(Musing on the way objects, people and environments quickly become caricatures of themselves as the media fixes them in the aspic of populism, led to this poem.)


Venice is a recumbent dead octopus engorged in the sun of a hot May day
Its tentacles rising and falling, bridging canals and submerging in a lagoon
Pinkly soft, offering itself, benign and bloated, without threat
To its Bank Holiday feeder fish, picking morsels off its exposed parts

It has the Borges quality of absurd paradox, a tenacious refusal to adapt
Despite the domino effects of time, a self-fulfilling prophecy of flotation
It only exists for the solipsism of its visitors, in coffee table books
In films and in lines of water-soaked verse. Central is
St Mark’s Square, a great bowling alley with one enormous skittle
Like a misplaced Diane Arbus close to one end of a runnel
Edged by exclusive terraced grandeur, windowed deathly open eyes
Blind to the liquid flow of human desire to embrace and know

Venice is not for depth, it is a metaphor for surface
A circulatory theme park, the antithesis of bone and blood
Whose cold carcass is caught in the voracious kiss of nature’s maw

Starting again with a clean bay, who would draw this profile now?


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