Daily Archives: 16/05/2009

Midnight Shifts

Our cigarettes become aborted babies
in an ashen, glassy womb.  The TV

Newscaster talks to our napes
about the latest developments in eastern

Europe and the rest of the warring
civilized world.  Our ears

Are keen to every slap
of playing cards.  Our eyes are sharp

But see nothing beyond
the moving curtain of smog

Around us.  Mosquitoes have
their own ways of passing

Time while fulfilling their urges
as we keep the itch

That they leave,
tiny bulges that won’t

Turn into babies.


This was written in June 1990 and was published in the May 1991 issue of The Asian Literary Journal.  I wonder what my friends who live in eastern Europe think of this.  The accompanying painting is by Van Gogh.  He didn’t know I was going to use it.  But I suppose this is his way of reaching back from the grave.  (Canned laughter please)