Ernesto Priego

To a Dead Fox

It was the morning after
the night we were forced to say good-bye
you and your kind, too, are neighbours
often walking the road home
on weekday evenings after work.
Those nights you and yours, unfazed,
silent and determined, blending with brick and park
remind us of the great woods this all once was.
It was the morning after
the clock striking eleven
-for fuck’s sake, not even twelve-
it was that morning after then
we saw you in the distance, still,
golden, up close nearly smiling,
stiff, furry, were you at all alive?
Where were you going, what fence
did you trespass,
were you hunted, did you flee,
were you home or not yet there?
Did you just drop dead,
were you hit, then your body moved,
were you cold, ill and hungry,
or merely tired, not sick but old,
was your time up or were you poisoned,
did you simply fall asleep,
halfway here, halfway there,
pavement and grass, grey and green,
savvy animal, wise and wild,
yet trapped and doomed to hiding,
pretending never to be scared,
instead daring, uncaring and free?
How did you meet this end,
the morning after,
was it quick, painless,
just routine,
or laborious, agonising,
gasping loudly after air,
(the park runners this a.m.
take reign of what used to be,
my friend, your kingdom)
every noise tremendous,
your suffering unheard?
You lie there, waiting.
Someone will have to find you a place.

It Thrives (30/03/2020)

We should have known it well:
it thrives, indeed, on being human
our touching each other; hands on face
speak out loud, droplets & breath
hold on to the handrail
move down the carriage,
use all available space
it’s proximity & closeness
shaking hands, kissing once or twice,
(don’t stand so/don’t stand so close to me)
the embrace, the popping in,
the cup of tea, the walk together,
saying cheers, give me five,
anytime, here for you.

And they thought we could raise fences


There is nothing like peer review
to infuse in you the fear for writing.
One has to take the plunge one morning
and write for no other reason but the dew.
Whatever this is it is not autobiographical:
things do not have to be avant la lettre;
things can mean something else
not referring to the speaker, nor to
you, dear reader, of all people.
She did not marry him-
she was someone else,
and he was simply her invention.
That is the thing with poetry,
the focus, as you know, is on words
and lines and all those blank spaces;
god only knows what that void means,
like code, it makes you pay attention:
every character counts for different reasons,
in the context of its space and what is near.
Pessoa’s last names were his penance.

A Backward Glance

               "I become a dumb man."
               — Walt Whitman, 1856
How little did I know
about Lazarus’ true feelings
waking up a decade later
dead tired & unable to digest
the universe before him.
A backward glance
does not reveal the past
but the load on neck &
shoulders & the eyes,
the eyes blinded by the light.
¡Levántate, Lázaro! the accent
lacks the strength required
to lift the dead weight towards life.
The singer knew it. The earth
remains jagged and broken—
only to him.

Ernesto Priego has written poetry online for some 20 years and authored and co-authored various volumes of poems. He is a senior lecturer at City, University of London, where he lectures on research methods and interaction design. He is the founder of The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, and currently lives in Bristol, UK.
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