Marty Smith

Happy New Year

Have a good New Year? asks Charlie in the butchery
whistling, slices strokes with his knife
clean as water, stripping fat from muscle
cutting away from his chain-mail glove.

I like to see real work, the carcase hooked
and hanging open mouthed
the moulded sides cased in fat: a rack of statues,
smell hardening hour by hour.

I played pool and smoked and drank, I said.
He flick-flacked his knife in two quick moves.
Good on you, you gotta have some fun. Look at me.
If smoking’s the worst thing I do, I’m not too bad.

Know some people, lost several of my friends.
They ran, ate healthy, vegetables, the lot,
did lots of exercise, nah.
The heart’s only got so many beats to use up.

Nice photo of you in the paper. I cut it out
and put it under my pillow.
I laughed. Charlie’s had three wives: one for smoking
one for drinking and one for telling lies.

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