Postcards from Malthusia DAY ELEVEN: Matthew Caley

The Sick Man                          

                                after Jules Superveille


   this sky this sky is too bloody big     too big for travel le ciel

as an ocean this sky    too deep no rooms available

this city too teeming    the countryside too dull

  I am ceiling    sky ground water    squall


 I have not adjusted to living well

still     a maladjusted brat with a pail

I cough    then forget when I cough    [all my handkerchiefs smell]

 and every one of seventy-seven years cough along as well


  in chorus   the year? Twenty-Twenty  the last century free to fall

all new-borns are born fully equipped with senility

      old men a No-Go zone    words curdle


in my pen   a sunflower a young man   a snowflake in hell

     is glowing     what’s on my hands in infinitesimal

They begin to sing from balconies of hail



Since Matthew Caley‘s debut Thirst (Slow Dancer, 1999) was nominated for The Forward Prize for best first collection, he has published four more collections and read his work widely. His sixth collection is Trawlerman’s Turquoise (Bloodaxe, 2019).

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