The Heavy Petting Zoo


Look, Clare, Look!


From A Friday Night at the End of the Millennium

His hair is chilli-red,

His eyes fish scales,

His smile a small boy’s.

I used to get tiddly when I saw him –

Now I just feel weighted.

Tired. My bones will shatter

Like peanut brittle or barley sugar

Or some other crap sweet.

Another pint, and they charge

Me two pounds this time –

They must have seen me staggering,

But I’m too drunk to care.

Alcohol goes straight through me.

The girls’ loos are full

Of lads smoking joints,

So I have to piss quietly,

Hovering over the bowl

As though I’m a hummingbird

In order to avoid diseases.

Stale urine.

Someone’s bloody tampon goads me redly.

I read the sign on the toilet door,

It says: Avoid unwanted

Pregnancy – use a telephone.

Oh, that used to make us laugh

When this bitter-dark club seemed new;

When this tongue-moist air

Didn’t catch in my throat

Like a wishbone. I always wish

For something utterly impossible:

Lager that hasn’t been watered down,

A star, him

The poor wish-fairies –

I am expecting miracles!

It isn’t fair on them.

This bad luck is my own responsibility.

It is my own fault,

I take all the blame.

I vow to aim lower and stop thinking

I’m the fucking second coming,

Then pull up my silk copping knickers.

Stumble out, eyes greyed

By a gauze of yeast.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Says I’m the biggest dog of all.

My flaws grow vivid.

Nuclear white light strips my skin off

And leaves the true-me clean.