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I am not of the south

By Simon Cowley All Rights Reserved ©

Poetry

I am not of the south

I wanted only to take you by the hand
and guide you to pebbles
where, sitting, we’d lick vinegar
from each others’ fingers as salt
licked by the wind would gently flay
our February skin.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise
when, blinking, you laughed
and peeled me like the
chips I’d have us eat;
you were bent on cities
built on twin volcanoes.

Because pebbles aren’t beaches,
beaches aren’t for winter
and winter is a blight on the year.
Your manifesto was clear:
once there (like Bolaño) you would
read lots, live lots and fuck lots.

But I am not of the south.
My heart meanders slowly
through treacled Calvinism;
sickly, saccharine and smug.
I shelter from the sun and my ambitions
settle like moss on stones.

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