Wednesday, June 1, 2022






A Knock At The Door


Asleep under the Hyades,

sand in my eyes, a traveler

in a place where all roads end.

Still kicking the can of days,

rowing against the back currents,

married to desuetude,

dissolution's bitch.

Exercising a sawdust mind

in league with traitorous flesh

and the half-hours' treacheries.

Housebound, waiting for a bell to ring,

for a knock at the door,

a black-clad travelling salesman,

his irresistible patter

and lilting charm, his smalltalk,

his line of craven trinketry

neither summoned nor required.

That it hurts to think about.

Enticing baubles, smooth to the touch.

The one that you desire most

particularly black and icy.


From The Bedside Compendium


 “Every word is a stain on silence.”

                                             Samuel Beckett


Fat-witted and foulmouthed Shakespeare said

o cross, o spite, o hell. He first said heartsore

and bedazzle. How like an angel, how like a god,

the Bard first jotted puke and inked cold-hearted.

No one till then had coined inaudible, dewdrop,

love letter,

                  the most of us rubbing our chins,

reaching for a pencil nub, scratching our heads,

muddying the waters that we might appear to be

divine, giving it all a bit of our best bluster and

Shakespeare penning bloodstain, eyeball, ladybird.

Take physic, pomp, Mr. Shakespeare first spelling

footfall, a playwright's journey one of many steps.

Screw your courage to the sticking place, were his

centuries-old instructions.

                                          As flies to wanton boys

are we to the gods, he wrote of us. Who exeunt swiftly

from the great comings and goings of our lives.

Who are pursued by bears and inchlings.


A Twist Of Inches


What a beautiful hurt to tender.

A nightmare in garlands and scents,

of nerve-bashing hits and kisses,

King Ache a royal pain in spangled vestments,

ouch a holy order, a corduroy road,

nature's unkindest suggestion.


Pain, death's diplomat. The messenger

avenged with righteous glee.

A worm with teeth. Its driven hunger.

The medicinal cosh. A twist of inches.

And all of an instance too, spoon-in-the-eye,

or toy underfoot, or high-strung molar.


Hurt is a Victorian gothic novel,

a backstory of ows and winces,

muscle-memory taking a kicking.

Pray for a brief exemption,

but then the pain says pinch,

a spanked child unforgiving of forced humility,

of the treachery of hands and stinging recesses.

A slap's trajectory. Our tiny tragedies.




BRUCE MCRAE, a Canadian musician, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with poems published in hundreds of magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press); ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy; (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If” (Pski’s Porch), Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).

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