The head squatted on the thorax swells
a rancid octopus in monochrome heat:
deflated balloon under the churning fan.
Sweat creams in cabbage-skin
while Theseus's lifeline, the tie,
overflows his puckered tendril-throat
dividing the chest;
the argument tentacled in rippling
sucker-knuckles doubles back,
brine greying the shirt in smears -
collars loosened, armpits greasy.
Words bubble in flesh of foreskin-softness,
delineating the stasis:
I've known a couple who were OK,
but that's the exception, y'know?
I know all about them, listen to me,
they're no good.
The monstrous head -
arms flopping on the table,
upsetting the mugs - dribbles
bad language on shirtfronts
mazes turning back in ink.
The others then, trickle away,
interlocutors interlocked, walling
the flaccid cephalopod
crying at the maze's core,
arms mired in spirals,
fan-blades endlessly turning
Andrew Parkes is studying for an MA in Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths College and is a co-editor of Clinic.