by Philip Philmar


The dead are always with us

gazing from the gods

and peering at our performances

over the mantlepiece proscenium.

Shuffling and muttering at the back

of the shadowy auditorium.


Sitting with the dead.

They stare disapprovingly from empty sockets

rattling their bones

clacking their teeth

kneecap castanets clicking

tipping separated finger bones onto the table tops like dominoes.

Tumbling into trip-me heaps

and rearranging the fluff under the bed with their ribs.

Paper skin rustling

like discarded wrapping

from a disappointing gift -

organs left carelessly

to rot

in the middle of the room.

Uninvited and persistent

the bloody dead -

leave me alone you dead

lie in pieces





Here they come again

with their dances of decay

scattering old birthday cards

and fading the colours.

Peeling the wallpaper behind my back

chipping at the paint work

and pulling loose threads on my clothes.

Loosening picture hooks

and drawer knobs

and letting the air out of my bicycle tyres.

Oh, the dead

they don’t care

- why should they?

Tarnish and old varnish is theirs

rust and dust

must and fust

but not lust - oh no

that’s for the living.


In bed with the dead:

touch their withered sighs

then put your ear to the ground

and hear the whir as they spin in their graves -

dry dynamos of despair.