Dead skin sloughs off me, settles
around the gear lever. A layer
of dust coats the dashboard
in slow-motion. The Jones’s cat
watches me pass but loses interest.
My hair concentrates on the business
of hippie-length growth. I spout
a beard worthy of a Solzhenitsyn emoji.
The kids waiting at the bus stop
pass exams and have kids of their own.
There’s a General Election. A handful
of celebrities die and a few others
are caught doing things they shouldn’t.
Donna Tartt publishes a new novel.
A small galaxy winks out of existence.
I reach the end of the estate; indicate left.
We talk about what we have to do
and the importance of it and the need
to prioritise, and time folds in on itself
and pulls a plug, and nobody considers
the ratio of time depleting to time required.
Distil into this moment all of your learning;
be as the tree frog – still and almost invisible.
Their flabby threats are rainfall on granite,
a thousand years short of the slightest erosion.
The violence of the subject should be cloaked
in something beautiful: a poem about death
and the profit of politicians and industrialists
is a poem of lilies and chrysanthemums.
Flowers shame the brutality of steel; rust
is a poor substitute for the fine dust of pollen.
Neil Fulwood is the author of media studies book The Films of Sam Peckinpah and co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of the anthology More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe (Lucifer Press, 2015). His debut poetry collection, No Avoiding It, is forthcoming from Shoestring Press in 2017. He hasn’t done any of the eclectic and interesting jobs that most people list in their biogs, but he met Quentin Tarantino once and is still dining out on the story.