this year's fool

conor mcbride


dawn beams through
the window dressed in white
dancing with the dust whispering
whispering light

you and i lie naked
waking still touching
holding folding one another
in the safety of our place
in the place of our safety
in love

and we neither want
to move
nor speak
but only feel
and sleep

none of the above
is true nor anything
below i wrote this down
the lab after taking too much
tea and yet i really wouldn't
have it differently

you see i
can't forget
the way you laughed
at how i coughed
on my first post-
coital cigarette

garden of eden

if it hadn't been adam
in the garden of eden
if it had been me
then where would you be?

eve and i would have got along fine
drinking cups of tea
staying up late
and talking about
philosophy and poetry
geometry and cookery
(round about three
i'd have gone for a pee)
psychology and symmetry
anatomy and probably
quite a lot about sex
but though we'd
ponder gravity
wouldn't drop those
apples from that

i'd say
why did god
give me this?
i guess he was
taking the piss
and eve would laugh
and tell me
i was quite a wit

the snake would say
why can't you see
he's there for the taking
not just for the talking?
and probably add
that an orgasm's not
just a comical method
for cooking a carrot

but eve would tell him
to wise the bap
and softly explain
that she only loved me
because i was funny
and i only was funny
because i was sad
and if she would love me
then i would be happy
but if i was happy
i wouldn't be funny
and if i wasn't funny
then she wouldn't love me
and anyway i wasn't
the kind of guy she liked
to imagine

and so you see
you wouldn't be
anywhere at all
if it had been
left up to me
to arrange
the fall

a short weekend

how could you throw
two years
away in a short weekend?

that's what i'll say

did it mean so
we could
at least
have talked
if you'd only
told me

why can't you be

why couldn't you
let me fix it
it was?

with any luck
you won't know where
to begin

you've already begun

i make great pains
of telling you
how much i need you
because i want you
to see the chains
i'm holding on
to the remains
you're leaving me
deceiving me

it's dead
and i accept
the kind of thing
you need to say
is better kept
it rarely
helps to tell
like a pair
of corpses
pointing out
the smell

fait accompli

it's much
the better way
see you betray me
watch me crumble
in dismay
watch me overacting
your play

it wasn't a mistake
it used to be
a feeling
now the reeling
in your ears
is the squealing
of the brake

for god's sake
find a friend
and throw away
two years
in a short weekend


i wouldn't mind
your ass
so much if
covered it in


i only wanted to be

waking up
on my own

waking up
my own

waking up

i only wanted to be

but you wouldn't
believe me
until i found
someone else

nursery song

when you are
old and ugly
and you
still complain
i will
murder you softly
in your bed

when you are
fat and hairy
and have
found no grace
i will
stifle your pillow
in your face

when all your
creatures perish
and your
fools have gone
i will
shovel you calmly
from your grave

strange girlfriend

she's just playing
impossible to get
i said

she likes the way
i don't try
too hard

giving up

giving up milk
that was easy
giving up meat
just the same
it took all my willpower
to keep me from calling
your name

moving my mouth
to a pucker
dreaming of kissing
your lips
and all that was giving
me comfort were my
filter tips

giving things up
can be tricky
it's easier just
to keep on
giving up smoking
i managed the moment
you'd gone


how could you?

after all this time

how could you
be unfaithful?

it was immaculate

how could you
be unfaithful
to him?

you should have
said something

how could you
be unfaithful
to him
with anyone other
than me?

a different brush

by caroline miller

mightier the pen
but the sword hurts more
so you say

i'll take a little bleeding
on the bathroom floor
any day

why do we
tar you
with the same brush
as all those other guys?
not like them
are you?
we'd see it
if we took the time
to look into your eyes

you are the man
who isn't male
your arms are weak
your face is pale
you cry
you couldn't hurt
a fly
you're everything
a pair of girls
could hope for in
a guy

the way that you
yourself before me
makes me sick
at last i
why lots of ladies
like a man
who has a dick


by tantalus


i am
it's a funny kind of
the branches bud
and blossom
the fruit
from green
to gold
like love
trickling down the

i reach to
they teach i


envy and pride
two things
for whatever
reasons of their own
the gods
cannot abide

their gracious host
i took them
to my board
i served them
of my fruit
which met
with turned up
they chose
to chew the
of their own
and put me
in this
i will not
beg their


but now i
the winter
turns to
the wasps
that suck
no longer
i watch
the windfalls
and grow

they knew
the gods
are not
without their
they let me
but do
not make me

this water from
my fountain
serves me
there's ground
to stand on
i am
it's a funny kind of


i never
wanted to
oppress you
undress you

happy easter / congratulations on passing your driving test / with deepest sympathy / wanna shag? / better luck next time / get well soon / write to me you bastard / best of luck with your exams / happy anniversary / you will be given two days to find alternative accommodation / surprise! / you finally dumped that jerk / wish you were here / thank god the old bugger's kicked it / happy birthday / you're my hero / i'm sending you a postal order to buy some deodorant / there's plenty more fish in the sea / jesus has some good news for you / you're sweet but can't we just be friends? / send us fifty thousand dollars or we kill the little girl / merry christmas / i'm so sorry i ran over your cat / right numbers wrong week bollocks / i fancy you something rotten*

*delete as appropriate


universal sentiment


i'm sorry
for all the times
i sounded
i meant it


© 1978 Nasal Greetings Cards Inc., Burbank, Calif.

two cliches

i love you more
than words can say

be thankful for
small mercies