Ray Miller – two poems

Neapolitan Street

I lie about the roof
and the cold-call woman
says I might qualify
for a new solar system.
It’s brown and faces east-west.

A shade of pink colours
the walls below it,
white car and caravan
blocks of vanilla.
It’s always Sunday afternoon.

Out back hammers tap
in the undertakers.
Spilsbury’s smoke
is wreathing the Malverns,
squat and reptilian.

Every other Thursday
the wheelies come out.


Finding Space

Morning we assembled to implore
the Lord’s forgiveness and whenever
he could manage it, Bisseker would puncture
solemnity and silence with a fart.
During All Things Bright and Beautiful
the sun fought through the foliage
and the hands that smothered noses
unsettled shafts of golden dust.

Later, after sums or painting,
we’d drink our milk and orange and return
to be exhorted to find ourselves a space.
God was everywhere, but mostly Bach
and Beethoven hung the bars on which we stretched
our infant arabesques. Bisseker walked
upside down, reckless and invasive,
blowing raspberries with a missionary zeal.

We were entertained one Christmas
by a clown and a juggler; he’d doubtless doubled
up as Santa at the party earlier on.
He let us in on the secret: never
juggle objects of dissimilar weight and shape.
Next term’s assemblies were free of gas entirely
and our branches bore but meagre fruit. By then
Bisseker had perished on a visit to the zoo.


Ray Miller has had stuff published in Antiphon, Snakeskin, Prole, Message in a Bottle, even The British Journal of Psychiatry.

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