Wednesday, October 20, 2010

402. Major the Honourable P. Arker

Four miles over the thing
the road begins, complaisant, lovely
just what you'd expect. When I look I see nothing
and everything, kaleidolly, scopically, slotting
bangles and hairworn twisted tangles
into dust. I must be brave. I can only save
some, not many; perhaps, I think,
not any, as the rivers race down to the sea.
I could have been happy, you know, as these things go,
in Middleton Park, 28,  just down the row,
happily coming home for tea
with my mad mother, my distanced father,
books in the library and a bit of cricket
on bumpy greens with a snarling yeomanry.
When I hit my ball through your window, darling,
did you hold it in a lewd lascivious way, thinking
Omigod I can carry on from this. When I had to piss
in the trenches (the War), booting aside the bodies,
I never thought of that, I thought of kidney pies
and roast pork and crackling. My mouth positively
watering with the thought of everything but you.
It's true you stood beside me on the hustings,
leatherlunged, God Bless You, in the khaki election
and I was so happy. Alive, like, after the war.
I'm so awfully sorry I had to murder you, doll,
but you were becoming such a pain and you wouldn't listen
so with a wink and a nod the lads did you in
and I attached myself to Churchill, the coming man,
and with my red-rimmed eyes and hoarse croaky voice
he believed every thing I told him. This radar, I said,
is a waste of time, and don't send boats to Dunkirk.
Bombing Germany is total nonsense, Winnie you berk,
and tell the bloody Yanks to back off, stay home.
I managed to extend the war by two or three years.
Later, when I was running my high-class nightclub
between several bombed-out buildings down in Soho
the girls would come screaming for champagne, naturally,
and so we'd give them shaken Algerian fizz. In this way
we set the taste for the next three generations. 
Later still, when I was elevated to the House of Lords,
I voted against everything, we always did on principle,
and had a charming pied a terre in nearby Pimlico,
where, rising from bed among languorous naked bodies
I'd complain, Can't you bitches cook an English Breakfast?
Laughter. I'd knot my tie, slope down to the Allingham Café
for bangers and mash, bacon, toast and railway tea.
And this is how I ruled Britain for the next twenty years.
Bring back hanging! I became peculiar and more dangerous
and was incarcerated off in the wilds of Walthamstow
not far from the High Street pub called the "Victoria"
where I'd appear on gala nights in tutu and lace stockings
because I knew the manager and they couldn't fence me in.