Monday 3 November 2014

New Poem: Eating Myself

I was getting weaker. The doctor explained that

I was eating myself. I said I hadn’t noticed. When

was I doing this?

‘All the time.’

‘Am I doing it now?’ I said.

He looked at me very closely.

‘Yes,’ he said.

‘I’ve heard that it’s possible to feed a snake with

its own tail. Is it like that?’ I said.

‘No,’ he said, ‘you’re thinking of ‘eating’ as something

you do with your mouth.’

‘Yes,’ I said.

‘There are other kinds of eating,’ he said.

I thought of other holes and apertures in my body

and wondered if anything was going into them. Was

that why I couldn’t run anymore? Beating an egg

felt like hard work.

‘Your blood swooshes round your body,’ he said,

‘mostly this is a good thing. In your case, it’s not all


‘My blood is eating me?’

‘If you didn’t have blood, then the bits of you that

are eating you wouldn’t get to the bits of you they’re


‘That’s accessory to murder,’ I said.

‘Yes,’ he said.

‘Can we get at the real culprits?’

‘If we get them, the rest of you goes. It would be like


‘Sorry?’ I said,

‘The bombing killed the civilians not the Nazis.’

‘And we’re after the Nazis,’ I said.

‘‘I’m sorry I mentioned Dresden,’ he said, ‘it’s nothing

like Dresden. Or the Nazis.’

‘What about the blood? Are we still talking about the

blood?’ I said.

‘Yes,’ he said.

‘I think I should be able to beat an egg. I’m 35 years

old. A 35 year old should be able to beat an egg. Let’s

get at these murderers.’

‘I’m afraid, it’s too late. Very few of them left. They’ve

fed and left. The bit you needed has mostly gone.

Think apple core. Chicken bone. Grape pip.’

I thought John Lennon. ‘I am the walrus.’ I am the

grape pip.

‘I don’t think we need to think in terms of punishment,’

he said, ‘I sense that you want retribution. It won’t


‘You bet I want retribution. We’re talking killers here.

They’ve crept up on me and eaten me. And they’ve

robbed me.’

‘You can’t beat an egg. You told me that,’ he said.

‘So what do you suggest?’ I said, ‘Something liberal

and do-goody?. Rehab? Are we going to try the talking

cure on my blood?’

‘It’s simpler than that,’ he said. ‘Do you play football

or rugby?’


‘Ah, yes. Do you watch football or rugby?’

I nodded.

‘You’ll know about subs. We’re going to sub on some


‘How do we know that these subs won’t eat me?’

‘These subs are dead. They can’t eat you.’

‘They died?’

I felt sorry for the subs. Or sorry for myself.

‘Not strictly ‘dead’. Not animate.’

‘You’re going to send on inanimate subs? And I’ll be able

to beat an egg?’

‘Yes,’ he said.