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Tome On The Range

Heroin Lullaby: A Poem By Bobby Parker
Karl Smith , February 23rd, 2014 09:59

Sidestepping the format on this rare occasion, this week's new writing comes by way of a visceral and emotionally fraught single poem from Quietus-favourite Bobby Parker

Bobby Parker, born 1982, lives in Kidderminster, England. His publications include the critically acclaimed experimental books Ghost Town Music and Comberton, both published by Knives Forks & Spoons Press.

His first full-length poetry collection Blue Movie will be published by Nine Arches Press in 2015.

Heroin Lullaby (or Open Letter To My Wife Upon Our Separation)

Now that we are separate ghosts, I hope at least
one of us can make the living scream,
learn how to shapeshift, throw a poltergeist
wind into the bleeding world. I noticed the mirror
I hate is back in the hallway, and you’ve stopped
asking me to do stuff. You look after our daughter,
look after me, cook, clean, change cat litter,
feed Keith the Goldfish that hates me...
You do everything - without you things would
actually die
. All I do is sleep, melt potent downers
under my sore tongue, occasionally wanking
half-heartedly onto my least favourite t-shirt.
You pay bills, visit my folks and fetch the shopping.
I daydream about heroin the way
some people describe their mother’s cooking,
or that weird stag night in Germany with the magic
mushrooms and prostitute stun guns, or how it feels
to cum so hard you temporarily go blind and lie laughing
beside a girl with eyes like eerie twilight coastlines.
Marriage - Parenthood - I knocked once
for YES when maybe I should’ve flew back
into the skull we used as an ashtray. You kissed
the wine-stained Ouija board; I slapped a silver crucifix
off the wall. You shook the house until our daughter’s toys
fell into the hole we dance around, the big fucking hole
of us, getting bigger every day, currently the size
of two sleeping lovers curled into a perfect spoon.
Yes, now that we are separate spirits, howling
and rolling desperate nights between our ringless
fingers like squidgy black dope, I hope one of us
can appear smiling in a photograph.
Prove that something else exists.
Maybe even save this... Of course, I feel
guilty about not doing anything around the house,
I’m due to leave any day now, but since you stopped
asking I’ve become so lazy and self-absorbed.
I think crap like ‘what does the word SORRY
remind me of?’ (a perfectly round, razor-thin sheet
of glass, spinning above the bed) and ‘what does
my name taste like?’ (a fat, greasy burger
on a small, soggy bun). I stand
at the top of the stairs in my filthy blue
dressing gown and lean forward a bit,
then a bit more, flirting with the fall,
listening to you make our daughter laugh,
singing lullabies and praising her sharp little mind.
This tapping on my teeth with the point
of a sacrificial knife! This pulling at my dirty
nails with squeaky pliers! It hurts so much
my thoughts are like the horrid steam I saw
rising from a bald man’s head in karate class
when I was ten years old and terrified of aliens.
It hurts so much I think my skin is dangerous.
The pain of leaving when you don’t know
for sure. I worry the angels want to rub me out
and replace me with a brilliant pencil sketch of hands,
just two loving hands, holding each other, you know
the way, like under a table with candles perhaps,
or between those awkward airport chairs,
or in outer space watching the earth change colour,
burn off, and fade like a vicious love-bite, reminiscing
about good times until we run out of oxygen
and silently drift apart in the shimmering ink
of infinite mystery, our phones full of text messages
we couldn’t bring ourselves to delete, the summer
photos and giggling videos. Those heart-stabbing
notes to self: 'Help them more', 'Buy her flowers',
'Never be the one who turns out the light'.