Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bathtime at the Apocalypse

I published this poem years ago, and probably no one reads their old copies of Ambit issue 169 any more. So I thought I'd give it another airing.

Bathtime at the Apocalypse

Grey scum skirts
the rim like the remains
of a burnt-out halo.
An old man summons
the world’s demise,
prays for hail to stone
the steamy windows
and break the tension.
He’s quit roll-ups
for the day, clutches
the empty ashtray
to his ear, like a child
with a beached shell,
eager for sounds
of trapped life;

A dog-bark answering its own
echo from the centre of the shopping
mall car park, a letterbox
chopping gas bills like a guillotine,
a last kiss blown under the counter
at the supermarket checkout.

He scans the ceiling
for cracks, openings,
but it’s all whitewash.
Could be nothing beyond.
The fear that angels
and demons congregate
in corners, kick up dust,
yet remain invisible
to the naked eye, wait
for the last sud to pop.
He’s hedged his bets;
the Lord’s Prayer
by heart, the Devil’s
music in his soul,
post-modern fever
on the brain. Soon
he’ll plug a cigarette
between his lips,
tap a demon for a light,
a last request,
to leave like an angel,
in a puff of smoke.


Paula said...

It's a very good one, Rob. Glad you put it up.

Happy New Year.

Rob Mackenzie said...

Thanks Paula.
Happy New Year to you too.