© 2017-2019   I A N . M . D U D L E Y

Heartbreak Tattoo

I'm in the chair, the guy
says
What can I do?
I say mark me for life
with a heartbreak tattoo. 

He asks How's that look?
'cause I don’t know.
I say like bad luck,
or the smell of snow.

 

It’s not in your head
so you can't forget,
it's written in ink
in every cell.

 

Your skin tastes of salt,
you're living on pills,
you’re perfectly normal,
and permanently ill.

 

You’ll never get well,
so it’s best not to beg;
find comfort in hell,
and hope for less.

 

My daughter got one
now I want one too:
I can’t leave her alone
with a heartbreak tattoo. 

Fish and Chips

I ticked the box that said here for business,
but it made no difference. There's sand
on the floor of the lift and two women
in bikinis chatting across my face.

It's yesterday, I'm still in England,
and I want my bed so I can lie awake.
When I come down I'm the only zombie
in the restaurant, drinking whisky sours,

 

forking french fries and bronzed red snapper.
When you get older you think about the last
time you'll see things. I won't miss coming here:
the strip malls, nail bars and clip joints, the

 

indistinguishable varieties of salvation. I'm
burning bridges when the ghost in my phone
trills a hurricane warning. I know it's time
to leave when it starts raining in my room.

Jaramarana

Nothing is enough for the man for whom enough is too little. - Epictetus

she gifts her daughter
the Heian bowl
like a paper cup
from the railway buffet
and fills a vase
with wilting flowers

the world belongs
to someone else
from the borrowed sun
on the kitchen table
to the afterlife
she doesn’t need

 

and the poems
that come like lovers
whose hunger
she's forgotten
every room
is full of things

 

despairing
she gives and gives
hand over fist
and gives up hope
she will ever
have enough

I publish quite a few poems on line. If you want to read more please check out the blog for links.