poetry

Le[aving]

Why do they always say have your cake and eat it?

Shouldn’t it be a case of have your cake or eat it?

Or, on the other silver platter, eat your cake and have it –

where have means eat rather than possess it?

 

Life, in a way, is very like that cake.

Multiple options which confuse and bemuse.

Even the syntax of such multiple options doesn’t half

flatly refuse to lay itself out clear.

 

And I no longer want to square circles as before;

as once I might have needed to grandly proclaim;

as once I clearly needed to.

But listen, dear universe – listen and advise:

 

is my art worth any sacrifice – or am I mediocre

beyond trivial measure?  Or can the sacrifice, even now,

if worthy of art I mean, still be made in a squaring of wagon-trailed

circles, which command pioneering movement?

 

I’d love to know not where to go, nor who might be

waiting, nor even if no one rightly cares any more

for what are ridiculous thoughts at nineteen to a dozen (although I do

have to say I prefer twenty …).

 

I’d far rather love to know if anyone really thinks

it’d be better for me to give up what I’m doing, because

in simple artistic terms of critical bent, I’m halfway round a curve

looking for idiocy all the time.

 

And talking about oneself, and talking about others,

has helped me recover – I think – a semblance of myself

but I realise, right now, I can’t do this art stuff without talking about

others who might sensibly object.

 

And if talking about others who might sensibly object

is all I know how to do in the art that I do, and this is

quite wrong, and I am out of work, like coffee machine in corporate

pecking order, maybe the art that’s been lost

 

all these years I’m alone, and without beloved contact

with the muse of my life, must continue to be unmade

as much as it can.  For what right do I have to uncover the sadness

that drove me to madness and the cell I am in?

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