Poems by Chris Andrews

Strange Perfecter
Who was that strange perfecter occasionally
stepping in to give my life a sideways nudge?
Or was it just a series of accidents?
Despite the multiplying data there’s not
necessarily anyone on your case
in a world where biometric differences
can cover up the gulf that is fixed between
darlings of Morpheus and insomniacs
strapped into the home theatre of their thought,
or between people who feel that the real life
is intimated by bare, windswept uplands
and those who want to live where rhinoplasty
is already as normal as filling teeth.
I was the perfect stranger continually
stumbling by chance back into my life to find
it was getting on pretty well without me
in a world where what people wear correlates
poorly with what they’re capable of doing
to someone who’ll never be useful to them,
where some can sing an ache to sleep and others
are quite sure they know what intelligence is.



Zombie Charmers
Don’t go thinking we’re like the sad guys you use
to test sunny, fun-loving ideas of sex —
So how would you feel about him doing it
with your ghost? — whose bluish foreheads are inscribed
with the epitaph of the corporate undead:
He lost his life trying to get a CV.
Whenever you’re making a meal of those guys,
we shall be among you. We do jocular
menace: keep laughing or the gloves come off. Look,
it’s better all round if we win because we
are seriously bad losers, mate. On campus
we like the word eliminativism
and shuddering at the conceptually poor.
Some say we’re fabulously implausible
like a pint of stout lighting up the world or
innervated space or a donkey on fire
only more so. But we don’t need your belief.
Don’t come trying to put yourself in our shoes.
You don’t know what it’s like and you never will.
We’re atom-for-atom duplicates of you
but there’s nothing at all it’s like to be us.



Like Le Tellier Says
I came away from that seminar thinking
Losers would have to be better company.
A headache was having itself in my head.
The city was glowing like an ember-cave,
but the wind smelt like snow. Like Le Tellier says
The day you begin to believe you deserve
your good luck, that’s when you become an arsehole.
Only the magic of fear had been holding
me down in my seat. I could get up and walk
away from that rigorous river of grey
flowing on behind me, professionally.
Happily the city was riddled with bars
competing for the title of best hidden.
I’d rather be doing brute mood improvement.
I’d rather be astray in a dictionary
— ember week: a week in which ember days fall —
or taking a gap for a walk in the hope
of stumbling on the missing piece by a stroke
of crackpot luck, never mind how fat the chance.
Go figure the proportion of ice crystals
with three- not six-fold symmetry in the sky.