Poems for sex and death… and the drunk man I once saw

Four poems, two themes, one comedy

Poetry, above all, is a series of intense moments – its power is not in narrative. I’m not dealing with facts, I’m dealing with emotion.

Carol Ann Duffy

Another Night

my feet on the desk
thigh shivers under silk
I like to think that
will happen
never does

the back of the chair oddly
reassuring against my curled back
a dozen ice splinters in my feet
shaking stops with a few twitches
I like to think that
I only need to sleep

and sleeping now sleeping
still I can’t quite
what my old house says at night
I like to think that
you lie awake too –
– too far away for feeling


There are only frightened people,
brief, wisps of things,
at funerals
concealed beneath
dark clothes omens of
death in their own right

everyone knows
why a group will dress in black
and huddle: not only birds flock to
oppose their own bitter deaths

later they will chat
(when the body is gone)
about the weight they should lose
and the lumps they have
or the tickle in their throats

some have had it for weeks

promises are made,
appointments are not kept
and later, not before supper,
they all meet again
and do the same thing

Trail mix boy

when we stumbled, lurched,
on a rock trail over the clouds
on clumsy hands and knees,
I saw the tops and barely the
hundred foot drop. From there
we could finally see the stars
watch us, watch them on
a night we should have spent
sleeping and packing for more
conventional adventures

you didn’t have to smile when I said
‘we ought to hold hands’,
thank you for gale force winds
and for our frozen grins with
little but determination left

you squeezed my palm anyway
and cackled with me at over
two and a half thousand feet
of stone and slate beneath
our giddy, fumbling steps


She slips across your back and
around your leg, coiling
and twisting, teasing and
tugging. Hairs rise on your freezing arms
while her hands caress every inch
of your body.


Why did you agree to this,
to run around the streets shirtless?
It’s bloody Baltic and you’re drunk
drunk enough as it is
but, oh God,
oh God, it must be the alcohol

the alcohol but that wind feels like her
and when it strokes down your back,
it purrs and divulges
a familiar sensation that
the wind really shouldn’t give you.

And there you have my first four poems for Ink smudges in the rain.

Sex and death are very human and common themes; virtually so universal that when one of my professors at university said: “all literature is about sex and death”, the sentiment instantly resonated with me and often became my focus for many of my critical essays.

They’re both things that I love writing about and, honestly, feel like we could do with laughing about more.

Comedy is an extraordinary tool, taking the power from one to make it less frightening and, well, sex can be a little silly when you think about it. Just think, it’s the most fun you can have without laughing…

Let’s end there on that note, and let me know what you think of the poems in the comments!

Next post: short fiction.

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