Poem Hunter
After Midnight Poetry Caller
JN ((1969 -) / England)

After Midnight Poetry Caller

Poem By J.L. Nash

And so you call me
now that I have given in to your
protestations, of poetry
you ring me at 2 in the morning
coining my own words
“did I wake you? ”
and yes you did but that’s ok

I was having a dream whereby my teeth
were falling out of my face
my gums were disintegrating
spitting out enamel, leaving stumps
Primal fear
but I have my teeth and you are on the other side of
the phone line, it crackles
I miss the odd bit of poetry
as you read to me
you always read to me

I read you a short one but I read it badly
and the meaning is lost in the self-consciousness of
my pronunciation
sweetly you give me a phone smile and thankfully you
continue to read your finds

A headache arrives, unannounced
and although I am in some discomfort
there’s you on the other end reading to me
Of life, of Henry, of Mr Bones and of golden syllabled
pop stars, of Mark Halliday and I realise
you absolutely love the long poem
the many parts
the chapter and verse of it all
where I am more into the six liners
the swift thought that quickly pierces

Still the headache and
of course a cigarette doesn’t help
but it’s within reach and so I light it
by the punchline it’s been tossed over the balcony
this dark and rainy night and my nose is dripping
I make you wait patiently as I retrieve an already used tissue
the next poem comes to me as I return to
my place on the mat, next ‘the phone
although I must confess I do adore this time of
morning and I had only just put down my head
when the telephone rang with you
smilingly asking what I usually ask
“did I wake you? ”
and yes you did and I am glad

Like the shopping lists all over America being a clue
to belonging
this telephone call is mine, my proof
I’m thinking we could form our own secret society
where our password will be
“did I wake you? ”
and the content of our meetings would be
poems short and long by many voices
and it would be permissible
to ask for an encore or demand an extra voice
so that images of departure wrap around
toothless dreams and cast away all rotten flesh

I foresee one problem
and only one in such meetings
but it’s so small and surmountable
that I’ll leave you to find out for yourself
if you are lucky enough
to have an after-midnight
poetry caller.

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