I am thinking ahead to a time not so foreign as to be subtitled,
but anachronistic, the soundtrack by Pulp but post-war,
post-apocalyptic, post-whale. From atop the Hoe,
we no longer imagine soldiers standing on deck HMS Ocean, Albion, Bulwark
extending invitations to go fishing at dusk
before being manoeuvred out to sea.
_ _At this point in history,
even I cannot prevent your being dressed in whites or something
more ballistic: stripped down and stretched into neoprene
and sunk in a Vanguard class Trident missile
submarine…the waters no longer blue but black, the surface above
unknown and mimicking the margins of sleep,
_ _You return,
because you always return, from beyond the breakwater
to the dockyards. You walk from Devonport through Stonehouse,
past the chip-shops and the chop-shops, the smell of paint
mixed with petrol, and now perfume—dabbed high on the thighs
for homecomings in back alleys that run like rivers
back to me.
Anthony Caleshu is the author of a novella, a critical study of the poetry of James Tate, and two books of poetry, most recently: Of Whales: in Print, in Paint, in Sea, in Stars, in Coin, in House, in Margins. Current projects include a collection of stories and a new book of poems. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Narrative Magazine, AGNI Online, Poetry Review, and The Best British Poetry 2014. He is Professor of Poetry at Plymouth University in Southwest England. (updated 9/2014)
Caleshu’s The Siege of the Body and a Brief Respite was reviewed in AGNI Online by Ellen Wehle.