Chris Holdaway

For Kent Bach,

The words were not ready,—at first
for innocent things like going to a party;
then papers, their job interviews
even eschewing of jury duties; and
before long they were failing too in
meaningful conversations.

They wavered,
stayed hidden;—too much was left implicit,
for you absolutely would not be kept waiting
at the door without reason.

It made you sad and individual, kept you
out at the coast toiling to write
long letters of frustrated lament;
and between you and me,
to call them incomplete wasn’t really enough, was it?
You being to think, was it something I said?
and strangely for the first time we agree,
that our thoughts could never be found
malformed as our utterances can be.



‘Two men carrying a bed.’

Talking to the walls, I know
   that I was tired and made
   to move house without the cover of day.
   A wise friend helps with the burden
   on foot by quietened cul-de-sacs
   looking like burglars in labour,
   sleeping-frame lengthways between us;

   —unsteady on the street beneath
   silent docile homes, broken only
   upon our conversations
   in their pale and faultless wintered rows;
   no moving parts besides the furniture,
   cold and heavy in our arms.

   The bed’s silhouette held easily
   as a table or bookshelf face
   against the grey-lit picket fence,
   and I consider the support
   each weight could have lent
   before my sleepless nights into mornings
   on the porch that I’ve just fled.



By Chris Holdaway

(Auckland, NZ) is the author of HIGH-TENSION/FASHION (Greying Ghost, 2017). He received his MFA in poetry from Notre Dame, & his MA in linguistics from Auckland University.