Charlene

On paper,
you were from a different time.
On TV,
you were a neighbour.
On film,
you were the motivational partner
of a scrappy American fighter
tangled in his family’s concerns.
On radio,
you were the one
who had never been to you.
On that day,
you were the umbrella in a storm
until the sun let us see our world.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Landing

One day I will read your instruction manual,
but right now I plan to pretend
your face is the moon
and I am the first man
planting a flag in your freshly dusted cheek
stitched together with every mistake
we plan to make together
and apart.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Self sabotage

My word, you’re wonderful.
I could squeeze you
until your limbs fall off
and pile up into heart shapes.
I could flatten you round like a discus
and kiss you in my palm
and lob you across the world.
I could fold you into a first class letter
and send you to the Queen
for her 100th birthday.
I could frame you and star you in an art exhibition
I couldn’t afford a ticket to get into.
I could look you in the eye
and see a reflection
that doesn’t deserve to live in them.
But I won’t. No way.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

We were

We were alive.
We were tight-rope walkers.
We were both the antelope.
We were both the lion.
We were writing history.
We were strangers, we were partners,
we were one creature fossilised in time.
We were Adam and Adam eating apples.
We were bound by the electricity of nature
the second our eyes met outside the cubicles
and saw who we’d just taken a shit with.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

The taste of a tongue

I got lost in a stranger’s beard.
It swallowed me like a furry sinkhole.
I drowned in a skunk-hair swamp.
On my search for an exit
I passed crumbs the size of a Sunday roast.
I jumped from milk blob to milk blob
like Sonic the Hedgehog
on his last life in the Marble Zone.
When I resigned myself to the hairy grave
I fell inside his mouth.
His tongue tasted of my judgements.
His teeth wouldn’t stop chatting.
His canines stung with a sharp wit;
cutting through incisor insights and molar memories
of a life I’d be lucky to taste.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Preference

When characters on reality dating shows
list their preferences
of height, weight, hair style,
muscle definition, sense of humour,
bank balance, interests, work ethic,
girth, age, horoscope, fashion sense,
whistling ability, history of farming,
pizza making techniques, burping range, number of languages invented
and level of skin-invisibility in a partner,
I’m struck by how
few people would want me in their home.
When my eyes blink goodbye to the day
I float in the breath of a chance taker.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Fired back to the universe

The sign outside the church said
A fresh approach to funerals.
I imagined the bodies of loved ones
popped in rockets and fired back to the universe.
I imagined a rollercoaster hearse,
a Live At The Apollo eulogy, a Nando’s wake.
I imagined hologram gravestones, BBQ cremations,
an Order of Service not made in Microsoft Word.
I imagined a corpse on a bouncy castle, ball-pit coffins,
climbing frames made from rib bones.
I imagined He was such a sweet lad
balanced with every mistake he ever made.
I imagined them not happening at all.

© Carl Burkitt 2020