Winter 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. IV, No. 4


Poetry    Interview    Translations    Fiction    Book Reviews

Gol McAdam


‘To Have And Have Not’

‘Stop whistling!’ they snapped,
‘It’s not ladylike!’
I’d stop, forget, then start again.

‘No boy will want to know you!’
‘You’ll end up like Miss Whitehead
– bitter, twisted and alone!’

I doubted as I watched their lives
but didn’t like to say I might prefer
my life Miss Whitehead’s way.

To keep them happy
(lips pursed, tongue curled, blow held back)
I took to whistling under my breath.

Then in a screened matinée moment
Bacall told Bogart how to whistle.
As I saw it, this was licence enough.

I whistled my way from cinema to home,
only once interrupted by the shrill blast
of Miss Whitehead calling her dogs to heel.


Some Teeth

Recalling Reginald Dixon

That night in the Tower Ballroom
a chord struck from the depths.

Seismic he rose - a trapdoor troubadour
ascending hydraulic in shimmering light –
whilst galleries shuddered at his coming
and startled grown-ups took to their feet.

Tremulating and moustachioed
he rode a monstrous white mouth
whose multiple rows of teeth threatened
to sever him midriff but then throbbed
– canine to foxtrot, molar to tango –
placated as he fingered them.

Alcoved peripheral to adult activity
I scanned the vast basilica of dance.
An illustrated ceiling reflected fitful
in a glass floor, scattering light
in the twine of turn-ups and Cuban heels,
as an awesome kaleidoscope of couples
moved on a sway of life that served
to forestall the bite of primal fear.

In a hotel cot, I vamped my way
to sleep thinking of old Joe (Mr Dixon to me)
the plumber at the lane end near to home:
the slant of his flat cap, his putty perfume
and his game of brass-washer tiddlywinks
played with his two-toothed Dixon smile.


© Gol McAdam



Poetry    Interview    Translations    Fiction    Book Reviews

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