Take Two
After Howard Fritz

A flock of geese migrating, startled
by a minor earthquake, interrupt a couple’s
tilted tête-à-tête. Her headscarf’s pink
and contrasts with the drink she clasps –
a red Cinzano he’s just bought her.

With his sleek black head, white shirt
and dark-sleeved dinner-suit he is his own
unchanging manifesto – and resembles
all the geese which fly by swiftly
as old lies he’s told or ghosts of former lovers.

She negates him: pale uncovered arms;
black velvet breast that sports a brooch – a trophy
butterfly. But who is pinned to whom?
The geese are metaphors departing,
dollars taking wing, not spent on her.

They play the scene against its fractured backdrop,
advertising their own love affairs
as much as acting out their parts. They’re stars.
The geese are extras: feather-weight careers
can cruise above the wreckage of this script.



Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is poetry editor of the on line magazine London Grip and also helps to run the North London reading series Poetry in the Crypt.  His most recent collection is Pictures from a Postponed Exhibition (Lapwing 2014), which features artwork by David Walsh.

Howard Fritz is a London-based artist: http://hwfritz.blogspot.co.uk/.  See here for more of Michael Bartholomew-Biggs’ responses to Howard Fritz paintings: http://londongrip.co.uk/2016/01/paintings-poems-howard-fritz-michael-bartholomew-biggs/