Issue 3: Bill Manhire
Inside the chalk, a hundred numbers,
marks which want to be words.
The teacher writing speech.
Inside the chalk . . . also a river.
Inside the river . . . the hurry of sky!
And now it is lunchtime, and we are hungry.
Bubble and squeak, says the chalk.
Bubble and squeak.
My girl, she looks like the government,
white and the high far towers.
She eats everything in sight and looks for more.
Always she ignores me.
Yes, that’s the government.
My girl she looks like Alaska
a long way off where the oil is
and the white bears are dying.
They swim and they swim to an ice that won’t be there.
She goes to and fro in her kayak.
I can hear her crying:
we will all live in the water now.
She stitches the land to a spell.
Change the world, she says.
Do it later now.
Talking to the Moon
But the moon has drifted out to sea.
It doesn’t know what will make me happy.
Winter lasts and lasts
and there are bits of sun.
Someone made up the universe,
And yet we believe
in this crap
and that crap
the gods are tired,
wives and children,
and the missing light,
and yes, they say, we turn
and turn, and look at last
we’re out of work.