This sequence was originally published in Threads, the Bath Spa University MA in Creative Writing anthology 2018

 

The favour

was left unrequited
and just hung there
in the ether,
like a discarded mistress,
feeling foolish
for getting involved
in the first place.

 

The soul-searching

around here was relentless.
Some of those souls
had been hounded for years.
Although, technically, they didn’t exist
of course, which, on the flipside,
provided them with considerable freedom.

 

The gong

was over-dramatic.
Everyone agreed.
‘What’s wrong with a good old-fashioned butler bell!’
Horatio turned and said to Mummy.

And there we have it.
Who could have known
this would be baby’s first words.

 

The river

couldn’t sing for shit.
It just wasn’t in its nature.”
At the hotel, the bellboy
kept telling me this … this …
I don’t know what you’d call it.

 

The barrister

wept on the biscuits
in the school staff room.
No one knew who he was
or how he’d gotten in.
If only the school was in America,
the teachers thought to themselves,
then everyone could have talked
openly about the situation.
But, as it was England,
everyone just shuffled around,
unable to make eye contact,
until someone eventually popped out
to get more biscuits.

 

The scaremonger

wept at 22:37, then again
at 02:23, at which point
he put on his ‘not available
in the shops’ soft rock compilation
from the 1980s and sucked his thumb
until Sleep finally got off its behind
and begrudgingly came to find him.

 

I bit down

on the orchestra,
which seemed a clever thing
to do at the time, but I didn’t expect
the string instruments
to get caught between my teeth,
or the woodwind and brassto lacerate
my gums. The players’ clothes
and toupees got lodged in my throat
and it felt like, what I can only imagine,
a hairball must be like for a cat.

 

A rambling man

walked southerly until
he found himself in hell.
He felt this was most unjust,
given his blemish-free soul,
and was both surprised and disappointed
that his access had been authorised.

 

A misanthrope

was sacrificed at a crossroads in Staines.
Gay laughter issued from his mouth,
as the executioner practised his profession
with the utmost precision.
A harpsichord accompanied the show
and a letting agent sang a melancholy ditty,
which was later recognised as his swansong.

 

A lighthouse

yearned for some company.
Its insides were fairly social;
lots going on, accommodating parties
on excursions and so forth.
But meeting other structures
with similar hopes and aspirations
was proving to be difficult.

 

Bric-a-brac and nonchalance,

nunchucks and weather,
arguing in doubles
over who should be
in the main feature.

 

It looked as though

the sunw as having to heaveitself –
I mean, really yanking and dragging itself –
up into the picture
like some kind of reluctant film star
who was so tired – so very tired of it all.