Saturday, 13 February 2010

Poem: The Breakage Suite

The Breakage Suite

Whenever you came home, there
was always something to mend
or tinker with. The disembowelled
washing machine’s rubber guts
coiled out from an unhinged panel,
bleeding milky water.
Rewired, retuned, a radio
cut in on your modest ta-da.
Nothing went back to the shop.
Spare parts that would come in handy
one day cluttered chests of drawers.

Somewhere around this time
there would have been rumours
of strikes, a change of government.
You visited the Ideal Home,
brought back the textured sofa
we sat on through the power cuts.


Further into this same age was said
to be only just beginning,
the soft taps momentarily halt.
My daughter calls me in
to diagnose frozen windows
on the laptop’s screen.
A glitch, a virus, I’ve no idea.
Warranties expired the other week.
Together we wait on an error report.


It’s the closest I’ve come
to turning back: Euston Station
through the window of a cab.
As if fifty minutes up the line
there'd be spark plugs in the sink
and her exasperation.
There’s nothing I could do.
What kind of fix were we in?
The glass and steel remain
inscrutable as circuit board.

Under skies that thin to brightness
by this concrete plaza’s to-and-froing,
we might have been speaking
of watch repairs. Only now,
as time changes gear
into the traffic’s thawing,
we have other things on our mind,
another elsewhere into which we’re going.

Tom Phillips
Feb 2010
Previously published online with Various Artists

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