Sunday, 23 February 2020



A girl in a denim jacket,
orange flame crawling her temples,
sits opposite me in the Fast Food alcove.
Eats chips with a plastic fork
from a polystyrene tray.
She dips her head and moans
just audibly above the ambient soundtrack,
hands cupping her face,
and as she leans back
I see her marble-white eyes
are spidered with fissures.
Her eyes are hatching,
are eggs cracking open
with squirming violent
gouges of colour inside.
Then, first one butterfly,
then several
slip quivering from
the splintering sockets,
vermillion, magenta, turquoise,
emerald, purple, maroon,
until two torrents of gaudy wings
erupt from her face in shimmering tides
to fill the alcove and spill
into the area beyond.
Customers look away, embarrassed,
read Kindles and iPads more intently,
eat a little faster,
while she bleeds her beauty around them,
her face and shoulders lose definition,
their outline trembles until,
with nothing left to give,
she crumples into a deflated thing,
opposite me in the Fast Food alcove…

as no-one is watching,
I lean over and
sneak three chips
from her tray

Published in:
‘ESPECIALLY YELLOW no.4’ (UK – February 1985)
‘SMOKE no.25’ (UK – March 1987)
‘OPEN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS no.6’ (USA – June 1989)
‘THE THIRD ALTERNATIVE no.1’ (UK – January 1994)
And in collection:
‘POWER LINES’ (UK – Unibird Publications – October 1988)


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