The poem is about Fra AngelicoŐs fresco

The Mocking of Christ in San Marco,

the unbelievable green that you will

see nowhere else on this earth, I promise you.


No.  The poem is not about that.  Not today.

ItŐs about the daybed in Bologna

where Morandi lay plank-like

and the lemon light he made concrete

but philosophical.


Yes, thatŐs where the poem is going

that rinsed dishwater light, heavenly

—no, scratch that.



The poem wants to tell you about Philip and Musa

Guston in their bed,  foreheads locked

like magnets, how heŐs charging overnight on her

battery, her poetry warmly whirring.

A wristwatch.


Yes, thereŐs a wristwatch, right      here.


ThatŐs definite.  OK, let us proceed.


We were in bed, oh yes the postcard you

sent from Amsterdam of Saskia in her reverie

hand flopped on top of her head in an unselfconscious gesture

of love and tenderness the kind you hope you have

on your deathbed towards yourself

—no, the poem isnŐt inclined toward that, well,

in general terms it is, but as for this particular

poem, no.  WeŐre not heading there.


For some reason, grandadŐs police badge is asserting itself.

It wants to come in right


Fair enough, there it is.


I hear a clatter of locks.

I hear grandadŐs police badge falling to the floor.

Undefended at last

effortless how you picked me.


I didnŐt know that when I started.


I just knew how much I really love the green in that fresco

I mentioned at the beginning.


And that I loved the words peplum, schwa and

boondocks and that IŐd like to have gotten them in somehow.


And strathspey.


That too.




in The Irish Review, Winter 2008 (ed. Colin Graham)