Providence is inattentive.
I toss these crumbs and nothing happens.
The sparrows come but after I’m gone,
which is no fun. I get my deposit back
because I’m careful: I keep notes,
mental notes of good deeds I have done –
like receipts for power bills. I count my friends
and mark them out of five, in stars, like movies:
I cut half a star for a careless word,
and give it back when they’re dead.
I know, I think, my… magnanimous
motives: I caught my-self, like a flash,
framed in the mirror, fiddling
the books. Providence is…slow;
decrepit, almost; has her lucid
moments, tho. I’m pro euthanasia –
like Nature: not indifferent;
neutral. My one good eye is open.
The left hand I keep hidden, it’s sinister;
cunning, underhanded. When I was a boy
I was a doctor, and for a time
I practiced on my mother; in my bag: string,
masking tape, a hammer; and other odds and ends.
I believe I was good at it. I had passion,
but kept a cool head in a crisis. I showed good judgment.
I talked to my patient. To understand her.
And her maladies: I took it upon myself, and for a time
became an exorcist (and showed signs of mania);
then a footballer, a musician (in that order);
finally, a dancer. Seven – my lucky number:
so I played on the right wing for Glasgow Rangers.
I was a Catholic and wanted to play for Celtic:
(Macbeth, at that time, I think, was their manager)
Bobby Lennox, Billy McNeill and Dixie Deans –
no place for me in a team like that, but later
I became the famous Baryshnikov of the beautiful game –
quick, with two good feet, I ran rings around Ferguson
(in training). He was brutal by the way, a typical defender;
what they call “no nonsense”, “honest”, i.e.: a slugger,
no frills: frankly, awful. Providence slumbers –
my friend Zen reckons that good things sometimes happen
to bad people and that Karma is a crock of shit.
He’s right. I don’t envy your success. I’m just bitter.
I’m kind and I never complain. Except now. And then –
when you bled – you sly fucker – my delicate
flowers; my darling buds of May. When I was a girl
I went to London Zoo on my daddy’s shoulders.
I loved the animals; my first memory – the Reptile House
and the lions and the tigers, and a giraffe frightened me:
it was the neck and the little head, and the colours
and I remember the minder doing mean things with her teeth
and hot tea and said it was an accident and mother believed her
“so cute I could eat her literally” – that word’s commonly abused.
I took to alcohol abuse; my friend Kim,
s/he calls it super-use and that makes me laugh;
s/he’s my drinking buddy and my new best friend.
What a prick my teacher was – he had me up
against the wall. His name was McDuff
and my daddy beat him up. One day
I’ll look him up. I guess not. But I won’t forget:
a fantasist, I think of it – not a poof
or anything. It’s just that…
forget it – you mightn’t understand.
It’s just that…No, I can’t go on:
I’m shy; really, no: I’d rather not.
The piles supporting my house.
One of them is in decay, one day
it will give – should I get
Builders’ Bog? Will that do?
I lost a tooth – a wisdom tooth
And someone cracked a joke about it.
I know this guy who will knock your teef out
better than any dentist. And cheap.
[Note to Reader: I got that from Gogol: ‘Dead Souls’
– I recommend it – it’s really funny – but, you know,
those Russians…they take sadly to their drink, and it’s grim]
But he won’t anaesthetize you.
And he doesn’t use any tools.