So, there’s a park in Wigan called Mesnes – I used to go there in the summer with a few friends of mine and we’d sit around and listen to music and waste our saturdays in the sun; I hated it, but we had a few good times. This was before I could legally drink, of course – nowadays we’d just find the nearest bar and never, ever, dream o socialising with each other whilst sober. Maturity, right?
My feet twist and buckle beneath my weight.
They carry me along uneven asphalt,
and my ankles swing as though possessed by themselves.
At every step, the wind picks up,
and punitively cries for me to halt.
I am frightened of the creatures,
who follow this same path –
not the dogs, or the birds or the lean-eyed cats
but those less clandestine in their features.
These apes, with arms too short to drag,
themselves about upon their knuckles –
chained to the earth by evolution
and emitting that revolting smell,
which makes me gag.
Three lean against white alabaster,
a soldier, commemorating the Boer
and the lions who died there,
beneath the commands of the bovine,
bleating ‘faster, faster; faster!’
I see their neckties flutter
about their collars in the breeze,
black and red and white striped honours –
and I hear their misappropriation of laughter,
cruel, dull, dumb and muttered.
And their laughter increases in volume when I pass,
and I try not to blink more, or less, than normal –
the wind bites at my eyes and brings them tears,
and caresses my fingertips for comfort against its fears;
I would replace the wind with poisonous gas,
if I could; I would make those children breathe it in,
even if my lungs had to fill.
And we would choke together – beneath white alabaster,
and share in some great and unknowable lark;
Three Corpses and Me, in Mesnes Park.