six    dark    the idiot’s lantern shows me
rainbows you branded sick   which made me
wear masks   wash hands as if Lady Macbeth
breathless   gagging  until I spit it out
blue eyes turn to pansies   fag butts  syringes
before a ten year talk with my other
half changes your mind   sixty   the TV
shows you Richard of York give battle in
vain   you won’t rubber up    scrub fists until
it’s you who’s out of puff    fags   the virus
never killed me   I could swallow three pricks
father   I lay pansies on your headstone


James McDermott’s poetry collection Manatomy is published by Burning Eye and their pamphlet Erased is published by Polari Press. James’s pamphlet of queer nature poems is forthcoming with Broken Sleep Books. James’s poems have been published in various magazines including Poetry Wales, Popshot Quarterly and Fourteen Poems.