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January 2013, vol 8, no 4

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Ken Jones


I turn up the flame
from the snaking wick
coiled in my flammable heart

Although he is my lifelong friend I’m in two minds about him. Sometimes I don’t recognise him at all, with his ugly old face. Or I don’t like the way he can behave.

Perched on the wing mirror
robin preens himself
and shits

Then I play at being top dog and growl at him. But when he’s being helpful and kind, now there’s a man after my own heart. And isn’t it strange how other people seem to like him more than I do? The best of times is when he lets his shoulders drop and we’re drawn in together and lost, in a landscape, another person, a poem or whatever. Beyond all that neediness and choosiness, like this oak which shelters us from the autumn rains.

Branching without a thought
this way and that
for two hundred years

The trouble is that every morning there’s the two of us, grimacing in the shaving mirror. Tomorrow I’ll offer a smile.

my smoky flame
muttering to itself