Brian, the Theorist // Cultivating — Chimene Suleyman


And when you offered that pained expression

through a bus window, I suppose

you would have already known

that you were done; something you would later

blame me for although you had already decided

she would be your life,

the messages, the language lessons.

You were kind to say the foxes reminded you

of me, but what you really meant was they walked

lost when others were asleep. And when the fox

gave birth in my garden, I watched them, like rats, suckle;

she beneath shade of damp leaves, blinking

at daytime, unafraid to be in sight. Well done,

I thought; you’ve come a long way.

Brian, the Theorist

He says his bones were killing him, these twisting carnivals

beneath beechwood skin, it was from the

pleasure found in the top quarter of beer in which his voice was guided, accented

in Happy Mondays or Hungerford Arms. He would tell it to her

straight; this acquaintance, arm-skin slumping like a handbag

from pits. She talked inquisitively, an investigator, from

his neck a garland hospital-badge where he portered down

the road and fasttrack appointments came like extra chips

from your fournightsaweek local. Don’t worry yourself, he says,

this face of an oak leaf; cancer and all that damn shit. It’s better

to sweat in the night. It gets you up in the fucking morning.

Chimene Suleyman is a London based writer and poet. Her debut poetry collection Outside Looking On – where these poems are included – will be released by Influx Press on September 15 2014. She tweets @chimenesuleyman.

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“Vivid and funny, sometimes horrific but always human. Chimene Suleyman is an extraordinary talent”
Evie Wyld