Poems from All Kinds of Disorder
I address this to dear old Doctor Bermingham,
who always asked after my mother,
prescribed the company of dogs, and caught pneumonia;
the new young psychiatrist who watches the clock;
or any other who might want to put on
a red suit and try out a few belly-laughs.
Under no circumstances bring with you medication
that means parched lips, hallucinations, delayed impact,
or no thrust; slow-release capsules that interact
with cheese and herring in perhaps fatal detonations;
or learned papers on the biochemistry of disorder;
how only a minority fail to respond to invading forces
like renegades in a hill-fort surrounded by tanks and mortars,
determined to hold out for the dark cause.
Please substitute the following, more simple
and, dare I say, human expedient,
in the name of goodwill and peace on earth:
a sense of time that passes on a well-paced linear path
and not the hit and run of moments on cliff-fall or moon-mission
where absence shrieks of the eternal
but the loved remain in the heart,
and we are this evening who we were this morning.
This has a name, but I forget.
Don't ask me when I ran off with the circus;
it seems years I have stood here with stool and whip,
keeping at bay the huge cat that offers the one chance of escape.
Creep in and steal the props. Let me be fondly mauled,
prostrate, holding his great scruff. This is a vision of forgiveness.
If it seems maudlin, it's the time of year, isn't it?
I understand if it's too much.
Keep me the Perry Como album, It's A Wonderful Life on video,
a half-bottle of Southern Comfort, and a bag of pistachio nuts.
Biscuits and brandy are on the willow-patterned plate
in the hearth. The chimney was swept last week
by the new-age tree surgeon from across the street.
I can't promise to be asleep, but I can fake it.
I say this in the hope you will not forget.
I am sorry if the need to be good has been lost
in the effort to be perfect. But contrary to prosecution evidence,
and the side-effects of modern medecine, I still believe you exist.