Big Dog Gone

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2016

Where’s Big Dog gone?
Up? He was always tall,
Must be up
in the clouds
on the roof
somewhere?
Now there’s no-one left
bigger than me.

So long old feller.
Maybe he can hear me-
can you hear me
old yeller?
Alpha, papa, omega, dada,
Our Father,
man in the moon yeah,
what do we do now Pops?

Pop pop
pop.

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Dirt

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

The man tying the bag over his head,
the small of his back sore against a stair,
his lips gone numb and white, waiting to spread,
his legs tight like a mystic’s crossed in prayer,
his words like pulses wrapped in too much wool,
his neck that sometimes nicks him when he swallows,
his past like something catching on his skull,
his train of thought too stop-and-start to follow –
this wet-nosed ass who can’t quite tie the strings
is going to do a really selfish thing.
Before he goes he’ll guess at what you’ll say.
He’ll try to count your grief in weeks and days.
He’ll scare you half to death. This one will hurt.
You’ll drop and look for answers in his dirt.

Zoe in Me

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

I used to gaze into my navel all the time. It’s deep
and big, and clever and quiet. It seemed
like I could never get enough, all warm guts
and playful, static fluff and special smells
that seemed to tell of things you could only see
from the inside of a t-shirt, sized XXXL.
It was the navel of a poet.

Some poets have holes in their hearts, empty
and sucking like wounds, lonely, hungry
and down in the dumps of their chests,
but my blood pumps fine. It’s just red wine
and pasta and pies that sluice through tubes
and patter on my breast ’til I come to rest
an eye on my belly.

But Zoe is stuck in the button. Five years
it’s been now, and I curl up and tell her,
get out! You’re the girl that got away, yeah?
So get the fuck away and get out my curly hair.
She’s cluttering up my space, living in my place
and lately every pissing poem’s still about her.
It’s just embarrassing.

I want my navel back, blissfully empty, mysterious,
black with the absence of certain knowledge –
serious, studious, moody as fuck and bleak
as an ink blot period – a great big belt line firmly
buckled under it and locked up. I want to look
under my skin, get wise, see it all, from A to Y
and write about that.

Let me gaze into eternity,
feel empty,
mutter wisdom and musty skin
again.

In Case of Dementia

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2011

I’m the old man with dementia who
used to be an author.
I wrote this before all that happened. I was
terrified

that the books I’ve collected might
still be where they are, neglected,
stained with stale coffee by weary sons
too dry-eyed to read.

Carers now urge me to rhyme as
I did, as if I could, and loved ones
suffer,

pushing back their lives, putting up with
mine and their passive aggression
(as they know I would for them if
I could). Wishing I would die as

now they mouth ‘thanks’
to a carer, or a lover with a petrified smile,
trying to help. Let this do
for memories.