Philip Salom



Above and Below


Philip Salom


The woman upstairs is sour and lives in grimaces,

her nerdy girlfriends visit, her sour-source-of-it-all

father maintains the furnishings. The man downstairs

knows life is elocution. He is the Queen’s English.

His wife is Silesian. They are always at war.


Lowering steps into the basement, or lowering

thought after thought into the blue television

I imagine new theories of everything all the way

into knowledge of nothing. Unhappy persons

live everywhere. I between cliche and reason.


My Zen. On Wednesday the room blanks out.

Power off in the street, I lean against the window.

Cities are a mystery: the bright choirs of high-rise

and darkness. I go out jogging. On the second lap

the park lights suddenly blaze but stuck in pre-


-orgasmic running I can’t stop. I’m hopeless, but muscular.

Other runners are slapping towards me like aliens

their human shadows stretching on the grass and track

where I might run out my life in laps of tears.

Inside the track and set in the darkness for dinner:


one collapsible table, their fold-out chairs, sit four

adults eating a meal from dinner plates under gas

lamps, glowing glasses of wine. And a terrier in a tuxedo

couchant in its little coffin beside them in the grass

its white lining tucked around like a myelin sheath.


Dead, they say, on my next lap, this was his favourite

park for a walk. So I run past that three-course meal

on a dog’s account, with his dead yaps at my heels

and chasing my head. No, aliens have nothing on this.

But now I see them, all of their arriving, blazing.


I run. Above and below. I am as happy as a helicoptor.

I run. I lift off. I disappear.



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