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Five Poems by Steve VanHagen

August 4, 2012

a little knowledge

two tramps almost sober alongside us at St. Pancras as they put you in the ground


in my mind’s eye a young scientist determined

to discover; careless of the reality of discovery 

of the Price to be paid


turns to a life of being disappointed not surprised

by the duplicity of drunks   a final sad embrace in a Euston bedsit

of rusty scissors by the carotid artery                   everything given away


as earth hits wood, your epitaph: ‘killed by the dangerous pursuit of altruism’



honourable option

unreally crisp crunch of gravel as the auto leaves Herrlingen


the car leaving feels dangerously routine, mundane, but I see grains of sand

echoes of desert      some die some survive      


I know I must stay calm and not look back

my fingers on leather                      I feel my wallet in my coat pocket

and the breathing of Burgdorf next to me


the road will run out at the edge of woods up the hill where pills await

after twenty minutes the telephone will ring at Herrlingen


in Dallas

drizzle early morning           then bright sunshine         

cheering, waving crowds   we round a curve


a little girl catches, takes my eye

face cruelly disfigured but wearing stars and stripes pinned to her lapel


as sudden a flurry of firecrackers as ever heard from a school book depository

gala celebrations     ticker tape flying


let’s get out of here              men jump      cavalcade accelerates

Camelot lies bleeding slumped on the seat, cradled by a bundle of pink


window finger jigger

they must be Sainsburys bags you use

to prepare for window finger dancing,

bags gained, earned on weekly Monday

ventures out, past a door with no lock since

the police broke it down, past self-created

altercations on the stairs

with the gay couple from #54


the excitement’s in the ritual

of pinioning bags to the window

cutting out the oval, just big enough

for the finger, erotic touch of sellotape

against hands (like an origami-loving

Mrs. Doyle), anticipation

of unsuspecting pedestrians below


sometimes he wonders what mommy

would make of his inheritance,

the purchase of his unlocked haven,

den from which to launch finger affronts upon

the passing world; though not for long, too many

pedestrians, too much finger-raising

jouissance to be relished



Frank Randle RIP

Bombing bloody Blackpool with bogroll from an aircraft

would have been a good enough way of spending

a Sunday morning if I’d been thrown out of some

place in Blackpool for being pissed the night before.


But I wasn’t and I didn’t even though later they said

I was and I did. So I wasn’t bombing bloody Blackpool

with bogroll from an aircraft and it wasn’t a good way

of spending the morning after being thrown out for being

pissed there the night before.


It were bloody Accrington I bombed with the bogroll instead.


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