Monday, 10 May 2004

From "It's the Spork Valley All-Stars"

By Chris Goode.

For fifteen years I cut the clothes
off young offenders who wouldn't consent to be
strip-searched. Daily I checked their rectums for
contraband, swabbed their intimate mouthparts
for traces of DNA. All this
without one syllable of thanks, despite
these interventions being strictly speaking
without my remit as a dance instructor.
On a Tuesday morning when the crows were high,
and the milk was fresh from the cow, and all
was serene and buxom and bountiful,
I died of the Traveling Wilburys.

Clouds the colour of buttermilk. Watercress
grass and indistinct bluebirds and no
sweat and a load of stuff that I think was
Muji, maybe. But something was calling me
back. A voice, a thread. A hunch. Not
yet, it said. Not yet.

So I wasn’t dead. But the next day, just my
luck, I died again, of a sudden clap.
And the day after that it was yellow adrenal
vanity. Then it was princess lesions.
Penitent bargepole. Humpty the Huggable
Cod. I died of everything I thought of.
I wonder if I’ll die of the planks. Oh I have. Oh,
something’s calling me back. I died
of widdershins limb. I died of the creeping
vague. I died of the lark in the clear
air. I died of kerching. I died of the plopsy.

I died and I died, I died and died
and I died and I died and died.
And my dog died. And I died and I died
and I died and I died, and my wife was poorly.
Dying at last, I died, and the following
morning, parting the curtains and smelling
the Bovril, I found my life and my appetites
quite restored, and went for a brisk
emphatic stroll, and died twice. And I died
and died, and I grieved for my dog, who I think
I’ve already mentioned had died, and I too
died, and my wife was vomiting, vomiting.
I, poor sap, could barely keep up
with my deaths, it was so repetitious, I died
and I died, God’s knob, I was bored. I hiccupped
and died. And my wife ascended to doggy
heaven, all covered in sick and marrow,
though she was not quite dead, but by this time
we were all way past caring.

The Communication Workers’ strike was entering
its fifteenth day, and the oceans boiled in their cups.

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