Tuesday, 1 September 2009

colin mackay


Morning sky
blue as the robe of glory
warm as my dreams.
What still lives in the meadow
settles on what doesn't.
The butchered grow a million
black buzzing wings.

In the burnt-out cafe
stray pigs from a nearby farm feed
on Ivan the chef and his two pretty waitresses.

the thud of mortars
somewhere the splatter of shots
the scream of an incoming shell,
but beyond the blackened hole
where the window used to be
under the still functioning Coca-Cola sign
the pigs feed on.

And I gape at them,
I can't take my eyes off them.
Everyone else is appalled, but
I laugh
because it is so funny to see pigs
sitting in a cafe eating roast humans
that I laugh
and can't stop laughing
until a medic in a blue helmet
comes and sticks a needle full of something
into my arm and I fall asleep.

And dream of the morning sky
blue as the robe of glory,
warm as my childhood,
which stretches all the way back
to Scotland where
the office will be having its coffee break
about now and the Number 27 bus
will be halfway up Dundas Street
and no one will believe that
any of these things are happening
in the same world as the office
and the 27 bus.

Dreaming, they will say, dreaming,
you have cracked up, you
can;t tell dream from reality
any more, and perhaps they are right -
certainly they are right.

But the pigs are still feeding
on Natasha's breasts and Ivan's buttocks
done to a nicety and crisp round the edges,
and the morning sky
is blue as the robe of glory
and warm as my love,
so glad to be alive
to make these ashes speak.


denise said...

Wow. This is so visual and, it's the and that is difficult to put into words. I won't analyze. I'll just say I like it.

Roxana said...

after bats, pigs? :-)
there is something i like in this poem, though i can't say what - why do you like it, you?

swiss said...

i think because this poem is part of a larger collection in which mckay deals with his experiences in bosnia during the war. iv;e had a poem about it broiling about for years and never had a context for it (poemes noir! lol) and as such it's kind of vanished into the past.

reading mackay made it tangible again but also gave me some confidence that a first person narrative poem still had the capacity to say something beyond getting sunk into some sort of bourgeois self-absorption