if it’s too undignified to be present

I don’t often use repetition in poetry, or metre. This poem has repetition and metre and a structure and rhythm and everything, which isn’t normally like me. I think this is normally my default setting that I am constantly hitting out against. It seems I have a definite problem with poetry being beautiful in traditional ways, and it’s only out of sincerity or quiet, personal, emotional goings-on that spark this kind of writing in me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want to cynically remove the conventional niceness by trying to make it screamingly hilarious or bitingly surreal or VERY NEW INDEED. When people say they write poems for themselves, I think this is what they mean. I used to believe that everything I wrote had to serve a purpose SOMEWHERE, that it should end up in a certain magazine or can be performed at a certain event, but sometimes there are poems that can be written just for the self. I think this is one of them. It’s called ‘If It’s Too Undignified To Be Present’.

if it’s too undignified to be present
if it’s too undignified to be present

the guests had browsed over the buffet
which groaned on the table uneaten

in the attic a skylight with new plastic panes
an armchair’s wheels scuffing hardwood floors

a man just stood in his boxer shorts
disguising a shaking hand by hiding it

in his hair; i wondered how he was
still visible, on the day when

we were all drinking brandy in the greenhouse
the snow in the clouds made the sky pink

and my face in the windows obscured
by the garden reflected back to me

nobody will recognise me here
standing limp in the throw of the sun

the sound of the city kept peaking and falling
as the crowd started questioning how

and the hands on the clock like a drowning man
waving when pulled out to sea

amy winehouse will probably die soon
that’s got nothing to do with the pair of us

our only options are silence or wanting
ask me if i’m too frozen turn back

if it’s too undignified to be present
if it’s too undignified to be present


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