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Douglas Basford



A London opening: the slanted door

of Tube cars scalps me almost every time,

a causus belly, gut sends your hand to my poor

noggin top like you’re remembering the time

in the farmhouse attic when, marveling

and unnerved by the torso-sized hornets’ nest,

we worried a phalanx was inside, still on the wing…

and wheeling in the dark you heard a rafter burst


the skin on my crown, no blood but brain juice

I joked, clear fluid oozing out for two days,

the wound so deep if I so much as winced

I’d unstanch the flow. Not country stock, I’ve a ways

before I can fall from a roof unharmed, unconvinced

that travel humanizes, our escapes’ excuse.







I know places where Pascal is an insult;

where everybody knows your name, where

lounging in the cushiest lazy-boy arm chair

is a sign others respect you; where there’s a cult

of rank refusal to get up for the salt

and pepper; where the weakest return

to take a stand, or for fear of getting burned

put themselves out, stand against the wall.

I would stand for unmentionable hours

if I could evade things so easily.

I read trends too fast, and too slowly.

Two infinites, mean. A medium cowers,

unlike me, because I brake at full-throttle,

cause vain bodies to jerk forward, catapult.


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