We like the formal style: 11 Savile Row,
dogtooth, Gorgons and shot cuffs.

Not in it for the memories, but the country stomp of boots,
the shattered flutes and hit the gas.

The blare of passing horns, a little of the old mad romp.
The scratch and scuff of glitch, the Ludwig’s palace

in the Alpine lake, upside down in Georgie’s head —
and Georgie’s head, upside down in mine.

We like the feelings that we’ll never have:
the Paul, caught arising out of Saul; the burn that brings

the icebergs by; no hoarding of the serotonin;
the self-sacrificing wound and deathbed scene; true love.

And Habib hints at the Titian touch,
thoughtful in his abandoned train, standing on the disused rails

in Thessalonika. We like the sights we’ve never seen.
The rearing horse and baked hard ground — so many girls

in silk and chiffon, a gust of breeze must lift their frocks
recalling the floating pearl and sheen

of rococo bubbles from a fortnight’s trek
through a forest glade in opium, where life has turned to steam

and the steam has drifted to another life,
evaporated to the bleeding heir, after a sudden intervention,

a stunning plummet, and a change of heart. As in:
Georgie reading of Napoleon, compliant material

keeping to the empire line. We shake the bottle, and spunk away
our future in the rush and thrills.

We like the latest style, not the elbows grazed by stamps of god,
but held still in patriarchal pose, reading through the reams

of fake news, and troops debouching from the gorge,
the sun-streaked gleam of missiles as they climb — well, who

would like a broken nose and fractured
collar bone, even if the day was flushed with angels?

We know the gas and mountains, and the prophets, too,
the inventories of impossible objects,

the rabbit-headed man among the revellers
submit their fame to the censor, not willingly, or even knowingly,

but we know, don’t we, and that is all
that matters. We know it is, and in the while

it lasts, we pay it the scant attention
we call our timelines or our minds or souls. We hymn the hum of wheels,

and the grace of poses we can strike and fold.
We like the sleep that holds decision: we like

the whole lot — the honey, the sulphur and the bile.
We like the things we’ve lost the most.

We like the formal style.

Advertisements