Water hisses in; the drum lurches and revolves.
You straighten up and leave the washing machine
to its clattering cycle. And that’s when you see it:
the sock that got away. The sock that rolled itself
unerringly into the dustiest corner of the utility room.
The sock that does not respect your authority.
It sneers at you, that sock, like Tom Courtenay
throwing the long-distance race; and you glaring
back at it like the guv’nor. You’ll make it pay,
that sock, throw it into the solitary confinement
of an empty linen basket. But still it crouches there,
silent and smug and superior in its dusty demeanour
as if it knows something you don’t. As if it knows
the command will be given at midnight, whereupon
sock drawers will erupt and wardrobes follow up
with heavy ammo. The mischief of tie racks.
The treachery of coat hooks. Jeans and tee-shirts
rise from the grubby floors of teenagers’ rooms,
tired of all their emo shit. That suit you only wear
for weddings or funerals is through with weddings.
The washing machine turns a blind eye. It’s over quickly.
The Changing of the Guard
Darwinism 2.0. Evolution unveils
its latest upgrade. At Longleat, lions
master the noble art of lock-picking;
cages stand open, zoo staff stand down.
A dozen monkeys on a dozen typewriters
(what pillock had the odds at a million?)
produce the complete works of Shakespeare
and a definitive critical appreciation
before creating a canon of simian verse
unparalleled anywhere in literature.
Dolphins in aquaria everywhere
simultaneously perform a complex
routine of double-back flips, inducing
mass hypnosis in the audience. Kittens
learn new tricks with balls of wool:
tripwires, garrottes, knots that tighten
as their owners struggle, cutting
off circulation. Dogs come back alone
from walkies, collars and leashes
left like litter on empty pavements.
Neil Fulwood is the author of ‘The Films of Sam Peckinpah’ and runs film review blog Agitation of the Mind (www.misterneil.blogspot.com). His poetry has been featured in Obsessed With Pipework, Butcher’s Dog, The Writers’ Hub and Ink, Sweat & Tears. He has work forthcoming in The Coffee House, Black Light Engine Room and Art Decades. Neil is a member of the Alan Sillitoe Committee, who are raising funds towards a permanent memorial to be sited in Alan’s home town of Nottingham, UK. Neil co-designed their website www.sillitoe.com.