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Best Famous Liam Wilkinson Poems

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by Liam Wilkinson |

THIN VOLUMES

 Then there’s the man
who comes in every Saturday
to loiter in Romance.

His face may be milk-white
but in those hot aisles
his cheeks glow
to the pink of the spines.

In a panic-climax
he seizes six or seven
and fiddles impatiently
as I stamp them with a date,
before he makes his exit,
sniffing like a beast
at the jackets.

When does a man find
the dregs of his fantasies
in the scent of hand-cream
still lingering on thin volumes?
Is it the erotica inside
or out? Where the book
might have ended up
in those sunlit suburban semis?

Now I’ve taken to washing the covers
before Saturday comes
to preserve the last of those ladies’
most private passions.


by Liam Wilkinson |

ON BLAKE STREET

 I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again,
but if I do, I want you to notice
and nod your head, or even turn away –

if you can, run over to the florist
or the fruit shop, make me believe
you have more important things to do

than to be here in my poem,
turning up again after all these years,
noticing me in the street

before making for the nearest distraction.


by Liam Wilkinson |

GOING

 It took all day to get going.

I spent the morning off
like an antiquated fax machine.
You prodded me occasionally,

kicked me, checked I was still breathing.
But all you got back
was a flashing yellow light.

The manual says I need calibrating.
You think I need replacing
with a newer, quicker model.

One without the flashing yellow light.


by Liam Wilkinson |

ON THE MAP

 When I step off that doorstep,
still in need of the paint
with which I intend to lick it,
and on to that short walk
to the gateposts
that used to hold up
two wrought-iron gates
but whose spines
have become too buckled
to hold anything more
than the occasional blackbird,
when I diagonal, across
that familiar space
where so many roads
have laid and so many
been buried, to
the corner which saved me
once or twice
from the water pistols,
onto the next street
where they hardly know me,
past the library
in which I discovered
those first poems
and left the broken eggs
of my own, when I lean
against that road sign
and watch so little happen
to so few people,
in such a small space
on this minute planet,
the silence made
on the end of this needle,
the centuries of years
that let go like molecules
inside the beads of water
that slip unseen
from the duck’s feathers,
then will I rejoice,
then will I squeeze out
a kind of smile
beneath my nose
and sniff –
this is all I need.


by Liam Wilkinson |

BACK BEDROOM BAROQUE

 This is not a recording, circa 1998
of the Cologne Chamber Orchestra
conducted by Helmut Muller-Bruhl
but the orchestra themselves,
huddled in the back bedroom
for a private performance of Bach’s
Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor.

The Flautist can hardly raise his elbow
above the Harpsichordist’s shoulders,
crammed as they are between several
Violinists and an antique dresser.

And Heir Muller-Bruhl, perched
on the unpacked box of saucepans,
knows that the risk of falling
into the clumsy cluster of musicians
is what lends this piece it’s unique
blend of fury and exhilaration.


by Liam Wilkinson |

THE LUNATIC

 I’m in a strange mood tonight.

I aim for the moon and laugh
as the elastic snaps behind me,

collapsing the whole contraption
until I look like the lunatic,

tangled in the chaos of the death
of a mechanical butterfly.


by Liam Wilkinson |

ELECTION DAY CAMPAIGN

 One child takes cover beneath our bay window, he waits on grazed knees for his breath to come back and checks the ammo in his Fairy Liquid bottle.
I suddenly realise I’m a war poet.

The schools are polling stations, the streets scorched by sun and wet with water bombs.
I stick out my head in an effort to experience the conflict of odds against evens.

An army springs from number seven
and I’m hit - an orange balloon at my shoulder - the crouching soldier comes to my aid with a towel and, with failing breath, I tell him where I keep the hose.


by Liam Wilkinson |

THE EXECUTION

 Hearth rugs are
beaten in the yard.

Each sink is made
to swallow bleach.

Shirts
are hung.

Crockery
drowned.

Curtains and towels
stuffed into a machine.

Shoes and books
line up

and wait.


by Liam Wilkinson |

DJANGOLOGY

 Finally alone, I pick up the tennis racquet
and dazzle the walls of our house
with my Django Reinhardt impression.

I move between the rooms with my racquet
and the small stool we use for buffing our shoes,
introducing each tune in a Belgian accent.

In the dining room, the table is astonished
to find that I’m doing all this with just two fingers!
Even the improvised solo in ‘Oh Lady Be Good’!

And before you arrive home, I launch
into the big finale, with the chair, the desk
and the rest of the Hot Club of France.


by Liam Wilkinson |

WELCOME HERE

 Hear of the hate I have for these poems
as they arrive, out of the night
wanting the small bowls of my appreciation
as I put out a sheet of paper
and let them piss all over the place.

Let me tell you about the nausea I feel
as I spend the rest of the evening on my knees,
scrubbing the floor of their filth,
finding pieces of their metaphors and similes
jammed between the margins.

Observe my utter contempt for these intruders
as they pick up everything in the house and leave
their resounding rhythms like fingerprints
and their humorous wordplay
like a bad smell in the bathroom of this page.