Gum packet poem

My arms flecked with brown                  stained with sun

I masticate                     a minty white cheek-filler

to cushion my teeth                  on the artificial sweetener

of endless growth                  & self-improvement


They sold out                  so they made up some more.

You tapped your reserves & there’s a green

rot replacing it & clag glue all over your eyes.


They’re bendering out of hours                  sipping on picked-off beer labels

exhaling ‘have you got a spare filter?’

But I only shatter & I can taste metal

& I can taste the sleep that I need & I can taste all the things

I’ve got to do                  that I’ve shrunk onto Post-its


But I steal minutes                  off the clothesline,

shooing dirt off the mattress                  staring at weeds

that have rooted in scooped-out pockets, unfurled

from cement


Taking the long way home                  I walk in fishtails

& stop to spin out a street view

to plot mango trees

& remember where I am going


I cut the corners off streets and throw down the crusts

to lay out of time                  or I re-consult the bus timetable

strategic re-routing pencil-shaving off a few minutes

                  but it all crashes into the ocean after lunch.


So I try and stamp a few faint hours on the time sheet

or blow a few curled words                  into empty gum packets

I meditate on latent thoughts on lateness

refresh my minted roping ideation                  to stretch out the indigestible wads

I found wedged under shoe

& stow them on receipt backs                  retired scraps

to unwrap a small-lettered tangle


Riding shotgun on the bus

I reclaim an acrylic blue-seated glory

to make the wheels stop & the talk hush

so I clamp my lips to savour

& fatten my lens

like sitting at the bottom of a pool

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