This poem first appeared in Mslexia, Issue 61, Spring 2014.
‘Perhaps the boldest poem I read … a brawling, muscular monologue of despair’,
Nicci Gerrard (guest editor).
The Great Antonio
I tasted your sun, hot metal, the scrap yard
of my youth, ate plastic, raw, spat out
credit cards. I said, this is your language,
my chest weighing like a barrel of grease.
I said, I am a man in your language,
and I will show you the crunch of Buicks
with my bare hands, cinders of garlic
under my tongue. Smell my words,
such muscle I can lift a truck. My knuckles
crack, make the sound of walnuts
on the forest floor, where pigs truffle
and make exceptional pork in my language.
I went to the terminus, to catch a bus
out of my life – nothing moved so I took a rope,
pulled it through Montreal, fifty five passengers
still on board. Nobody believed it.
They said dumb bells, steroids. I said
this is your language I don’t understand,
took a deck of cards, ripped it in half,
showed them who I really am.