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Image by Maisie Hill

Please Can I Have a Man

Selima Hill


Please Can I Have a Man

Selima Hill


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.

Recordings

Selima Hill Reading from Her Poems

1Introduction

2Why I Left You

3Please Can I Have a Man

4Your Girlfriend's Thigh

5Her Little Turquoise Scarf

6Her Little Turquoise Dress

7Her Little Turquoise Breasts

8A Day in the Life of Your Suitcase

9I Know I Ought to Love You

10The World's Entire Wasp Population

11The Man Who Looks for Waterfalls

12When He Follows Me into the Café Looking Nervous

13The Waterfall Man

14I Will Be Arriving Next Thursday in My Wedding Dress

15Fun

16Tulips

17Vaseline

18Moon

19Stars

20Songbirds

21Budgie

22Galloping Alopecia

23The Room

24The Angel with Large Hands

25Sky

26Portrait of My Lover as a Distant Mountain

27Portrait of My Lover as a Doll

28Portrait of My Lover as a Dress

29Portrait of My Lover as a Flower Arrangement

30Portrait of My Lover as a Glass of Water

31Portrait of My Lover as a Goose

32Portrait of My Lover as a Holy Mother

33Portrait of My Lover as a Hook

34Portrait of My Lover's Mouth

35Portrait of My Lover as a Pearl

36Portrait of My Lover as a Tutu

37Portrait of My Lover as a Spoon

38I Couldn't Stand the Smell of the Pinks

39Modest Acts of Extreme Slowness

40Sixteen Reasons for Being a Nun

41Snow-white Katarinas

42The Elephant Whose Sturgeon-like Blood

43Nasty Little Moments on Park Benches

44Everything He Touches Turns to Gold

45The Most Beautiful Woman in the History of Lawn Tennis

46Living, Breathing Lumbar Rolls and Wedges

47Flank-Sucker

48Lily Bulbs

49Midnight

50Never Trust a Man Without an Elephant

51Never Be Alone in a Heatwave

52The Quality of My Adoration

53God Bless Lower Alcohol Pina Colada