Question & Answer 5 – George Szirtes

Question 5

You and I, George, seem to always return
to Buda, to Pest, to our fathers and the shape of their pasts.
Either the recreation of men we create stories for,
or the loss of them in lives
we lead without their input.

Mine still burns my eyelids
and causes the crow on my right hand to squawk sweet nothings
of trauma and tertiary colours into my sleeping ears.
I swallowed sleeping tablets for the last week,
and all I got was a memory of a suicide attempt
when I was 13.

I wanted to fling myself from a balcony
in a British-colonised tourist trap in Spain.
I told my djömoðirullin
and she laughed in my face.

How’s that for comedy?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 5

We return to what returns. Our ghosts proceed
down streets they lately inhabited.
We meet them in parks and cafes,
in restaurants where we once glimpsed them eating
and where they now look out to see us pass,
recognising something of themselves.

But which of us is which confuses them,
and so they rise, dazzled, from their chairs
and head outside in hope of following us
to a home they might belong to.

Our eyelids burn.
We sense the vertigo they suffer.
We suffer with them. We explode with laughter
Then we wake and rise.

– George Szirtes