Here

The poem begins: I loved a man in Liverpool
but he is gone now, and now I am here.

And this 'here' is understood as the man-sized space
occupied by the poet at the time of the poem,

not the 'here' experienced when I read the words
some fifty years later on a flight to Copenhagen.

The poet is not 'here', cramped into standard
a screaming newborn in the seat one-over.

This Easyjet Airbus inspired no laments
from an ageing poet to his dead gay lover,

even if he observed a likeness to his friend
in the emergency landing procedure cartoon.

"…but he is gone now, and now I am here...
watching an Eddie Murphy film in the sky...
"

Funny how a word like 'here' persists,
making poems seem closer than they actually are.

Think of all the places these lines have been read:
a classroom, a prison, a toilet, a park,

all of them equal distance from the dead.
Even in a cylinder, high above Denmark,

en route to a festival to watch Patti Smith,
(who is a bit like a dead gay lover of my own)

Kalundborg beneath me, glittering with sadness,
a map of another man's pain.

I can feel the cabin pressure dropping. Thank God
I can never come back here again.


unpublished poem, © Ross Sutherland 2015, used by permission of the author.

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Ross Sutherland

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1The End of Our Marriage

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2The Circus

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3The Prison Librarian

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4Nude XI

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5Nude III

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6Poem Looked Up On Google Streetview

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7Poem Heard On Heart 105

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8Ox

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9Richard Branson

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10The Rioter's Prayer

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11By The Time You Read This, I Will Be In Switzerland

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12When Paperboys Roam the Earth

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13Things To Do Before You Leave Town

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14Liverish Red-Blooded Riffraff Hoo-ha

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15Two Seconds of the Future

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16The 1,802 Londons

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17Vorgefuehl

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18Child

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19Here

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Books by Ross Sutherland