Other Poems by:

George Anderson

Too Good

I'm not too good
at networking-
kissing the asses
of administrators or
of established poets
& having to swallow
their subsidised verse
or self seeking banter

I'm not too keen to
read my work in public
to pimply faced nobs
or drunken yobs in
uni pubs or clubs

I'm not too fussed about
workshopping my stuff
in small groups
agonising over the effectiveness
of specific metaphors,
the number of syllables
advocating this school or that-

squeezing out every last
pimple of significance from it

I like the idea
that editors hate my work-
that it's too weird
that it's off the planet
that it's too populist,
too full of profanity

I like the idea
that my work is considered
by the Literature Board as being
without any literary merit,
that it is not being read
by academics or anthologised
by the multinational book publishers

I like the idea
I'm not being paid
for this poem
because if you bought it
& you didn't like it

I wouldn't have to tell you
to GO FUCK YOURSELF!

Maggie

1
We unwrap her from the body bag
and place her carefully in the hole
her
blonde shaggy head presses tightly against
the rim. We say a few kindly words and shovel
in mounds of red clay. Later, heave a crumbling, wired
slab of  white concrete on top of
her.

2
A half an hour earlier at the vet the needle
works within seconds. I hold her head
in my arms as she yelps: 'ai! ai! ai! ai! ai!'
Her body slumps and her fat blue tongue pokes
out.

3
The soil is hard &
quickly blisters our hands. We
use a long blue steel pole to pierce
and lever the ground. It breaks up in big
chunks.

4
We wait outside the vet
Maggie on the lead
her   blind head sniffing,
alert. A cattle dog approaches
in the distance. Her    legs
straining/ inquisitive.

Zoloft, Thrombolysis, Dostoyevsky & Me

1
I don't really know what
possessed me to write this piece
perhaps it was my liking for the title
my preference for substance over form
my preference for pretension over clarity
besides I'm far too ideologically menopausal to
write one of those obscure paraplastic poems
favoured by those post-structural wankers
which can only be comprehended by the select few
usually university professors or their drugged out friends
writing yet thesis on the death of the poet

enough bullshit-
enough references to the flaccid state of poetry
as it exists today in the Western world

let me begin

2
I don't propose to provide you here with my life story
but I grew up in Montreal below the tracks in NDG
while in high school I helped form a literary group
of like-minded stoical young guys called the 'Slavophiles'-
in tribute to the great works of Dostoyevsky.

3
Zoloft was the name of my mongrel dog. He used to
leap over a six foot wooden fence and often follow me to
the steel grilled bottle shop in Doonside


4
Thrombolysis is the unclotting of a vein. I will need 1 one day.

5
I don't know whether you have noticed
but I like taking shortcuts-
to condense years of hard yakka
into a few trivial or coarse lines-
but that's characteristic of my style

6
The Slavophiles had many punch ups
with a rival literary gang in the next street
who drooled over the work of Joseph Conrad.
Their leader Nostromo was a nasty formalist
who deserved every beating he got.
I said to him on one occasion
my heavy boot twisting into his spine,
'Hey, how can you pricks admire a circumlocuous cunt like Conrad?
The only useful thing he ever wrote
can be written on a single sheet of cigarette paper:
'We are born. We suffer. We die'.

7
Earlier he had libelled Dostovesky by suggesting that
he was a religious imposter
without any political nuance
much like Kerouac
in the 60s during his alcoholic demise.
I mention with my fist at his head
that Raskolnikov killed the old landlady
but Kerouac would never strangle his mother
he'd rather have a bath with her.

8
Now that all the loose ends of this piece/ this poem-
whatever you want to call it
have been tidied up/
resolved
I suppose it is time to end it, dear reader-

Oh, I forgot to mention-

Zoloft jumped the fence one day
& never returned

Yeah, Thrombolysis is an increasing possibility
as I type these words now.
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