Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

Palm Sunday

by Nigel McBride

By God’s grace
I manage to switch from noun to verb
Looking for my tools in the half-light in the bird song and the tunes that chasten me.
On frost bitten tarmac under halogens,
waiting for oil perhaps petrol and man made thunder.
With vapour twisting waiting for dawn.
I am defying sleep knowing sleep defies me,
I render terror into dark purpose with familial deceits.
Befriended by concrete and the smell of someone else’s urine.
By God’s grace
I will avoid rebirth, I will desist and I will leave as if unborn.
Only moisture left, little better but none the worse.
He might welcome me and I will give thanks for keeping an unmade bargain.
Too tired for tears I listen for my obituary.
By God’s grace
I am a spectator by the broken Palms, following a trail of blood before blood was special.
Whose words are these?
Bad Jews? Good Jews?
Nobody can tell.
Whoever tells you is lying.
They panicked. So do I. So should you.
Whose words are these?
Only mine I regret, now more verb than noun,
Writing not being.
Drowned in aspiration
The bad end of the bargain.
By God’s grace
I regret my self-made mystery,
An investment in misery, sweetened by sensibility.
Cheering the pulse of virtuosity and the razor edged
Using words when fists would be best.
A vulgar cardboard gnome fearing rain.
Looking for the family vault in all the wrong places.
By God’s grace
Broken veins and forgotten promises
Long gone rumours on the horizon
Lost now in digital noise
Paraded before regiments of grinning indifference
Laughing at my plastic cross.

Added: 06.04.2010