At the Katz (Graham Nunn)

Posted on December 21, 2010 by in Heightened Talk




The insect that chirps here every night

tonight is chirping under the bed.


The insect sound is cold and constant as the rain

whispering outside the window.


The sound of this insect that nightly chirps

has buried its loneliness inside me.





Of this place I know

the window houses

three pigeons under the sill.


These birds scour the roof

each night for warmth

or whatever. Two are arguing


now, for a few inches of brick.

How the mind moves out when

there is only one glass for seeing.


I stand at the window and mark

each bird, roof, spire as the boundaries

of the neighbourhood


they define. I am wearing

my favourite black coat. Every hour

I wipe clean my eyes.





It’s after midnight and a young man returning

from late shift tests what strength


he has left by kicking a bottle against

the brick work of the front wall.


Son of a bitch, he mutters. He is the collective

curse on this night that reeks of tinned fish and TV.





I am waiting for a poem, something

simple, undisturbed by curses.

Words that release themselves


from the night. Words that come

naturally, without aiming at anything.

While I wait, I continue to listen


to the insects and birds

at the window, hoping

for sleep to arrive.