Michael Egan


leaving the bus a slight rain and
an author-activist's son fall

ceasefires stutter trying to
say 'take care' to a girl who
adjusts the waistband of her
pinstriped pants

it turns as many as four times
before I can pass, a none-biblical
number, I am conscious of the
distance between us

it seems safer in a tank than
in a courtyard despite the view
of the sea and the hills full of
elevated threats

liquid becomes the weapon, water
not of life but of something else
as yet unconfirmed we fill plastic
bags and lose our laptops

even on the pages of electronic
secrets there are revelations in
storage, these words wait for the
setting down of wheels on tarmac
or lips on lips

a shield is held out in an attacking
gesture unexpected defeat delivered
and in a toilet two strangers lie
together waiting for the sea to wash
into their prison

what prisons can withstand hurricanes
murderers are given voices and hang
with life in front of the camera, the
silent image suggests nobility
not crime

crimes differ from the scarring of
artwork to the duplicity of an MP
swingers parties may or may not
have happened though she wears
different styles of sunglasses each day

that confirms it, her knowledge of style
is a sign of her incorruptible nature
and she walks amongst the judged
taking note of the pleats in their trousers

now panic controls the picture because
the key clicks and does not turn
there is a pressure against the door
and darkness within, in that moment
I whisper her name

using the same words in every piece
dilutes the affect, shadows become
light, whispers are shouts and if
cats talk its only because someone
wrote them that way

plans are made and decisions are given
a date, a stamp is rolled across the
plastic bags, in answer you say
'france' a pause 'it was ok'

for a whole nation to be described
by that statement, no sign of burning
no mark of rising nationalism or hint
of the truth that the 'cheese could be
strong or weak, I've never been there'

it is a collage of images moving with pace
labels and icons mix together like tesco
merging with sony or british airways
and if one of them crumbles they'll
all fall to enron

crumbles like a mint or teeth slowly
turning to boredom, say crumble again
and admit that you are creating the
shadow of poetry, that these stanzas
are collections of words not meanings

and somewhere rain falls heavier
the impossible is vague and
only suggested at, cities shake
whilst their cathedrals of glass
stand in the bay a child with more
passion waits for the moment
instead of coaxing it to him
he does not tremble at the idea
of light


Michael Egan is a poet from Liverpool. His first collection of poetry was published in 2005.

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