By Mandy Coe
where nothing happens.
that fill our lives.
Not the field bright with poppies, but
the times you walked, seeing
no leaves, no sky, only one foot
We are sleeping
(it’s not midnight and
there is no dream).
We enter a room – no one is in it.
We run a tap,
queue to buy a stamp.
These are the straw moments
that give substance
to our astonishments;
moments the homesick dream of;
the bereaved, the diagnosed.
A lesson in staring from Mandy Coe:
Drunks and dogs don’t like it.
If you are caught staring, it is no good pretending
to check your watch or study the ceiling.
These are signs of a novice.
Simply shift your gaze
to a mid-distance point. Cultivating a light frown
will give the impression of deep thought.
For most sentient beings, a stare
carries voltage. The subject will sense
anything from a mild buzz to a jolt. Other symptoms
include increased heart-rate, chills
and hair becoming electro-statically charged.
Staring at a part of a person’s body
leaves you open to a high wattage stare-back.
are to be avoided in confined spaces.
Babies under the age of three
experience stares as noise.
They can be woken from a deep sleep by a stare
and will look around the room to identify its source.
Train windows are useful for bending stares
round corners. But only heavily misted glass
prevents them from being sensed.
Keep stares short.
Set a maximum distance between you and the subject.
Tip: gazing and staring are two different things.
It is vital to remember this in relationships, especially
when your partner is naked.
first published in The Weight of Cows
Shoestring Press 2004
British poet Mandy Coe makes a good argument for cheese and pickle sandwiches over men. I think I’m with her on this one.
Go To Bed With a Cheese and Pickle Sandwich
It is life enhancing.
It doesn’t chat you up.
You have to make it.
A cheese and pickle sandwich
is never disappointing.
You don’t lie there thinking:
Am I too fat?
Your thoughts are clear,
your choices simple:
to cut it in half
or not to cut it in half,
how thin to slice the cheese
and where you should place the pickle.
From a cheese and pickle sandwich
you do not expect flowers,
poems and acts of adoration.
You expect what you get:
cheese… and pickle.
You want, you eat,
and afterwards you have eaten.
No lying awake resentful,
listening to it snore.
It comes recommended.
Mandy Coe, from Pinning the Tail on the Donkey (Spike)
and 101 Poems that Could Save Your Life
Edited by Daisy Goodwin, Harper Collins