Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Jennifer Maiden

Off the Cuff

Off the Cuff

Off the Cuff

Street into sky, walls into sky, his ribs
taut with oxygen unclotting, uncurdling
like milk taken off the flame,
                the words
are not quite the best yet.
                The question
was asked when the MP was
in Macquarie St, askew with morning,
his imagination unthawed,
                the mike
held too close to his lips, as close
as the visible frost of his breathing
at that time of day when air was metal
and his  breath rose rapid as terror
in the tender pit of his voice.
        This afternoon, he rings
through answers that are ringing
out the aftermath of air-conditioned choice
hard won from meat & wine & fruit & bread
& his inadvertent playing
with some old interrogators in his head.
Close

Off the Cuff

Street into sky, walls into sky, his ribs
taut with oxygen unclotting, uncurdling
like milk taken off the flame,
                the words
are not quite the best yet.
                The question
was asked when the MP was
in Macquarie St, askew with morning,
his imagination unthawed,
                the mike
held too close to his lips, as close
as the visible frost of his breathing
at that time of day when air was metal
and his  breath rose rapid as terror
in the tender pit of his voice.
        This afternoon, he rings
through answers that are ringing
out the aftermath of air-conditioned choice
hard won from meat & wine & fruit & bread
& his inadvertent playing
with some old interrogators in his head.

Off the Cuff

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère