Peter Wyton

The Possum in the Pastry Tray

A snapshot by Mitch Connor on Facebook

The possum in the pastry tray
has eaten well, but cannot pay
the bill. Placidly, impudence
is facing up to consequence,
lolling against a cardboard lid,
pawing his swollen gut amid
the crumbled residue that he
has plundered from the bakery.

Adam ate from the tree of life
and bloke-like, tried to blame his wife,
but alibis won’t help this chap,
whose Eve’s not here to take the rap,
singular suspect in the case,
evidence all over his face,
an unrepentant ball of fur
smirking at the photographer.

Kiss Me Dead

I died. Went up before the Big Judge. Drew purgatory.
Not much different from New York. Less rain, maybe.
Same two-bit hoods without a ticket or a rod.
Same heist-artists. Same nice but washed out redheads.
I got an office in a precinct a loan shark woulda spat on,
Hired a secretary, all chest but no brains. Velda she wasn’t.
Took a fortnight getting me a Smith-Corona.
Thought I’d ply my earthly trade, bash out a crime novel
To keep the smoke going up the chimney.
Hadn’t got past the first chapter heading before the door
Crashed open and in came this downtown D.A.,
With a name that sounded like B.L.Zeebub,
(Big Apple again. Dutchies everywhere you look.),
Wanting me to put a tail on some private detective.
“You gotta tail on yourself,” I wisecracked.
“Don’t give me no sauce, low-life,” he snarled,
Incinerating my typewriter ribbon with a scorching glance,
“Writing don’t pay in this neck of the woods.
Here’s a mug-shot and some up-front mazuma.
Get on with it, or I’ll come back and fry your ass.”
I got on with it. Eyeballed the photo. Seemed familiar,
But when you’re croaked, your memory suffers.
I palmed a .45, drank in some low-life bars,
Screwed a few broads, shot a bent Fed or two,
Usual modus operandi, finally caught up with
The gum-shoe in a cemetery. I was too late.
He was history. His tombstone read, “Mike Hammer.”
Then it clicked. That devil of a D.A.
Had been stringing me along for laughs. I’d been
Investigating my own most notorious literary creation.
When I get my mitts on that fork-tongued bum
He’s gonna get a slug in each horn, or my name’s not

Les Nympheas

They brighten placid pool or sheltered mere,
the tears which Eve shed, quitting Paradise,
opening tardily to midday air,
partial to very early closing days.
These were the blemishes upon the brow
of Keats’ palely loitering knight,
the measurement of life Ben Jonson knew,
the wreath for Malory’s Maid of Astolat.
Apothecaries named them “nenuphar”,
distilled their oils, prescribing them to ease
skin inflammations, and intemperance
in frantic persons.
Also sovereign for
treating sunburn. Last, but not least, Monet’s
obsession, and his legacy to France.

© Peter Wyton

Peter Wyton describes himself as a page and performance poet based in the cathedral city of Gloucester, England. One of his poems will appear in the revised edition of the Oxford Book of War Poetry, due for publication in June 2014.

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