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A new poem by Joe Carrick-Varty

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If no answer please leave parcel behind rhododendron –
if storm hits and rhododendron blows away
please leave parcel inside wheelie bin with brick on top –
if crying baby can be heard on approach
tap three times on bottom-left panel of shed window –
DO NOT ring doorbell – if rainbow windmill
spins slower than usual open phone and call alcoholic father –
if rainbow windmill stops spinning at any moment
come back in month with picture of alcoholic father
eating fish and chips in park – if phone rings out
wait for nesting swallows to return from Africa
then call again – DO NOT mention alcoholic father
to friends colleagues woman you love – DO NOT
kiss woman you love – DO NOT eat sleep
shit watch TV until alcoholic father is spotted
leaving Tesco with Guinness and Hula Hoops –
DO NOT I repeat DO NOT drive to 24-hour Shell Garage
spend following afternoon outside alcoholic father’s flat
old ladies watching – bay windows blue with Countdown.

Joe Carrick-Varty is a British-born Irish poet living in London. He is the author of two pamphlets, "Somewhere Far" (The Poetry Business), which won the 2018 New Poets Prize, and "54 Questions For the Man Who Sold a Shotgun to My Father", forthcoming from Out-Spoken Press.

This article appears in the 10 July 2020 issue of the New Statesman, State of the nation

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