The Saints are Full of Holes, by Bobby Parker

Delicate, goofy and sweet;
we must never know the truth.
The mind is pretty ruthless when it comes down to it.
This morning, first thing Katy tells me
is they caught the Golden State Killer.
I will never be a hot fireman.
Although one time
I pretended I was the sexiest dad
at the school gates,
stud to sleepy mothers,
hero to hunchbacked fathers,
my daughter’s teacher catching her breath as I adjusted
the kink in my boxer shorts.
In dreams, you’re greatly rewarded
for outstanding services
to depression. My neck of the woods.
When your future feels like
a picture of a mailbox
sinking into a river of lava
as blue flames dance
toward the power station
it might be time to reconsider
the outrageous demands you make
on your cherry-picked gods.
Many people are made of bad sex and weird soup.
Power Rangers Death Curse.
Spontaneous Human Combustion.
These are just a few examples.
Your loved ones have done bizarre and terrible things,
most of us have, why does this bother you?
We are made for screaming.
I’ve been through so many bodies,
this one doesn’t deserve a Knickerbocker Glory.
The binman says our bones
are covered with the most
god-awful jokes.
The demon in the corner of our garden
is currently disguised
as an oblong, flesh-coloured rock.
When its smooth face is shiny with rain
and the cats are burying shit
behind the daffodils, it speaks to me, telepathically,
about the problem.
What problem? I ask, and it sneers:
You know!
Trying to live
beyond the skin
is impossible.
A chilly house means glorious nipples,
I pinch them until they fizzle,
for distraction.
As a boy, I believed that to be in a relationship
or to fuck or be fucked by someone
you needed to be truly special.
How wholesome and pathetic.
I thought I saw a ghost in the public toilets
in the shopping centre the other day
but when I checked the cubicles
all I found was a skinny boy with curly hair
and hope in his big brown eyes
as a much older man at the sink
washed his hands
very slowly
despite the steaming hot water
turning his skin bright red.
Meanwhile, our kitchen sink is blocked
with cat food, teabags and cigarette butts
and instead of scooping it out
I run the taps on full power,
splashing the front of my shirt,
and use my finger
to smoosh the horrid mess
down the drain.
This is important, it happens forever: the smooshing.
When your marriage fell apart
you travelled the country with a sadness so pure
it swept through you like storm-scented rain.
The world was glitter on your arms.
The dead wore fancy hats.
Everybody’s house
was falling down
so it didn’t matter.
Sometimes we don’t laugh properly for days,
this hurts
more than I thought it would.
What have you sacrificed?
I believe you know
you made the right decision
when you feel peace.
Or is there something more sinister
at work? Tell me, is grandad still shrieking
at empty spaces on the other side?
Is he kind to nanny?
Does their part of Heaven
smell like soap and fresh carnations?
Maybe that’s ketchup on your hands
so you can stop worrying.
Unfortunately, doctors have the best shit, and they never
fully explain the cost.
It’s important to deny yourself
your favourite things
and mirrors are pure evil
I don’t care what your therapist says.
I’m chasing the perfect autumn.

2 thoughts on “The Saints are Full of Holes, by Bobby Parker

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