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To say it is to taste a kiss given form:
mmmeat. With that last ‘t’, a stutter of love, although
‘love’ isn’t a word to make the heart ripe

like ‘meat’ is. Enough to leave us Bedlam-bound,
meat is a minor catastrophe, as anticipated
and warmly welcome as sleep, leaving us not shamed

but with a mind to be efficient in our grazing.
When the oven is on or the pan in a frenzy,
something in the drab, bitter day is lifted –

that torpor kneading the forebrain lightened
by a single siliqua. Ill as we are with tenderness,
the crackling of glazed meat, its yielding to force

is a matter to contend for. Brazenly, meat cribs
its taste from conquest and trembling, rouses
the savage in us like a drum and tuba concerto.

Meat, dark placebo, ardent in your redness –
we call you humdrum incendiary and slender hulk,
but gaze you to a smut, to needle our hunger.

Rogue schematic and supple anchor, I zombify
in your presence, gnawing you neatly apart, ridged
with teeth. Now, sweet cargo, attend to me.


Its flavour in the nostrils a thunderclousmart
like seeing your crush on a superstud’s arm;
you’d have to be sturdier than durmast
oak to contain such a bastard stum
in your head’s barrel and not cry out drams
of tears.

                  But if you, in your dilemma, durst
eat another spoonful, your throat’s drum
is often only half as stung, your heart’s mud
stirred to a soup and every untoward smut
on your tongue expunged in one broad strum,
leaving nothing – no points, no clear datums
from which to measure pain, no lukewarm dust
of hurt feelings, rags clinging to an absurd mast
or pins or crumbs or flakes of seed-hard must.


'Meat' was first published on Poetry International.
'Mustard' was first published in Magma.

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