When your house does not collapse,
thank the ghoul who holds it up.
Thank the freak who paints and paints
somewhere in the cellarage
canvases which in the night
vanish through the walls he can’t
cross, or up the ladder which
led towards another world
once (before it went away,
almost imperceptibly) –
something like the one he paints
from a dimming memory;
light through trees and swings on lawns,
all of that pastoral shit
which is very lucrative
in the asphalt world. He sits,
sketchpad on his scaly knees,
listens as the humming fridge
fills complacently with goods
paid for with the steady wealth
which lands in the bank account
of the steady family
almost imperceptibly –
almost as if there were not
crusted somewhere under it
something like a second self
out of sight and out of mind
cleaning brushes in the dark
dipping them in turpentine
scraping down his palette knife
looking at a masterpiece
hard before it goes away
into other unseen hands
while your children in their beds
unaware of anything
kick downward in their dreams
and come up short.
Did a Weimaraner Write This?
after a tweet by @ilikemints 14 Sept 2015
The Weimaraner thick at the neck, stands guard strongly, has the house to watch against the intruder. When is running, best in the world for owner, many have adopted this dog. The longest-faced sad one, he has the title to reparation. The Weimaraner is big dog, head of a child, the mouth running in the anticipation. In the kennel it is social, the rough play in order to belong the family. The Weimaraner is loyal, does deserve not to die, is never threatening the family companion. In the childhood many are dead before older, from pill, the shot in the neck. The wisdom that cannot be bred, not to have too many, when to put outside or when to kill. The Weimaraner has the most trust dog in the world, but always it is for the safety that they are hunting.
Poem in which my guilt is a Georgian waistcoat
Though it turns out there are many kinds
of Georgian waistcoat —
did I mean the long kind,
with the twelve embroidered buttons
and more buttons on the pockets just for show?
Or did I mean the kind
where the goldwork thread spills
down the centre like a gaudy tongue,
the gilt pricked out
by a team of young girls,
all swoosh and chinoiserie?
Or say I meant the kind
that was woven over weeks,
fitted round my body like a velvet hearse.
I personally lean
towards the kind with the high French neck
and the shoulders taut like fishhooks,
the kind that crams you forward
with a chest that yearns
for a stature that your own can’t have.
My guilt could be the peacock-feather fine-ribbed silk,
the dark green acorns sprouting from the collar
or the berries made of flat paste glass.
What matters is how I stand up in it.
What matters is how finely it was made.
Richard O’Brien’s second pamphlet, The Emmores, was published by the Emma Press in January 2014, and A Bloody Mess followed from Valley Press in 2015. His work has featured in Magma, Poetry London, For Every Year, The Salt Book of Younger Poets and Eyewear’s The Best New British and Irish Poets 2017. His first play for children, an adaptation of ‘The Selfish Giant’, premiered at the Arcola Theatre in December 2016. Richard is working on a Midlands3Cities-funded PhD on Shakespeare and the development of verse drama at the University of Birmingham, and can be found on Twitter @notrockyhorror, or at his website, www.richardobrien.co.uk.
Image credit: Trinità