One prose poem and one vignette by Geoff Mills

This poem was not intended for publication

This poem is not intended for publication
and is to be found post-humously among my effects
when the scholars and publishers scavenge through
the biography-shaping artefacts of my life.

It has been carefully concealed
so as to be conveniently found,
a remarkable discovery that will reveal
the visionary depths of my self awareness,
the agonized sense of my own genius.
It will shock and excite the scholars
for its frankness, unashamed
self celebration and its revelation of a
naked ambition hitherto unsuspected.

It will affirm the poet's reputation
not only because he had known for years
what it had taken the literary establishment
a while to suspect, but because its status
as a private piece reveals the extent of his modesty,
self effacement and sensitivity to public opinion.  

And some knowing bastard from a respected
literary periodical will shatter the reverent tone
and say “this poem is not a poem, for it reads exactly like prose”.
And though I  concur, his objection will seem
churlish, insensitive and ill-timed
for I, the genius, will be lying
defenceless in my coffin.

Quite dead.

– – – – – – – – –

The Silence

At noon he shuts the stifling heat, roaring television
and detached voices behind him and plunges into
blackness. The warm plastic glow of domesticity
recedes as he thrusts forward and senses the chill
blast of winter slap his cheeks.The high childish shrieks
and deep mannish moans fade, only to mesh
with the whistling wind that assaults quivering grass
and trembling branches with malicious violence.  
Suddenly he feels that weight of feeling he both fears
and craves. The illusion of company and warmth
that his home creates seeps away and an icy wave of
ringing solitude washes over him.

Suddenly he isn't just alone, he is always alone, but
desolate.  It is that numb desperate aching pain
that he is familiar with and yet privately cherishes.
It is his own unique pain that no other will
experience – a sparkling razor thread that sears his
whole being and gives life a piercing edge.

He sits between two bushes beside the river, weighed
down by a stomach that churns slowly with
emotion made dense and solid by time. He imagines
that if he should jump into this liquid blackness
he would plummet straight to the bottom. He would
have to sit on the river bed – black inky water
all around him – and wait for the eerie echoes in his
swollen mind to swallow him up for good

He listens. The roar of silence rings in his ears.
Nothing. Just nothing.

Should he have the powers that at times he feels he
possesses he could sit on the river and it would
carry him through the country side, through the
cities, over the estuary and into the sea. He could
roam the country untouched and unseen – unshackled by
a mind diseased by sadness and a stomach
made concrete by anxiety, anger, tears, longing.

He perches still and still no-one knows. More his own
time than ever – yet more than ever detached,
disassociated, severed – on the fringes of time.
Still silence reigns, darkness rules. And still nothing.
Eerie deafening nothing.

He dislodges and trails his way home. This has never
happened. No one will ever know. He leaves
a section of himself there forever – perching on the
edge, in the cold, by the liquid blackness –
betrayed by that part of him that decided to go
home… back to the stifling warmth, roaring television
…a world of cheap yellow glow and hollow
uncomprehending voices.

• Geoff Mills says “I studied English at University and have had poetry and prose published. I am a fat man.”

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