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On the Edge of the Asylum - David Hay

Take his ticket – his little book of poems,

his teeth are a fine cut,

snap them out one by one


Money can always be made from misery.

Tell the tooth fairy she’s going out of business,

that will teach him to believe in beneficent powers.

Rows of bald men in suits of meat nod.

they are steadily crusting over with disbelief.

Let us crouch in the corner of his youthful ear

and whisper our dirty tales,

our sordid ditties of mental illness and extramarital affairs

accompanied only

by the cadences of the snake’s bodily violence.

Dreams should be harboured by no child.

There is nowhere to hide from the cynics’ sour breath.

Mark his tongue, that flapping flesh of syntax,

the great conductor of ego and inaccuracies

uttered by each idiot – is sprouting,

wart –like with madness.


let it swallow silence.

Let it swallow the memories of each year.

Let is speak of the future no more.

Let it remain unsatisfied by gin and chocolate cake.

He doesn’t know that there is no substitute for a mother’s love.

Laughable but ultimately tragic.

Awkward stares at patent leather shoes

everyone starts and ends the same.

The mirror is an eternal reminder

of the seasons incessant cycle.

I have examined his hands

they are not moulded by hard labour,

the veins, his veins should I say,

are no tributaries transporting the earth’s essence,

his are merely wisp of witches’ hair

flowing into the clear sky.

Why is he so scared? The bed is only the tomb for the old.

He has a lifetime of this shit left.

He will never recover the hours he has lost.

Still there is beauty, beauty in the shit.

But not much. Sometimes not just enough.

            Written by David Hay


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