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Five Poems

Sam Riviere


I would like to ruin your life
let it not be said I lack the necessary
imagination to be jealous
I would ask you to tell no-one about us
and if you tell no-one about us
I’ll fight hard to hide my disappointment
I would like you to renounce your past
as quite a big mistake
it will mean something although I
will never completely forgive you
I think you represent
the possibility in my life of renewal
I would like people to say
“she came back a different person”
we will appear at the weddings
of people we don’t care about
our faces radiant from fucking



Help Yourself from Grave Berries on Vimeo.



It never ceases to astonish or offend me
seeing the couples circulate the otherwise
dead town centre like leaves in a big ashtray
in a sort of drugged calm they’re dreamy I guess
linked limply they don’t see where the other looks
& the sun doesn’t bother to lift its head from the table
but is leaking torpid ‘honeyed’ light from behind clouds
imagine it living for years and years with the same person



you aren’t thinking clearly as you enter the bank
on the day leslie nielson dies
the coldest december ‘in living memory’
mark’s badge reads
‘have a good time all the time’
maybe you should think about getting a motto
maybe you should think about painting the fridge blue again
maybe then you’d feel less like the shape of a person
suggested by the fall of light on a bookcase
you find you’re thinking a lot about your friend the monk
who won’t share with you his secret
to be sure he is a very complex gentleman
but hardly deep even if he can burn leaves
with nothing but the power of his mind
he is a remorseless self-publicist
maybe that’s his secret
or his secret is he doesn’t have one
he claims to remember where he buried
a live beetle in a matchbox
but afflicted as you are with awful memories
you’re not sure you believe him
filling out the paying-in slip is difficult
maybe you should stop growing your fingernails
“shhh” he went this morning
pretending to be listening



what can I suggest we do instead
I’m not saying anyone should stop
give up and find a job every day
I lug my ache around the cemetery
it seems I learnt this slump I had
to not think it being born not guilty
and preferring certain polluted fruits
you’re not supposed to like it
but it could make you feel ‘quaint’
the alternative is beyond words
bad though no-one will force you
to wear a theft square on your face
if I sense you’re struggling that’s
because it doesn’t rhyme with you
in any way today I didn’t look
in anyone’s eyes so *what* debts
I didn’t see you there we haven’t
met is it unbearable to read
the names on graves as titles
it’s all material the monumental
there’s no telling and well if you
want what’s stopping you nothing

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