Two Poems by Graham Clifford

Resusci Anne


I am simply the latest to come to you

with my frantic efforts at restarting your heart,

adrenaline-breath in through the lips

that Baudelaire compared to La Joconde’s.


Everything burns internally when

I Google you, for images only, everything

since they fished you from the Seine

by the Quai de  Louvre, causing a hole


in humanity; we couldn’t cope with

this loss. Countless corporations

and attempts we have made on your likeness,

inconnue. Smiling and concentrated,


black and white and in high def,

in water, on land,

scenarios and death masks,

the rucksack of Baby Annies


you gave birth to; decapitated-you

French kissed; a trunk, you goad us

implying you could still be reanimated

if we keep thumping on your improved chest


more lifelike in its trademark death.

Perhaps it is this handing on

that is the saving, Anne. A toy maker

and a doctor made you. Breathe. 1, 2, 3…



What the Rijksmuseum Did to Me


I’d had a hard time in the gallery

trying to work out my place in it all

so, outside, the body that smashed onto the pavement

was a welcome distraction.


It was not a man anymore, but some

rags and lumpy jam.

One of his eyes looked up at me.

The other was popped.

His teeth and lips now belonged to the floor

and said


I know how you feel. This is my relief.

But please reassure me Vermeer’s milk pourer

is as good as I like to remember.


I said it was and gave a good description

of how the bread was painted to prove I had concentrated

but really, my heart wasn’t in it.



Graham Clifford‘s debut The Hitting Game was published by Seren and highly commended in the Forward Prize 2015. His pamphlet Computer Generated Crash Test Dummies will be published in January 2015 by Black Light Engine Room. For more, visit www.grahamclifford.co.uk.



Image credit: Pati

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