By Mark Wilson
Bread, Milk and Wine
Spaced around the supermarket
quadrangle in the manner
of Van Gogh’s lifers taking
their afternoon constitutional,
shoppers exercise their patience.
Everyone suspects everyone else
& no-one is immune from
contamination, homicidal taint
or guilt stain. It’s as if every-
one was about to choke on the
phlegm of their own conscience.
Eventually, this humanoid ring
files into the building, tensely
under the surveillance
of security guard & CCTV.
Week’s tribulation ended,
the mind can turn to daily bread,
to the milk of human kindness;
before returning, in the back aisle,
to the wine of your blood,
The dogs over in that garden
do not practice social distancing;
one sniffs the other’s rectum
& intimacies are, likewise, requited.
To consider now the species of mankind
in this frightening predicament:
guilty, constantly feinting ‘connection’,
whilst cowering back into ‘self’
with sorrow, terror, utmost resignment.
Meanwhile, the dogs rollick & entwine
on the spring grass together.
And mankind envies, & wonders at,
the unction of their communion.
Through the drone’s eyes, we perceive
a section of New York State, where leaning
men in helmets lever the wooden boxes
down into a wide trench; a Caterpillar
alleviates, then implements their leverage,
whilst blind soil’s pushed over to blanket.
Through the drone’s eyes – third-angle
orthographic plan-view, we apply
previous imagery of ‘mass-burial’, super-
impose our Rorschach-Block recognition.
Through the drone’s eyes, we’re emboldened
to declare this, that or some other caveat;
but the bird of auger, the bird of portent,
borne on antiseptic wings, hovers alone
& maintains, throughout, its wordless hum.
Only humans choose to interpret.
Mark Wilson: The three poems were written in full lockdown, starting out as observations on the absurdity of humankind’s predicament during the pandemic and trying to refrain from moral interpretation.
Mark Wilson has previously published four poetry collections: Quartet For the End of Time (Editions du Zaporogue, 2011), Passio (Editions du Zaporogue, 2013), The Angel of History (Leaky Boot Press, 2013) and Illuminations (Leaky Boot Press, 2016). He is also the author of a verse-drama, One Eucalyptus Seed, about the arrest and incarceration of Ezra Pound after World War Two. His poems and articles have appeared in: The Black Herald, The Shop, 3:AM Magazine, International Times, The Fiend, Epignosis Quarterly, Dodging the Rain and Le Zaporogue.