The Selected Poems of Guy Birchard

Guy Birchard


Plus One Angel in the City of. Not.

The artist's seat is just
inside the door at the exit
end of the bar. Here
he quick-sketches, proffering
same for excruciatingly slow
to come cash. He's ignored,
or a pittance buys the Chablis
JAX exacts for his importunity.
I am lucky man, he might sigh
for a finif, Tigran me, Armenian.

And shake. And take an interest.
And make an invitation in broken
English to come see his exhibit.
Cah-nada! Ex-hibit. Two, three
month, phone these number. Tigran.

Some days later, less a stranger
by slow degrees, it's me sitting
at the end of the bar opposite
the regulars. Not wasting it.
This seat is always the alien's,
thirsty, irreconciled and proud.


Waylon, old soldier, he knew seizure and exile;
he hurt; lonesome as hell, it was one hard winter.
Come day, go day, may the better man stand it.

Piss on that, maybe this too.
The victim of his vengeance was less blue
about her dead bro than out of the blue
being up-the-pole. No more sugar now.
Piss on that, maybe this too. 
And we all know
what blue balls do for a sound night's kip.
Piss on that, maybe this too.
Now the Tories been incumbent so long
it's like they hold a lease. What's new.
Piss on that, maybe this too.
Power freaks get a taste for it, the bastards
never quit; everybody ground down, expecting
the worst, hip enough, hopes in vain for better.
Piss on that, maybe this too.
Sadman abides, bloody-minded. Plus ça
change. The gods please themselves in this world
of woe; bestow, c'est la vie, largess on that
chump there and squat on this.
I'll tell you one thing, I used to have
what it takes, my audience dug me. I was
Jack-the-Lad. It was a good gig a long
time, the Council fat It's a pity.
Now here comes Flavour of the Month, not
bad at that, I guess, but I'm back on hind titty.
Well, piss on that, maybe this too.

   (from the Anglo-Saxon)

the canvas-back's a diver
P.K. Page
observe pick-ups with racked
      guns red leaves beyond observe
frost creeps down Elephant Mountain
      as if we need reminding observe
in cool bright sun Canada geese at
      alert ease in centre field
observe the light litter of yellow
      larch needles on the shoulder
and marvel the reminiscent hum of
      leaf mold the clarity of the lake
observe and name those trees that
      cling longest to their leaves
beech walnut chestnut willow, fruit
      past picking in the bare ones
Japanese cherry crab-apple ash elder-
      berry observe the last flitting 
translucent dragonfly disappear

Kater Murr's Press, Piraeus Series, 2000. 
Copyright - Guy Birchard, 2000.
Drawing by Anne Heeney;
copyright - Anne Heeney, 2000.