Monday, June 06, 2011

poetry snapshots: andrew oldham

The Real Icarus

The men have taken to shore,

drunk and singing, arm in arm with whores.

My son, their Captain, he yells, keep her fast,

sing my shanties or feel the lash.

Away away-oh, away away-oh.

Down by the docks he pisses on tramps,

shows them wax burns, all born from lamps.

In alleys, in taverns, he spreads his lies,

shows them goose feathers, bullshit flies.

Away away-oh, away away-oh.

I am immortal, says my son, women snigger,

cocks his pistol, smiles, pulls the trigger.

A snap, a fizz against wax, a misfired dud,

my son is not born of my blood.

Away away-oh, away away-oh.

Icarus fell here, women say, as I come and go,

in a tavern, in a marketplace, he performed his show.

No fizz, I melted the wax from the barrel of his gun,

he took away my home, my life, my inventions, my son.

Away away-oh, away away-oh.

Andrew Oldham has been a columnist for The London Magazine. His fiction has featured in The Sunday Times and his first poetry collection, Ghosts of a Low Moon (Lapwing, Belfast 2010), is available at

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