Please Can I Have a Man

Please Can I Have a Man

Please can I have a man who wears corduroy.
Please can I have a man
who knows the names of 100 different roses;
who doesn’t mind my absent-minded rabbits
wandering in and out
as if they own the place,
who makes me creamy curries from fresh lemon-grass,
who walks like Belmondo in A Bout de Souffle;
who sticks all my carefully selected postcards -–
sent from exotic cities
he doesn’t expect to come with me to,
but would if I asked, which I will do –
with nobody else’s, up on his bedroom wall,
starting with Ivy, the Famous Diving Pig,
whose picture, in action, I bought ten copies of;
who talks like Belmondo too, with lips as smooth
and tightly packed as chocolate-coated
(melting chocolate) peony buds;
who knows that piling himself stubbornly on top of me
like a duvet stuffed with library books and shopping-bags
is all too easy: please can I have a man
who is not prepared to do that.
Who is not prepared to say I’m ‘pretty’ either.
Who, when I come trotting in from the bathroom
like a squealing freshly scrubbed piglet
that likes nothing better than a binge
of being affectionate and undisciplined and uncomplicated,
opens his arms like a trough for me to dive into.


first published in Violet (Bloodaxe, 1997), © Selima Hill 1997, from Gloria (Bloodaxe, 2008), used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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Selima Hill

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1Introduction

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2Why I Left You

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3Please Can I Have a Man

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4Your Girlfriend's Thigh

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5Her Little Turquoise Scarf

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6Her Little Turquoise Dress

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7Her Little Turquoise Breasts

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8A Day in the Life of Your Suitcase

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9I Know I Ought to Love You

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10The World's Entire Wasp Population

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11The Man Who Looks for Waterfalls

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12When He Follows Me into the Café Looking Nervous

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13The Waterfall Man

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14I Will Be Arriving Next Thursday in My Wedding Dress

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15Fun

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16Tulips

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17Vaseline

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18Moon

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19Stars

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20Songbirds

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21Budgie

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22Galloping Alopecia

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23The Room

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24The Angel with Large Hands

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25Sky

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26Portrait of My Lover as a Distant Mountain

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27Portrait of My Lover as a Doll

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28Portrait of My Lover as a Dress

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29Portrait of My Lover as a Flower Arrangement

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30Portrait of My Lover as a Glass of Water

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31Portrait of My Lover as a Goose

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32Portrait of My Lover as a Holy Mother

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33Portrait of My Lover as a Hook

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34Portrait of My Lover's Mouth

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35Portrait of My Lover as a Pearl

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36Portrait of My Lover as a Tutu

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37Portrait of My Lover as a Spoon

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38I Couldn't Stand the Smell of the Pinks

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39Modest Acts of Extreme Slowness

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40Sixteen Reasons for Being a Nun

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41Snow-white Katarinas

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42The Elephant Whose Sturgeon-like Blood

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43Nasty Little Moments on Park Benches

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44Everything He Touches Turns to Gold

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45The Most Beautiful Woman in the History of Lawn Tennis

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46Living, Breathing Lumbar Rolls and Wedges

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47Flank-Sucker

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48Lily Bulbs

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49Midnight

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50Never Trust a Man Without an Elephant

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51Never Be Alone in a Heatwave

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52The Quality of My Adoration

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53God Bless Lower Alcohol Pina Colada

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