Mummies

The dry desert air
of the Altiplano
has perfectly mummified
my grandfathers.

On special feast days
I bring them sweet meats
to honour the incalculable
gravity of their dour lipless

death-masks. I dress them
in fresh checkered calico
pomade their matt hair
so they shall bestow on me

everlasting vigour. Only village
men are permitted to touch
these netherworld spirits.
I shall always commune with

my elders for I am unafraid
of their retribution. They’ve
achieved that perfect stasis
promised to divine entities.

Questions

I have the vexing habit
of asking many questions.
It rankles my sons

who don’t appreciate
interrogations.
Apparently I repeat myself

they think I’m a half-wit
who should have no access
to their private stuff.

This is distressing.
We drift apart.
They are no longer

the ebullient kiddies
who pranked with their father.
I must also grow like them.

Dementia

When my mind has gone
and I’m urinating over
the aspidistra plant
decomposing on my haunches

when there isn’t one iota
of dignity to salvage
then they may flick the switch
on my life.

I have signed across
power of attorney
to ensure my children
won’t prolong

any shameful acts of dementia
I might perpetrate in my
madness. I would be mourned
with due gravity. Not

snickered at
or branded a disgusting old
codger fit only for the refuse can
all my accomplishments negated.

Hater

Make me a bittersweet
lovesong

the kind you can
hang publicly

and get a shiver
running in the vertebrae

of your readership.
So they shall admire

how your august fingers
print such honeyed letters

little guessing that
you’re a confirmed

venom-spitting
hater of humanity.

Knuckles

It is hard to warrant
how loud is the rap
of his knuckles

bothering our safety
over such a little thing
like money.

The grilles over our windows
shall hold
I won’t even take a breath

knowing the noxious evil
you are
thudding like an enraged

demon
for your kilo of recalcitrant
sinning soul.

Comfort

When we wake
with sore vertebraes
and sinking depression

appalled at the
ingratitude of our children
who lead such breezy lives

in the quicksand of
innumerable
obsessive disorders

think how satisfying it’d be
to travel to the undiscovered
country

poets applaud. A cyanide pill
crushed between our teeth
the painless drift into oblivion.

Euthanasia

The medicines
make you dribble
you can only
express madness

you cannot identify faces
family melds into strangers
you stink like decay.
I should euthanise myself

rather than suffer
such incontinent humiliation
playing out my last sentences
with a robust grace.

Obsession

She’s an obsessive person.
Three sipper bottles lined up
under her bedside cabinet

powerful medicines stacked
alphabetically to help insomnia

silicone builder’s ear plugs
in case of unexpected thuds.

Age brings to us
its array of disturbing tics

I myself suffer from
a raft of strangenesses.

Therefore I fill your filtered water
speak the same bedtime words

pull your door extremely softly
knowing you shall never sleep.

Shame

Stood apart from the crowd
beautiful to someone

averse to the screaming bawl
of scampering kids

bespectacled beribboned
leant against a wire fence

ineffably lonely
the red ball trickles under

your feet
howls to throw it back

mocking jeers
at your lousy kick

that sends it shuddering
way off target.

I feel your shame
your scarlet embarrassment

and I too should like to die
leastwise decline my head.