Carole Coates

The bad sex gallery

And for you, Tom, the bloody sheet
you hid from your mum and dad in Kennington
and pushed into a skip at the back of the Oval.
Hang it up here, project an old film.
What about Tom Jones with Albert Finney?

Over here, Dick, a doorless caravan
with a dummy inside in a Goretex mac.
It cannot smell the chemical toilet
or hear the naggings of the yellow parrot.

And for the Harrys all of them
a mirrored shelf in the corridor
for black tin trays of vodka and tonic,
each regimental glass containing a thistle,
either a thistle or a ping pong ball.

Next for Paul a blow-up doll
on whose bland lineaments
are scrawled in green ink
lines from most of the major poets.

And dogs, of course, for Nick, Mick and Pip:
a kitsch St Bernard with three flopping tongues,
a pipe-cleaner terrier with huge purple genitals
and a red plastic poodle with a clockwork mechanism
which repeatedly shags a chair from Ikea.

A Triumph Herald, caked in bird-shit,
dumped in a lay-by and hauled up here,
crammed with false teeth and condoms and Argos catalogues.
That's for you, George, with your suede driving gloves.

And for Jay, dear Jay, something silky and slithering
and utterly harmless like a vegetarian snake,
a coil of python, gentle as a slow-worm,
who accidentally, as I walk by,
swallows my arm...

from The Goodbye Edition , Shoestring 2005

© 2005 Carole Coates

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Last updated 17 November 2009