:: Article


A poem for #GE2015fiction, by Matthew Sperling.

 The House Opposite 1945 1ac(art: The House Opposite, by Leonora Carrington, currently at Tate Liverpool)

Here there should be a section in dumbshow:
enter Gentleman 1, greeted with action of wonderment
by 2, 3 and 4, who toast his late success

but in the midst of their smiles, a ghost appears,
its skin a coarse hide of pork crackling,
startles them, shows them its severed finger

and passes over in solemnity. The scene
plays out at double speed against
a stage set of long trestle tables

piled with wax fruits and dead horseflies
which the gentlemen take into their mouths, laughing,
to suck on, before spitting into napkins. Exeunt.

A distraught bride enters in great state, followed
by a clown, a knight, another ghost, an umpire
and several flayed animals. All exchange tokens.

A ditty is sung to very solemn music.


Matthew Sperling writes poetry, fiction and criticism; recent works include ‘Tradeskin’and ‘Gear’ in The Junket‘Removals’ in The Short Anthology and ‘Voice Over’ in The Literateur, which will be anthologised in Best British Short Stories 2015, edited by Nicholas Royle.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, May 8th, 2015.