Pay All Your Money to David Bircumshaw
The Word Bank, Athens.
It’s like being homeless and blaming the weather.
Living in a simile. On a colonnaded bank’s sweep
It was Sunday and in GD’s professional absence
I was wearing Matthew Arnold’s face, raging
against the hard, the philistine times, when my
mirror refused to open, citing my poor credit
plus the results of its latest scan. Bad feet, wrong
eyes. My sideboards began to itch, like furniture.
It had been a hard weekend caught in this skin:
poets had climbed all over me, working like nets,
on somebody else’s invited steps, the Reading.
(Tears, head-storms, telephone calls, applause:
the usual coded diary of detritus, lived events.)
I knew a word that worked with bard so then
my false beard grew grey and Berryman; GD
was sounding suicidal and on the Parthenon
the bloody hopes of art blurred with the step
shot in Odessa. The Black Sea was gargling
like water in a lift as in a last impersonation
I fell to sketched translations, like a box orator
shouting out of Mandelstam at enmities of air.
The old banks dressed like temples, and marble
fonts; nd drppd lttrs clmns n homeless heads