Always Die Before Your Mother: Poems by Patrick Woodcock

By Patrick Woodcock

Deftly relocating from the stifling warmth and politics of the Arabian Peninsula to the darkest corners of South America's rainforest, this choice of poetry promises a searing observation on humanity's many failings. Politics, faith, societal constraints, and familial relationships are all fodder for those pointedly written poems.

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A woman hid in a tree trunk and then became a tree trunk. She made insect mittens and debated how to die gracefully with her own tremulous echo. ” 54 BRICKS Tally the starving, tally their egos For the umbilical of beggary is tied to them now The bricks have moved, been carried away Abandon your bibles, burn all your bibles Shake the delirium of chickens on coffins The bricks have moved the bricks have moved Cardboard the city, corrugate your country Sit on your rooftops while hayfields float by The bricks have moved, been carried away Drink to your mother, drink to the hungry Drink to your children and all that is sunken The bricks have moved the bricks have moved Bring me your iron, bring me your mountains Bring me your wisdom and all not of bone The bricks have moved, been carried away Dance with the fleshless, dance with the sluggards Dance in the moonlight beneath broken glass The bricks have moved the bricks have moved Who has no money, Who has no family Who has no children or none within sight The family has moved, been carried away I started off green, but now brood black and blue Blunted and cheated and left here to rot The bricks have moved the bricks have moved 57 Now there’s no blood, now there’s no bone Now only skin only fragments of skin The bricks have moved, been carried away At night there was laughter, and maudlin dissent At night there were windows far too many windows The bricks have moved the bricks have moved Yes, we were poets, not blacksmiths but poets Yes there was wonder wrung out of our landscape The bricks have moved the bricks have moved But now I’m seditious, and now, I surrender To the god of consumption conducting me home My bricks have moved, been carried away 58 PA U L D U R C A N WA N T S A TA X I I N T H E C H A PA R R A L Take that one — mourning until dusk — what a great rock!

51 THE TOILET SONG There is no wall to hide your junk, no ceiling and no seat. Just a trough and cigarettes sunk and urine at your feet. The smell is like the tongue of a corpse dragged damp across your face. Like being slapped by their great lord, then buggered by His grace. It is dark — a black nightmare dark, her father’s chasing me. Simply because I left this mark, seed and apostasy. It is white, a cold padded white, I’m shackled to my bed. ” But powder formed and powder shaped can shock me from my gloom.

When his son and daughter returned their father sat them down. To his son: You will tie this rope to the hook. As I shoot them, you will throw the hook to the other side of the river and drag their bodies through the water towards us. By the time they reach our side of the river, they will have . . I’ll do the rest. And to his daughter: Go put on your nicest gown and stand near the riverbank. It took only minutes for the first boy to arrive. And only seconds for him to fall and be pulled into the river.

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