Third Date

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013

I took Mark to the old reservoir,
put him in the water
and looked for something beautiful.

He powered across the surface
like a Sea World seal
and smiled and made wide ripples.

The view reflected itself and the sun,
playfully shimmered
and it was fine for a few minutes.

His muscles swelled up, cut through.
He flashed and glanced
and tried to remind me he was handsome.

I’d seen it all from dogs and ducks,
diving and flapping
and following men on the bank.

The place was full of my childhood
until I was hungry
and Mark emerged on his own.

We got out some butties and pottered
in through the trees
and I almost forgot to look back.

Then he took me to some secret spot,
sipped at my coffee.
When he caught my eyes I stopped.

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MOTHER OF SNAILS (catfish)

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013

See the big black one?
It lives in tropical South American rivers
and floodplain lakes and it says here
it’s called the MOTHER OF SNAILS
(catfish).

She’s a TITAN in her tank!
Plated powder-black, sat still,
watching with a milky filmed eye,
obscured to protect your sanity
for what good it may do.
You have come to the basement aquarium
and you have seen the LEVIATHAN.

The base of this glass is like the depths
of the Earth. The MOTHER OF SNAILS
(catfish) waits, observing the darting,
open-mouthed wretches before her, weird
like a darker Pluto under water (or a catfish).

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She is CREATOR
of snails
(catfish)
sifting the sands for detritus
and life and spitting it out
with her sort of

funny, Poirot mustache, a-
it’s a catfish.

The Man Behind the Curtain

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013
Published in The Bolton Review, issue 1

My father used to tell me that your brain is sat behind you
pulling strings laced through your fingers and your eyes,
itching you and twitching at your lips to make you say things
to distract your curiosity and keep you satisfied.

Your brain needs you to think that it’s not there until you use it
and it gets you to forget you ever do.
It grows a little bigger every time you feel it working
but that makes it wrinkle up against itself to hide from you.

It tells you that you use your skin to touch, your tongue to taste,
and something called your soul for something else.
It’s told you not to ask what makes them work and you believe it ’cause you don’t want to ask how it knows what you don’t know yourself.

Your brain just lets you rest and lifts you up and puts you down.
It’s your creator but it hates to spoil the show.
Don’t look too long or cut beneath the surface ‘cause it hurts.
Your brain knows what it’s doing and that’s all you need to know.

Man

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013

When God saw the face of man
He thought the man had made the sun.
He knew better, but He swears He thought so
in that moment. He always remembers.

When God saw the man’s hands build
He thought it was magic and He gasped.
He thought there were wonders He couldn’t touch
and He thought He would reach forever.

When God saw the man’s eyes up close
He thought they were windows to paradise.
He saw a halo and the light of colour
and mused about what might be in the black.

One day God heard the man speak to Him
and He thought He would never be happier.
He waited to hear the secrets of everything
until He slept, and smiled, and it died.