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2 poems by Guy Elston

A Defiant Move

In what was later termed his ‘late defiance’

the Chancellor carried an ever-swelling lump

on his right thigh for months without treatment.

When confronted he used words like ‘vital’ and ‘clear’.

He took to stroking the lump in slow circles

while justifying policy, and paparazzi

had no trouble getting compromising lump snaps;

lotions, tanning lamps, experimental suit fittings.

The lump’s nature was debated on phone-in

radio shows, and a once-loved comic actor voiced

‘The Lump’ on a once-loved political sketch show.

The lump was feeding the national conversation,

only more so when the Chancellor rejected

its removal on a live stream, fatally stating ‘this lump

is plainer to me than any number of your words’.

I can now reveal that John has since spent time

in silence in the desert, that he brought Lumpy

to term last year on a hot, really hot day, and that

out flowed such wonder that he couldn’t quite

express, so he thought it perhaps beautiful.


The Captain summoned me into his cabin and said

I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I hate you

a little less each day. Your lacklustre shanty singing

doesn’t fill me with the same raw contempt it once did,

and your insubordinate grunt when ordered to scrub

the galleys is almost an endearing tic by now.

I struggle to put the same energy into your lashings

as when we first met, and your habit of whistling ‘Ob-

La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ each morning almost soothes my

polyneuritis. It would be easiest if you simply

walked the plank, but even that might bring me joy,

clownish as you are. He leant back and patted

the tomato seed packets in his breast pocket.

Just remember: it’s not me, it’s not you. I ghosted

on deck, where a pink cloud grew, and burst out laughing.

Now I had time for new hobbies, like knot-tying.

I took some rum and meat and scaled the crow’s nest

for an ocean view. Then I watched the sun sink,

hoping I’d find someone to at least share some

resentment with before we reached the sunny beach

where our soulmates waited, and faced the fact

of never-ending love.


Guy Elston’s poetry has been included by The Moth, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Honest Ulsterman and other journals. He is (sort of) on Twitter - @guy_elston


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