Two Poems by Roddy Williams

Clean Love

I must take my love to the cleaners next week
It’s been stained by accretion of food and TV
There’s some globules of silence dried on the lapel
and I can’t have my family hearing of that

I don’t do it often but three days without it’s
like going on holiday with a false name
pretending I’m Irish and work on the docks
where I count crates of fish as they come off the ship

By the time I return my love will be ready
It just needed cleaning
It’s not worn or frayed
I will carry it proudly back home to our door and
be wearing its shininess as I walk in

The vexer

I can cook Duck in Black Bean Sauce
Fish Fragrant Aubergine and rice
Penang Gai
sausage sandwiches
I can paint you in warm colours
I can tell the truth about your face
curving through space to this moment
in the same way Mary Shelley’s
monster twisted over decades
to spawn Daleks
Sorns and Triffids
I can explain why galaxies
are how they are and so so far
their light takes aeons to arrive
I’ll explain aeons as well
I can tell you why there’s no god
and how to cook basmati rice
but it’s not going to happen
because the words can’t get inside
I’d have to paint you with no ears
no eyes
just that muscular tongue
lashing the world with small loud words
like rain that thinks the window’s closed


Originally from North Wales, Roddy Williams now lives in London. His poetry has appeared in ‘The North’, ‘The Frogmore Papers’, ‘Magma’, ‘The Rialto’, ‘Envoi’, ‘Stand’ and other magazines and anthologies. He is also a keen surrealist photographer, printmaker and painter.

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