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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Featuring Leo Clayton

Grey Matters: Nursing Home Poems

Dementia Unit

Face like some melting clock she moans
I just want to go home.

I fetch her red slippers and tell her
click ‘em three times.

To stick around in this game, as McEnroe says,
you can’t be serious.

Three years, I’ve seen

more wrinkled Jeans than a laundromat
more unsettled Bills than a bank
more preserved Olives than a deli
more drugged-up Sheilas than a Taree nightclub
more foggy Irises than an optometrist
more bitter Dawns than a yoga instructor
and more dead Roses than a florist.


Robert in his bed bedridden myself guilty I should get to know Robert saying he’d 
love to come out and join in the activities much nicer than I’d pictured Robert with 
Crohn’s disease and MS his ex-wife on the golf course while Robert gets to know the 
hospital staff who all love Robert gets mobile dead-legs in a wheel chair but Robert’s 
out watering the plants as I’m getting to know Robert’s great love of trains his self-
taught electronics his hatred of rap music or be-bop as it’s called by Robert.

Robert as a text message just letting you know Robert died God bless Robert as kind 
words “Robert will always be with you in the relationship you had with” Robert in the 
ground a plaque a kind man me on the cemetery lawn talking to Robert in my dream 
asks what I’ve being doing I’m struggling with uni and family what about you Robert 
in heaven’s cloudy stereotype saying “I don’t do anything anymore” as Robert 
becomes Robert’s room filled with foreign objects and a person that isn’t Robert.

Found Poem, Falls Training

Don’t try to catch them, guide
them down gently but
don’t let them drag
you down

Bootleg Gilgamesh

It’s been so long since quests for holy grails
and with no more rivers to cross we rest and
edit future eulogies.

Death no longer stays across a flat earth
but waits 20 minutes before credits roll
(or right before them when envelope
is pushed).

The goal posts move to space as bushed explorers
throw hands in air saying fuck it, we’re too tired to
dodge the bucket.

Scientists try, as they do,
and buy time for us to don blue
jerseys yell try-time! and find truth in
sharks sharks forever.

I’m tired but the barking of three dogs
in the room below keeps me up
searching for the dustiest of cups
to throw at them.

I hate waiting but I’m soothed
by a lover’s arm marked with
a sideways eight, it soon rots
and joins tattoos of phoenixes and
we are made of star stuff.

Maybe the best we can hope for is going stiff
while dreaming, getting a ripper quote like
Death had to take him sleeping
or there would have been a biff!

Epigrams of Colonel

XIV li

                    Slim pickens.
      Hello fried chicken!

CIX xxv

Your boyfriend’s free time
is like popcorn chicken,
better if you don’t know what’s in it.

I lxxi

You crack the wishbone
and hope for a better life.
The bird should have
thought of that.

I lxxii

Changing your name to KFC
you think yourself a restaurant.
MSG might call itself a herb.

I xxxvii

You wipe your mouth with a moist towelette,
its material is much fresher than yours.

I cx

You don’t like my one-liners critic?
At least my zingers burn egos and not sphincters.

VII lxxix

Buying a bucket while drunk
I lay-by self-loathing.
Later I lay by greasy clothing.

Bio: Leo Clayton graduated from Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong and has worked in a nursing home for over three years. He's currently studying a Masters in Health Services Administration and writes

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