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THE BUTTON

March 28, 2018

I don’t hear from people,

What an absurd wedding party.

Captain, I’ve lost a button,

Twice, I’ve lost a button.

I feel ill at ease: the button’s lost,

Oh, I still have the button, but it’s lost.

Shirt on, shirt off. Sew, without success,

The cleaner’s here, well dressed.

 

As usual, the cleaner ups the ante,

The captain’s poor. The cleaner’s public.

We see dirt between his fingers,

His finger tips are black. His palms ….

I envy his place. He moves with quiet ease,

In his uniform, he’s known.

And invisible. No one sees him,

Except for those few who strain.

 

No one thought of him as they fought,

An idiot battle which could never be won.

For no one ever knew what there was to win,

Hiding antidotes from prying eyes.

Good luck, friend. I need it. Thank you,

What is this letter? My lord, I’m tired.

No. I will not make way for a child,

A baby, truth be told. I will not hold my tongue.

 

She didn’t wish to see me. She was ill,

Which came first? An intriguing question.

My heart was set on this shirt, and then, disaster ….

Mild disaster. A button fell to the floor.

I found it with ease. My sewing kit, not so much,

Needle and thread. Thoughts of success.

The damned button fell, a second time,

And then, the time was nigh. I fled.

 

This evening, again, needle and thread,

After appointment, of all importance.

On which my health, my mental health, depends,

Doors opening, closing. I see not: I hear.

Sun, covered by smog. Spare me, I worry not,

Eight lines make the feathers fancy.

I need it by tomorrow. A deadline, we’d say,

You’ll have it by noon, with feathers fancy.

 

But (!), why this captain, again and again?

He dresses as a captain. He captains nothing.

For where’s his ship? His feathers too fancy,

When a petal falls, it falls slow.

Unlike buttons which now harbour no doubt,

Well dressed captain, under his bowler cap.

Always this cap. Other things change,

Today, a black ensemble. Yesterday, I’ve forgot.

 

Unmarried captain: no wife would accept his cap,

Would be seen with it. Another captain ….

He bores me. I care not for where you’ve been,

Who you’ve seen. I stayed until the end.

A door opens, closes: unseen. At regular intervals,

I pulled the lace bare. Now, none remains.

I’ll never be captain of this ship. Rightly so,

Heave ho’, sing the boys down below. The coal fired warmth.

 

Early, but for what, we’ll never know,

The coffee here’s weak. It brings on fatigue!

The coffee here’s bitter. The stomach lining tears,

Too much information: we know already.

A stranger’s guiding hand: the captain’s,

He’s on this train, terribly discreetly.

I follow him with my eyes until ….

He’s out of sight: the friendliest of gremlins.

 

White conspicuous, but his hat’s black,

A remarkable black, if we see it at all.

The training process: don’t answer their calls,

Knowing that this will not last. Whispered words.

A page or two. Hearing the pages turn ….

With haste. But you do not read these pages.

Daft woman. Yes. Paper all round. A strange sound,

Damn I say, when recognised. Now, never recognised.

 

Turn the pages, turn the screws. An idiot’s lot,

An idiot’s list and markings: nothing to the untrained eye.

Nor the trained. Scribbled markings. It’s urgent,

The smell of feminine beauty, as soon as you arrive.

Will Mondays continue? And then, what of Tuesdays?

I can live off this. Don’t mock me.

A final draft, I wish not to see,

I turn a blind eye. The blind eye sees.

 

All the errors. All the tempests fabled,

Is this of worth? Thank me in two years.

Strange woman, a thief in truth,

Take care of me. Have my home. That’s all.

Fourth trimester, but, does this exist?

To some it’s stupefying. To some it’s false.

Poor, but I’ll pay it up front,

And I’ll keep my hands off false loans.

 

Never believe the shark, for his teeth

Are wonderful things. Beautiful and all.

Deadly? Why yes. But we’re in his space,

The name of a murderer, who killed two.

Two children, his own. A loathsome act,

So they say. I’ll never see him.

If I ever saw him: I don’t recall,

Three surnames. A doctor’s chants.

 

A neighbour’s chants. Her daily chants,

It rains, it rains. We worry not. It snows ….

And all is betrayed. All is cancelled,

The creaking floorboards. Workers work.

I feel betrayed. My fears are allayed,

Doctor. Will my condition change, improve?

No. Doctor won’t cure me. I asked,

But am I ill? I wonder …. Drugs ….

 

I don’t wish to see him. It’s a need,

I’m consigned to my fate. It rains, and rains ….

Sitting on steps. The staircase holds true,

A wooden side. A carpeted middle.

He supports the industry I loathe,

An industry. They disturb me.

In and out they come. Yes, dead poet,

Dead by suicide, and so what?

 

A grain of salt. A fleck of dust,

We are nothing. You said it yourself.

Doctor. A cure. No more comings and goings,

I protected myself. A lift goes down, and up.

Down again it goes. For whom? It speaks,

My only friend. Let’s not mention doctor.

There’s somebody near. Somebody descends,

I live. I’ll live in this stairwell.

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