Question & Answer 4 – George Szirtes

Question 4

Dead men do not sport false beards
under shallow graves, when the birds
rob them of their Earth. I know this
like I know my Grandfather’s touch

pressed against a cold glass of beer at
four in the morning. He’d blame it on
Hungary, the booze, it was just the way
his culture demands he relax. But I still

blame it on the son-in-law who stole
his daughter and gave her away to the
broken red fjord. Do you blame your
culture for any of your flaws? Or do you

revel in the loss of instinct? I could bare
my claws and sharpen my teeth for my
father, a man who holds culture like he
holds other women. Loose and with a

wandering eye.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 4

Loose and equipped with dark-brown wandering eyes,
My father imagined himself otherwise
Than I can now that he is six years dead,
His one moustache attached to one bare head.

Of course his life was darker and was shaped
By claws and graves that somehow he escaped.
Was almost dead, his fate as good as sealed
When he took off and sprinted down a field.

He wore his trilby so. He never drank
More than he could hold or safely bank.
He was a sober man of serious intent
And what was not real I’ve had to invent.

To know is knowing that you do not know,
That stories are built on stories you let go,
Let slip the wandering deep dark-brown eyes.
Let them all go. Let go. Stories are lies.

– George Szirtes