Antisocial tendencies

She wears a strawberry-pink sweater and matching
lipstick. Her glasses are covered in something shiny.
In the clinic, waiting to be called for physiotherapy.
Patient Gonzalez… !
Patient Martínez… !
The girls are calling for the second time.
What’s your problem, what’s your therapy?
Pink wants to know and I don’t want to tell.
Hip. I say.
Arm, she says.
No way, I think.
Can’t hear very well, I say.
She shrugs and writes me off.
They are calling me and I hear them perfectly.
Don’t dare to look at pink.
The therapist explains the machines he’s going to use.
Thanks, how kind. Have done this now for nine days
and today is my last time.
For now. Lovely weather, he says.
Mustn’t forget to write a Whatsapp to my doctor.

The other night I was invited to dinner
and the most exciting thing I did was change
the batteries in my hearing aids.

The taxi driver wants to know where I come from.
The sales lady wants to know my age. You don’t look it.
The hairdresser wants to know what I do to stay wrinkle-free.
Keep a bit of upholstery, young lady, upholstery does the trick.

Tonight I have agreed to read the first paras
of one of my short stories. There’ll be 15 others.
Cocktails and canapés included. I’ll have to do the room.
There’s no place like home.


The critical moment of recognition
before a sudden turn of events.
Anticipation of violent incidents,
wreaths for princes without castles,
paper bags used for helmets.
The old man is dying in his turret
where for half a century he
painted Shostakovitch.
The walls have absorbed
music fused with acrylics.
The gods shape universes
with broken shrines.
I lost you because
I wasn’t there.


Coming through the grapevine
with debris like a comet’s tail
some burn up before falling
on fertile soil.

Whispers behind hands, furtive
looks of complicity, greening
tendrils of envy
and ill will.

Head-space junk bounces
back and forth in so many calls
fed by the a spurious law called
‘right to know’.

Like Ophelia she drowns
in the shallow water of lies,
filling the canals of her heart
with fever.