Two Poems by Richard Price

Personality test
with worked examples
Are you made of
                        or cogs?
Son: dogs.
Father: fogs.
Are you made of
                        or rats?
Son: splats.
Father: cats/rats.
Are you made of
                        or licks?
Father: tricks.
Son: licks.
Are you
                        or fights?
Father: lights
Son: fights

Son: you’re tights.
Father: lights.
Son: he’s tights.
Are you
                        or moans?
Father: phones
Son: moans
Are you
                        or neighing?
Son: saying.
Father: neighing
Are you made of
                        or ghosts?
Son: coasts
Father: ghosts
Are you made of
                        board games
                        band names
                        or old flames?
Father: band names / old flames
Son: board games
Are you
                        a note pad
                        an iPad
                        or a launch pad?
Father: a launch pad
Son: iPad
Son: he’s a note pad.
Are you
                        country walks
                        serious talks
                        magic bean stalks?
Son: serious talks.
Father: You are not serious talks! You are magic bean stalks.
Son: serious talks.
[      ]
Father: I’m country walks.
Do you practice
                        or Minecraft?
Father: witchcraft
Son: Minecraft
Are you
                        or masks?
Son: asks.
Father: tasks/masks.
Are you
                        or pleases
Father: teases / pleases
Son: sneezes.
Are you afraid of
                        or socks?
Son: locks
Father: locks

Father: you’re also afraid of socks.
Son: just locks.
New electric piano
I don’t know
why I don’t
call out
but I
open the door
I softly
know the
rooms again.
The lives are sleeping.
(I check my phone
to check my phone:
is there any news
about the news?)
In the front room
a boy my son
naps across
the armchair.
He’s so tall
he’s had to
fold himself in.
In our bedroom
a woman you
nearly a stranger
has finally left
a bright shore.
The blinds have
been darkened
to full sail.
She, don’t say she,
faces away
and I’m greedy
to wake you, to
kiss as if my kiss
could be more
than rest, the
privacy of sleep.
(I check my phone
to check my phone:
is there any news
about the news?)
I leave you,
I walk
into my son’s
empty room.
It’s chocka
with ons and
offs, with
greens and whites,
the slick reds
of shaped plastic,
with mimics,
with machines.
I’m outsize on the interstellar bed.
(I check my phone
to check my phone:
any news
about the news?)
                                Later the
                                almost stranger
                                who is you
                                tells me
                                the peace
is all about the piano: the boy
just fell asleep, serene, listening
to his mother a young woman
relearning Bach,
and she, you, you knew then
there was time after all to escape.
Richard Price‘s latest collection is Moon for Sale (Carcanet) and a selection of his essays is collected in Is This A Poem? (Molecular). He is Head of Contemporary British Collections at the British Library. @InfoPrice on Twitter and Instagram.

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