Three poems by James Peake

Peake2

 
 
     The Skin of Epimenides
 

Read The Seven Sages and you’re asked to believe
this loner cured all Athens of disease,
backwards prophet who saw past not future,
first things first, like the irruption of order
into cosmos. But a seer doesn’t want for time
and is free to pen nothing in yours or my lifetime.
There was an ageless stint in a cave, fifty-seven
years until, out of sync with prevailing fashion,
he flashed scars like the aftermath of disease,
a real enough itch he was unable to relieve
by pinching (from an ox-hoof) a greyish powder
of diminishing bliss, of sustaining disorder.
The scars were harmless, tattoos in foreign fashion,
self-inflicted glyphs numbering fifty-seven.
Sparta, none-the-wiser, flayed him for the future
to fathom like a drum skin, test to a powder.

 


 
 
     Il Padre  
 
After Fellini’s 8½
 

Marcello calls after
his reappeared father.
He wants him to pause 
and extend this chance
to add to what he knows of his father, 
to what his father knows of him.
His father is dapper and no older. 
Their ages are closer.
The dead man is a gift,
the flash of a mirror
into a deadened commute.
We hardly talked.
When Marcello straightens again,
he is no man’s son.

 


 

     The Club
 

Time is what things take
and a short set
of mirrored stairs
is enough to boundary
this world and another.
The club smells of cola,
sweet, and the shoeless dancer
dances to her own reflection,
slower in the glass 
by a telltale fraction.

 

James Peake

About James Peake

James Peake has worked in trade publishing for several years, predominantly for Penguin Random House and Pan Macmillan, as well as leading independents and literary agencies. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in numerous anthologies and magazines including The Next Review, The Best New British & Irish Poets 2017, and Scintilla. A full-length collection is scheduled to appear in summer 2019.