Monkey Stops Whistling
Author: David R Morgan
Monkey Stops Whistling
Stand to attention all the empty bottles, yes ...
the long-necked beer bottles from the antique stores,
the wine bottles and pop bottles left on beaches;
steam off the labels and line the bottles up, the green ones
with the brown, black, yellow and clear ones.
The beer bottles whose labels have been torn off by
bleak, neurotic fingers
and the bottles sent back by the breweries because
they have cockroaches or dead bluebottles at the bottom.
The bottles afloat on all the seas, those with messages in
them and those without any.
Line up the bottle that killed Malcolm Lowry with the bottle
that killed Dylan Thomas ( I think that's a record ! ).
Yes, line up all the empty bottles; yes ...
the bottles that killed all the drunken monkeys,
poets nobody's heard of and the poets who spoke all their
lines into their bottles and all that weren't smashed on frozen
roadsides, when flung from car windows.
The bottles of shadowy glass we look through darkly
when we want to see the ghosts of our former selves
and the bottles Dr. Jekyll drank from, and all the Jekylls
whether on stage, in films, on television, or uncorked within us.
All the empty bottles, stand to attention, line them up,
all of them from the past, the present, the future, yes
because I'm telling you now, right now...
the party's over.
Red Riding Hood at Fifty
Forty years later, you come again...
along that path in the woods
to my grandmother's home,
planning to try us once more, and
knowing the woodcutter is
gone because the trees are gone.
Yes, forty years later, you come again...
but we have seen worse wolves
at the door since your occasion:
impending foreclosure, bad mortgage,
angina, chronic back pain, rotten molars,
my son caught with a shaggy hand in the till.
Yet your grey look is memorable to me.
Calling to Granny's ghost in the kitchen,
I laugh softly in your face. You just
stand there, not knowing whether to smile
or what to say. But yes, old friend:
I always knew who it was in that dress.
Come on in and have a drink.
David R Morgan
2 Katherines Court
Beds MK45 2LT
The poem "Monkey Stops Whistling" is stolen. It was first published in 1981, under the title "Empty Bottles" by my husband, Colin Morton. It should be removed from this site, along with all other poems attributed to David R Morgan.
This reminds me of Woody Allen, who cheated on his metaphysics exam by looking into the soul of the person next to him.
Shame on you, David Morgan.
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