Richard James Allen



go backstage

draw the curtains

turn out the spotlights

take off your make-up

& turn back into a pumpkin

jump into a television

& ask the actors who they really are

unedit the movie

& show the world backwards

put the apples back on the tree

the fish back in the sea

the carrots back in the garden

the icecream back in the cow

or a least the carton

unnail your house

& send the wood back to the forest

pour the honey back in the hive

the silver back in the mines

let out the bathwater

throw the food out of the fridge

the feathers out of your pillow

the fillings out of your teeth

the rotor out of your car

unbottle the wine

unroll your cigarette

unwind the clock

unlock the doors

& get undressed to go out

pick up Finnegans Wake

& put the words back in the dictionary

cut each entry out of the encyclopedia

each country from the map

& throw them to the four winds

mix up every name & number in the telephone book

so nobody knows who’s who

unthread your bedclothes

take the cartridge out of your printer

& print out unreadable invitations

asking the in-laws over for dinner

& if they come

& they always do

put on your pajamas

don’t shave

rub the dandruff back into your hair

put the ice-tray into the oven

& roast the chicken in the freezer

fry your underpants

& put the pancakes in the washing machine

unmake the recipes

& serve the ingredients separately

unmix coca-cola into six wine glasses

marked carbonated water, sugar

caramel colouring, artificial flavouring

phosphoric acid & caffeine

tell funny stories

about how you pegged up junior to dry

& sent his clothes off to school

or kicked grandma

& kissed the cat goodnight

then put the dirty dishes

straight back into the cupboard

& throw the whole party out

with last week’s dishwater

beat your machine gun into a plough

bring back Martin Luther King

& Marilyn Monroe & Lenny Bruce

& if that’s not possible

get back into the womb

& ask to be born in better times

or turn yourself inside out

& jump off the Empire State Building







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