taken literally it just happens the ay the weather
or the stock market happens
tangling in the unpierced flesh of one another
grappling with the shifting question of each other’s bodies
until the morning breaks across them and still their strength
no soft parts of stomachs no inch of them hung loose
like old sacking from the muscle
and burning afterwards or barely able to walk afterwards
or not giving a name because names ould add a history
and the tasting of the flesh and blood of someone
is something out of time

Jacob with the angel

I’m scared of bumping someone while they piss
those Mondays I’m a packhorse bags hung
swinging around the urinal bodies
and one day I know I’ll knock someone
and they’ll piss their legs or they’ll turn slightly
and show another man their full arc
or they’ll fall into their own wet puddle
cock limp and neither of us will look
or he’ll look at me avoiding looking
feigning interest in the hard cream tiles
maybe it’s that I dream of being bumped
knocked from my aim by a stranger
the briefest touch during the private act
the toilet is an intimacy
only shared with parents when you are young
and once again when they are older
and with lovers when say on a Sunday
morning stretching into the bathroom
you wake to the sound of stream into bowl
and go to hug the naked body
stood with its back to you and kiss the neck
and taste the whole of the night on there
and smell the morning’s pale yellow loss
and take the whole of him in your hand
and feel the water moving through him
and knowing that this is love the prone flesh
what we expel from the body and what we let inside


for the ones I never touched for the ones
who wanted to watch films who wanted
to talk who wanted silence and said I
talked too much for the one I saw
weeks after laughing for the one who served
me coffee and didn’t recognise my hands
for the optimistic ones who write
their names on toilet walls the ones
I never called for the ones I called
who didn’t answer who left our love
suspended from the ceiling hooks
of that meatmarket city for the ones
who left and settled down the ones who wanted
knowledge were curious who gained something
from each encounter used each other
who took what they needed for everyone
they hurt who felt burned out the ones who
didn’t realise everyone was burning
the ones who never slept who died nightly
the ones who said they’d kill for it for all of them
a gift we were young we only had our bodies

 A gift

a day will come when
woken by the xylophone
of sunthroughblinds
you’ll realise

that the beach was not the place
where horses tore the sand
to ribbon

that the scent of him has lifted
from the last of the sheets
that he isn’t coming back

that it hasn’t rained
but the birds are pretending that it has
so they can sing


Andrew McMilan - Physical (Random House-2015)