the ineffable is a reflection of that panic. The poem can be read straight through, or just as the man on the phone, or just as the poet.
Another night. Acid reflux,
The retching return of fights and flights,
“Hello mate, how’re you doing?”
They switched the electric heater on
When I was sick: one molten bar.
“Shit, no way, you’re joking right?”
It glowed in the blackness.
Panic blossoms, invades my breath.
Iodine stung my bleeding knee.
“Can’t do it mate, I’m busy.”
It stained me yellow.
In the cloister, there were sweet violets
By the antic arch to the secret garden.
“All right, cheers mate.”
Now the way is lost.
The darkness dilutes into the dawn,
Which brings a different tyranny.
“That was a fucking waste of time.”