Thaw said, “I think I’ll become a lighthouse keeper.” There was silence and then someone asked why. “So I’ll be able to walk in spirals.” –Alasdair Gray, Lanark
Sweat moves thick
down our backs and i hate
everyone. We escape the crowds,
spot keats in a corner
but can’t find shelley anywhere.
The locals bathe topless
on sunny days and we stumble
on kierkegaard by accident.
Oh, please. This place is ugly
and cluttered and it’s humiliating
how long it takes us to find jim.
I teach you
to pile rocks to remember.
The graveyard is empty
except for one stone prevailing
like a broken tooth
in an old man’s gum.
We sit for a long time
We sleep late
and miss marx.
Drive to tesco and buy hoegaarden instead.
i. city of dead
At the necropolis the sky
is enormous, scotland reels
in its depth. Obelisks pierce the clouds,
rain makes green greener
and dearer, punctuates the book
in john knox’s hand
with careful drops.
I spiral uphill, searching
for the jews i read were buried here.
But i only find men walking dogs
views of a car park
and a cathedral turquoise with age.
I stand at the centre of a city
i don’t belong in
This story appears in Poetry Is Dead issue 1. If you like it online, you'll love it in print. Subscribe Now »