Cruelty To Animals
(Automat by Edward Hopper)

You sit in your coat with the tea at the table
and legs crossed and lips drawn and
lights eating light while the teeth
set inside and donít bite,

I could be at the next table
watching a world avoid your gaze and watching
the space before me unfold its

I think God spent as much time on the fruit bowl
and radiator as he did
you and me.


When you need someone to set the fires
Iíll be there in my button-down shirt and
tie with a smile and blue eyes that have seen
a fair and telling range of the humans-

Humans. Weíre the only ones who Ďget ití
but so many of us have Ďforgotí or
donít believe or disagree or think weíre
God on holiday or just... donít get it.

Now I donít get it either but I know
thereís something missing. Common sense led us
to this, the button, the warheads with no
mothers prepare their pseudo-act of God

So I will tell you that my degree is
unrelated but taught a certain grim
efficiency, little tricks, formatting,
the occasional regard for silence.

And you will understand that I have my
eccentricities. I wonít pretend to
see every face, can you even see one?
Iím not sure Iíd know my own, in the end.

Afterwards Iíll tuck my children in and
put my arms around my wife, watch TV,
her breathing is my anchor, happiness,
a face whose outline Iíll trace when this fades.

No contradiction. I was born with a
smile, one youíll never be able to see.
Iím warm when the nights draw in. There might be
billions of you but thereís one of me.

Silent Treatment

I do not deserve the silent treatment,
the shrill tick of my beat. I want to sleep
in the slow strobe light of nurse's patrols,
know I'm someone's job. I exist, at least.

It's not fair to leave it to those who love,
who need love, with their touch only so deep
but their sense of essence, coiling and cold
like steel springs, tensed, one snapped barb from the beast.

It fears the dark, its shadow, what it allows,
the clean break, the blood stain on the sheets.
The throat, kissed better, or closed, then the pause-
Your turn, it carries on, on, on. Your peace.

I do not deserve the silent treatment
and it's thick... dreamless... sleep.

But you do deserve mine.

Robert Sneezum, who occasionally writes under the pen name Bob Towey, is a 29 year old human being from Cambridge, England.

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