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new internationalist
issue 224 - October 1991

[image, unknown]
Illustration: CLIVE OFFLEY

Your presence is hungry and highpitched,
the note of nails screed down a blackboard
snatching the backbone in a fist of quills.
You hear it yourself and want to escape
frantic and headlong, a wasp in a jamjar.

Under the nightshade of a parasol,
light lacquered mauve and gold, you summon
friends in prison or overdosed and dead
without their lady of the lamp. You've lost
count of the times you've given the kiss of life;

still working as a local pool attendant,
weren't you once a lifeguard by the ocean?
Airmails come from the home you left behind you
but the past you can't put there — you trail it
like a swarm of hornets, a coiffure of fire.

Your dealers use the tradesman's entrance.
Then you wear a halo of candyfloss,
a glutinous helmet, lighter than air.
Coming down, you long to be forgiven and forget.
And the next morning crashes into you.

Jamie McKendrick

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New Internationalist issue 224 magazine cover This article is from the October 1991 issue of New Internationalist.
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