Old Dictators


Wheeling like a boxer

Her father appeared again

At our bedroom door

In cardigan and pyjamas,

Poleaxed with pills and Christmas

Eyes peeled heavenwards

In the manner of St Jerome

Curses jump from his tongue

Like gassed partisans

Bollocks! he cries out in Catalan

Bollocks he whispers to his hand

Bollocks said the clown

He slaps away in slippers

For another endless piss

Into the laughing toilet

Then a sepia hour of sleep

The radio crackling with

The marches of guardsmen


In the bedside drawer

Under the keys and lighters

Still wakeful, curls a dull Luger

Loaded since Franco’s death


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