Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

Three poems by James Peake

     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.