Poetry by Anthony Caleshu




and because I am thirsty I need to drink before I can continue blowing your mind. The knowledge you once had about your own imagination required an alarm system with a direct line to the police. The peach you’re eating is so sweet, no wonder it’s occupied by bees, you tell yourself. We step in unison ever further off the beaten path to the foot of a wider tree. Do not overestimate your personal allowance for happiness nor underestimate your personal allowance to be forgiven by the spirit passing through the leaves. When you were passed over for promotion to chief elocution officer of our soldier caste, you joined a new militia, only to find them threatening electrocution for the absence of Ts and Cs. Who wouldn’t fall into a dramatic funk? We aim to rise above our bodies and the contortions we put them through when we made-out in the broom closet at the end-of-the-year seasonal party. A radical shift is required to understand what it means to gain exposure to a new demographic of playfulness and power. You’d think occupying your own mind would be easy, but it’s nothing to write home about. There’s nothing in your mind about home – to write about nothing – this home – mind about.




and because I am not worthy of the least of all mercies, I can sense someone taking me by the shoulder, kissing my head, playfully batting my eye. The midnight sun appears when the clouds disperse to the hoots of owls and my memory of charging a bikini wax to the company before opening night. An Italian ice was later bought for me by the nicest guy, who taught me there’s no reason not to spend it like you’re gonna lose it, anyway. Because, anyway… All good things are eventually punctuated in this city by scaffolding going up or coming down: clanging poles, heavy joints dropped to shatter the transparency of windshields. The stained-glass windows of this worshipful house across the street bleeds blue light at our feet. The last thing you should ever do, I was told before being torn asunder, is interrupt the reverie – unless you’re the reverie.




There’s a dynamic exchange happening between us. We could surf pure existence on the back of our Likes, or just skip it for a pop-up party on Facebook at a house that looks just like yours in the suburbs. All my life, I’d been hoping for a religious experience starring you as the silhouette next door, but now we’re both unframed and window-less and running sans underwear across the front lawn. There’s a spark inside that sets alight the topiary that’s been clipped in the shape of our genitalia. To the police we explain life and death is happening all around us, incoming but similarly external, which is why we burn when we pee on the peeing garden statue. My beer is my beer, one gate-crasher says to another, which leads to another gate-crasher crashing through the front gate. We’re just trying to satisfy the regulative ideal that comes when the fire in our soul rages beyond the water games spouted from the nipples of nymphs. This loftiness of being is beyond beyond. Verily, verily, someone shouts out an upstairs window. In your parents’ bedroom, a pair of legs are opening like language.



trust me to send this lukewarm chowder back to the kitchen. This think-tank we’re in believes the world nigh – and yet we’ve just released data concerning the beginning of time. Allow me this moment to be dubious: Is this a date? Are you trying to kill me? Are you trying to kiss me? The pillow you carry in your handbag is packed with lipstick and punches. And now that you’re punching me, really punching me, our place in the world is finally coming into focus. Our grappling under the table leads me to invite you back to my apartment – pigments interspersed at the tops of trees, the roofs of our heads camouflaged in the clouds. Though the valet points our way home, the threat of a cop with a breathalyser means we should take a cab. But we were only having mint tea. And I am only a cousin of the Maharaja. And you are only a cousin of the Maharani.

anthonyAnthony Caleshu’s 4th book of poems,  A Dynamic Exchange between Us, will be published by Shearsman in Spring 2019. He is Professor of Poetry at University of Plymouth where he is head of MA Creative Writing and founding editor of Periplum, a small press dedicated to publishing poetry in broadsides, pamphlets, and books, as well as digital interviews of poets in conversation (www.plymouth.ac.uk/periplum).



10 October 2018