Mark Scott

"the best damned poet in the business"

In Far Colorado

Illumination of it came from London,
in a room I didn’t understand,
boy–sized, but bigger than a coffin.

The wallpaper had roan stallions
flanked by cowboys and Indians,
all grounded on a big blue sky.

I lay on the bed like a shovel,
either hand in spitting distance
of a pint of White Horse and a puck of Skoal,

part of the cartoon; but the cloud
drawn over me shed the jobless moans
of a Belfast couple and the stale taunt

of a bloke at Bentham’s godless college:
“You’re oversexed and over here.”
No authentic World War II souvenir,

I liked the way he called me, blonde
and self-conscious, “swarthy and rude.”
It was the Day of the Dead when I moved,

All Souls’; Plantagenet roses hung
heavy as grapefruits by the stoop.
I could hear hymns from the church, sung

to my longing and my pity and my hurt.
So I went back on these, an ocean
and a prairie of highways yet from home,

by what seemed to me then the only way.
I went to my corner in far Colorado
and wrote up the terms of my stay.

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