POETRY: Albert Marshall

Mr Messina’s Classroom
Copyright Gilbert Calleja
'Il-klassi tas-Sur Messina' translated from Maltese by Erin Stewart Tanti and Marija Debono

fuck pc
and fuck decimated politics
and the bloody myth that
we must celebrate the differences that fester the gums polluting the prey
of diversity

now they’re robbing me also of the last cherished relic of my childhood
holy crucifix
nailed dead centre on the wall in class
behind his desk
mr messina’s
he of his ruler dangling
straight and pale and punishing
out of his gaping flies
the last Christ
he of the five wounds and one,
trembling to tell me the truth
but words fail him

when you hear the rustle of the autumn of your life
when your hands start turning bloodless-cold so quickly
and at the merest hint of evening damp you hear your breath
turning into the wheezing sounds of a winter crouching in pulcinella’s lap
you damn well don’t want to hear pc crap like this

The Merchant of Atlantis
'Il-Bejjiegħ minn Atlantis' translated from Maltese by Erin Stewart Tanti and Marija Debono

it’s windy

and twilight’s creeping in

the wind wails and whirls in a corner
on the terrace
and twirls the dried bougainvillea minarets around
in perfect circles

I was loitering looking at the wind
trying to comprehend its capricious rhythms
when I heard someone knocking on the door

I thought it was a window slamming
and I paid no attention
or rather I wouldn’t stir myself
away from the wailing wind
and the weight of thought

he was a merchant
from atlantis he said he was
he wanted to sell me the first garden in the world
and he pointed his finger to heaven
‘I swear God is my witness’ he said

he wanted to sell me the children inside the garden too
and he winked at me
I was about to tell him to piss off
‘do you know who I am’ he said
fuck off mate and let me be
because the wind’s awaiting for me

and again he winked at me
‘take the full package and trust me
because the great flood’s tumbling in again
a hefty sea is brewing
and the water will be our nutrition’
and once again he pointed to heaven
and winked at me once more

I slammed the door in his face
I felt him still there in the dark
his eyes like a driller woodworming through the wood
I heard myself breathing
and the wailing wind through the door frame

on the terrace
in the corner
like a house mouse with no escape
with the dry bougainvillea minarets
the wind’s whirl
a haphazard circle

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