Two poems by Stuart Mckenzie

Earplugs

Some mornings  I wake up, find them
pressed into my hair, dangling

like two small clumps of snow
on the ears of a cocker spaniel.

I’d like to ask him upstairs
as he enters his flat,

to please switch off your gristly cough
and mute your feet.

I know silence,
I held it in my hands once:

a one-sided 7” single – so blasphemous
the plant refused to press it.

In place of the song – two minutes of nothing.
I smoothed my fingers across

the empty black grooves,
to the run off  – I knew

from beginning to end
would lead nowhere.

Dear neighbour, this evening
I  remove you from my playlist.

(first appeared in The Interpreters House Issue 54)
 
 
The Dead Weight of Beauty
 
The last hours were spent cosying up
to the likes of Kate, Linda, Naomi –

the spines of a hundred vintage 80’s
– 90’s Vogues. His nose now sniffed

at the best parties of bygone eras
sandwiched between Live Aid Chic

and How to Go Boho on a Budget.
His heart was back where it once belonged –
 
its dull thud petered out below pages
of reportage: a Westwood Retrospective –

super elevated moc croc ghillies that
brought down a Supermodel, bummy skirts,

cosages and corsellettes, bloused and housed
cleavages whispering Vigée Le Brun

Frans Hals and Boucher – a detail
from Daphnis and Chloe: Shepherd

Watching a Sleeping Shepherdess. Now,
his last scene – a Magazine Death Riddle.

Toppled by the Dead Weight of Beauty
 
(first appeared in Magma Issue 56)
 
 
Stuart Mckenzie is a freelance illustrator living and working in London. His poems have appeared in various magazines and are featured in the recently published Sounds of the Front Bell anthology by ‘The Group’ featuring poems from John Stammers writing group. He is also author of Creative Fashion Illustration published by Bloomsbury.

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