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17 July 2014

“The rehabilitation of the muse“: a poem by Joe Dunthorne

By Joe Dunthorne

I found the guy who inspired your famous poem,
asked him to remove his shades so that I too might bathe
in his “flooded showrooms” but he must get that all the time.

He picked up pace as I tracked him through town.
The damp on his back evoked “the shadow of the A bomb”
but smaller in real life. Disappointment is also an epiphany,

I reassured him. He seemed uncertain but took off his bins,
fixed me with his prize-winners. Only polite to open
                my notebook.
Happy now? he asked, with intonation not worth recording.

A lesser poet might have lost hope. But his sleek hair
had grown since you two met and I watched him tie it up.
Jackpot. You can call it beginner’s luck. His top knot struck oil.

Joe Dunthorne is the author of two novels, Submarine and Wild Abandon. A collection of his poems was published in the Faber New Poets series in 2010.

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