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The Hummingbird’s Return




She said it again. “It wasn’t a gaff. It was an insight into the way people like him think about women and what we’re good for.”

I took a pill again.  I said, “If something bites you, it’s more likely to be female.”

There were tarpaulin tents.  There were people in sandals buying necklaces. I found a coin.

She smoked. “Jane Campion thinks that 50% of films should be made by women. Forced to be made. Mandates. That’s fascist.” She asked for the coin.

“I’ve come to realise that.”

“You’re just an interesting bore.”

We walked some more. Reluctant. Undercover. We were two spies spying on nothing. I imagined us to be a thriller. I wasn’t ever thrilled these days. I wasn’t Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Life is a tough interview. Dying is tougher. The beef jerky was tough. She said it’s biltong. You have to develop. You had to develop. A blessing. A loss. A puppet being forced to dance. She pulled over the box, everything tumbled out. We smoked some more. She fell.

“This much I know.”

“Get up.”

“I was going to survive.”

“Everybody has someone who has gone.”

She put her right hand in the air, her hair hot beneath her head scarf like she was hiding a gunshot wound. Last night I watched a film about mushrooms and fields.

“Goodnight world.”

It was summer so it wasn’t giving up being hot. I was like a dog beneath the bed.

“Why does poetry have to be about something?” she asked me.

A mosquito bit us both.

“The same one.”

“Why does poetry have to be inspired by something?” she asked.

Knowledge is about layers. We’re cakes. We’re a mix of ingredients. We’re fattened.

“You’re not even fat.  Come out from under there.”

Monochrome cushions. Six of them arranged on the floor. Like the restaurant in Edinburgh. Aioli.  She told me once she knew nowhere north of Oxford. She said you always come back to that. I punched the class system. I had no class.

“No one has class these days,” she lied.

When we went back to the fair it was all schoolgirls buying ice creams and schoolboys watching schoolgirls buy ice creams. 

“Did you know they were engaged?”

I started lying again. Blue sky. Too blue. Slowly yellowed. Then orange burning. I told her about Carcassonne and Suffolk, about 17th Century cottages, Arthur Askey, physical evidence, the unconsidered, Brad Pitt, too warm, phone calls, phone booths, the gaps where phone booths used to be, a wasp’s nest, swallows in a field becoming wasps, Bolivia shutting down all its McDonald’s, sunglasses in Oxford, autocorrect, how la means friend, Colo Colo, TS Eliot’s Collected Poems, ducks beneath a jetty, old dolls, Cumbria, how I called all my girlfriends doll before her, free events, wedding photographers, a name for the fear of sunsets, four Doctors, I don’t wanna, a tower, taxis, how the sun might not even be real, the FBI and every secret ever held, intentions, leaving Liverpool for good, Rouen and Rouen, the New York Times and how it’s too hot for buses, too hot for sleep.

“I’m wine-soaked.”

“Let’s go.”

“I had a gramophone; I used to think women would come out of it.  Not just their sound.”

We were both sleeping by the time the hummingbird returned.



About michaeleganpoetry

Liverpool based poet and editor. I have had four pamphlets of poetry published, most recently After Stikklestad (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2010). Penned in the Margins published my first collection, Steak & Stations, in 2010.

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