Some things to dream of, Education & Two Rubens' paintings at the National Gallery
[ poetry - january 06 ]
Some things to dream of
There are kettles and hairdryers
that turn themselves on
and off again
to unsettle the a.m.
There are insomniac
gas fires, blue eyed
There are doors with locks
and a spare key
beneath the plant pot.
There are girls at night
displaying bibs of pale skin
and white vans that stop
with the engine running.
There's a boy carving puddles
in a Volvo's full beam
with his feet off the pedals
he is deftly undead.
The sun sweeps up
like a headlight;
there is post on the mat:
a card deck spread.
Before the letters appeared after his name,
Donald often skipped school for the park
with his expecting satchel, its kick of Gray's
Anatomy. He watched topless boys monkey
bar with spider ribcages and dog walkers who bent
from the waist, not knees. In winter, by bronchial trees,
he'd watch smokers shelter, cup for a light.
Having the keys to most department doors,
Professor Brander slips pinches of Lithium
into his corduroy pockets. In heavy rain, he will beam.
Two Rubens' paintings at the National Gallery
It's like a mosh pit,
said the girl
with the blue and black tights
he straddles tens of ham-thighed
soldiers, holding Medusa's head
at arms-length, eyes averted,
appalled by her try-hard haircut.
She's long dead but her dread look
still yucks plenty: spears halt
in the freshly cemented grips
of sure-to-fail minions.
Nothing Superman couldn't have blown
with a bouquet of ice-freeze.
Fiends go slo-mo to the crackle
of unwrapping presents.
Rubens milks filth
from the bib-heavy maid's
basket of fruit.
No ambiguity here
as the hand of a cad
with a ya-know-ya-would smirk
parts the labia of a clit-stoned fig.
I'm thinking Viz.
Carcasses in the dark:
one way of suggesting
this over-ripe bloke's
penchant for fucking.
The gallery tongues click.
An eight-year-old checking out Constable
with his hands down his pants announces:
wonderful, simply wonderful.