Every single day, hot and sunny. And they love it.
"Isn't it great, every day, hot and sunny?" What
are you, a fucking lizard?
Here is your pre-recorded weather forecast,
here is the next twenty-four hours
extrapolated from the lazy predictably of L.A.
Here is meteorology as existentialism—
watch as an indolent front sweeps in,
a graphic pixeling across the map, isobars
a picture of ennui. Here is another day,
week, month, year, decade of the same.
The Gobi desert considers L.A. and muses
that at least the temperature drops at night.
Humid jungles shake their heads at L.A.,
grateful for their ecosystems’ complexity.
The polar wastes, snowblind against the thought
of L.A., are too busy existing to have an opinion.
The British summer expends its two-day duration
in a beer garden, convinced that L.A.
stands for Luton Airport and all flights
will be grounded next week after an inch of snow.
"... the strange career of a personality begins
My reassembly begins
at five o'clock, the pieces
forged in the white-hot rush
of the me-shaped blur
jetting from office to pub.
Enthusiasm, hammered flat
by eight hours of ennui,
re-inflates. Purpose renews.
I am just moments away
from that first-of-the-day taste.
Fireworks would be appropriate,
a marching band understated.
White-gloved barstaff lining
the entrance, an RAF fly-past.
I'll forego the 21-gun salute.
Give me instead the small ritual
of a pint of ale settling
on the much-swabbed surface
of a bar straight-edged
by a copper rail. Give me
the first sip and the sigh
of appreciation, then the long
satisfying pull and the lip
slicked with foam. Give me
the next forty minutes
and of the fog that follows
let me earn every cubic inch
of its blurry moisture. Of the
slurred words and shuffled steps,
of the hangover now on standby
let me entertain no regret.
You announced it on social media,
a titter-behind-the-hand secret
as public as your privacy settings:
it was Wednesday and you’d had
“a cheeky midweek drink”,
a large G&T on a school night.
A. Cheeky. Midweek. Drink.
A. Singular. I left a comment
about only drinking on a day
with a “Y” in it. Seemed politer
than calling you a friggin’ amateur.
A drink isn’t something I’d call cheeky.
A cheeky rolled-up twenty
hoovering the fat stash
of some clown who can afford it.
A cheeky lunchtime knee-trembler
against the stationery cupboard,
box files shunting onto Rexel staples.
A cheeky overview of Pornhub’s finest
on the work moby in the team meeting,
#milf bookmarked for later.
A cheeky vindictive prank, maybe,
involving the remains of a kebab
and the boss’s Audi’s upholstery.
A cheeky summons to the HR office,
a cheeky hand gesture, a cheeky
thrown punch, an oh-so-cheeky P45.
But never—never!—a cheeky drink.
I have too much respect for such things.
It’s as if the house has been inverted—
a dreamscape rearrangement
or an elaborate camera movement
in a film you caught at a strange hour
one night years ago, the title lost
and Google no help. A film you itch
to see again to recapture that sense
of something truly weird unfurling
from screen to synapse. But all of that
is neither here nor there. It’s the thing
reaching down to grab your attention
that’s got you thinking in terms
of the topsy-turvy. It’s as if the deep
comforting weave of the shag-pile carpet
has flipped up to the ceiling. But this
carpet is no welcoming expanse
that rewards slippers slipped off
and the scrunching of toes. Fronds
is how your mind makes sense of it—
like something wavering slowly
underwater. Murk is how you identify
the hue, eye and brain zipping through
and rejecting any conventional colour chart.
There’s a hint of something moving
behind the surface movement. You’re sure
this is a dream (maybe it was only
yesterday you watched the movie)
but the whole scene is in sharp focus
and there’s no lurching shift into wakefulness
as the thing on the ceiling continues to move.
There were two Irishmen eating sandwiches in a pub and the landlord said: “You can’t eat your own food in here.” So they swapped sandwiches.
Here’s to Neil Fullwood today for his fine poems and a wink to the wonderful institution of the British local pub! I’ve taken the opportunity to post a few photos of pubs which—I think—are in Nottingham. Just a little Friday trip across the pond. Wish we could share a pint, Neil!
—Medusa (Celebrate Poetry on all the sides of the sea!)
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.