Scoundrel Time

Two Poems by Katharine Coles


Call me ice-
Hearted bitch. Mean-
Time everything flies
Apart, blaze

And shrapnel, stars
Black-holing and roofs
Falling in. Always
The electric cuts

Out and the tap’s endless
Dripping, and he’s
Still looking for a Bandaid.

We don’t have time for
This, I say. Said
We never did.





I know, it’s normal, a woman shooting
Things off, especially the bits most

Prone to being not where you
Put them for safekeeping. Don’t ask, where’s

Her head at and when did she lose it?
Remember to watch for shrapnel

And unexploded ordnance strewn
Round the garden. Also,

Her second most volatile
Part can go off in situ, no less

Frightening but at least a man
Can keep it in hand. Maybe,

Though, the right questions
Are, Why wouldn’t heads roll,

Under the circumstances? And,
How good would that feel?

Hokusai and others on “de femmes a tetes volantes ou ‘au long cou.”  Ghosts and Hells: the Underworld in Asian Art, Musée du quai Branly, Paris, 2018.




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