:: Article

Three Poems: Salt, The Artist and Reality, Judge and Jury


Girl walks into my room.
Write me a poem, she says.
I look her up and down.
She’s pretty hot:
5’7, about a size 10 waist
and neat little breasts.
Okay, I say and begin to write about
how this hot girl, 5’7
with neat little breasts walked into my room
and demanded a poem
on the spot-
That’s not a poem,
she says, That’s just you
writing out what’s happened.
I sit back and shrug.
Sorry, I say,
but that’s what poetry is:
the articulation of life
as it’s lived;
the salt stain
of the
diminishing rock pool;
the dry tail
of a lonely tear.
I would like
very much
to see you naked,
5’7 girl
with neat little
breasts, and video you
as you dance.

The Artist and Reality

He’d asked me round
to look at his
They’re good,
I said and sipped
my drink.
Yeah, he replied.
His woman came over
and they went to
the next room
to have sex.
I went to the fridge,
got myself another drink,
moved back to the room
where the pictures hung
and sat down.
I suppose,
they were good
but as an artist
his range
was severely limited.
He seemed
of photographing
anything other
than the homeless
while they slept.
Before vanishing
with his woman
he’d told me about the
reality of the modern world,
of his frustration
at the apathy
of the common man
and the need
to confront him
with this reality.
And here I was: a common man
drinking over-priced wine
in a clean, well-lit room
full of photos of starving men
and women
with their dogs,
with their begging bowls
stripped completely
of their humanity
and dignity
by a man without the manners
or the guts
to look his art in the eye.
I hung around
for a while
and listened
to the noises
from the other room.
I’d noticed he’d left
his camera
in the kitchen so I picked it up
and crept into his bedroom
where he and his girl lay asleep.
The air was hot with the smell
lazy, over-fed people
make when having sex.
I went in close
and took what I thought
were a few good shots: spit dribbling
from his mouth,
the spots
on her arse,
their fat little bellies,
used tissues and the small pile
of limp underwear
beside them.
Then I lifted his wallet
from the back pocket of his trousers
and left.
Outside, the streets had frozen already.
I nearly
skidded on my arse.
Halfway home I stopped by
a man bundled up on the steps
to the cinema. I woke
him and gave him the wallet
but as I began to explain
my reasons for having it he became
bored, waved me away like a fly
and quickly
fell back to sleep.

Judge and Jury

I was sitting with this posh kid
in a park
when he told me
he stuck his finger up his girlfriend’s arsehole
when she was really drunk
because when she was sober
and conscious
she wouldn’t let him do it.
He laughed and he tossed
his floppy hair out of his eyes
and I had a sudden vision
of him in a highly-paid managerial position
poking his finger
up hundreds of peoples’ arseholes
and laughing over expensive drinks
all the way through his lucky life.
But the ancient trees above us
swooped down low
and tore him to ribbons
in a matter of seconds.
I lay back into the grass
and watched him drift
away on the evening breeze
like a wind-full of butterflies.
And I know
that in the real world justice
is rarely so brutally effective,
but in a poem
it can be that short
and this sweet.

Guy Bower works on a market stall in Suffolk. He sells cheese to people and has never had any of his work published.


First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, February 9th, 2007.