I used to dream a lot, or; The Snooker Poem

I used to dream a lot, or; The Snooker Poem

but now I don’t much, not anymore. I find myself bowed over a snooker table,
______getting beaten fairly,
carefully. A hushed gallery climbs around me, dense with the mute dust of
______retirement.
I’m tacked with sweat to the wooden rail, fingers curled around the cushions,
______unable to speak
so I loll a heavy glance at the referee, first squinting into the glare then eyes
______widening desperately.
White-gloved with one arm bent behind his back, he just seizes the cue-ball,
______polishes
then returns to its spot. Then I’m watching a dreamer feather the white ball, cue
______meeting, and withdrawing,
meeting, and withdrawing, like the slow horse head dips to drink its own
______rippling effigy,
emerging, then returning, beyond the reflection to some other place where
______shock click knock
echoes as a lapping tongue over still white water and chalk dust rises from the
______green nap to retire
in mist, silently, out of respect. Above, the table tapers to an odd perspective like
______a surreal crucifixion; a TV camera
finds an audience member sleeping and we take a long look at his dim face. He
______awakes when applause
spreads like news of a strike. The coloured planets resume their clicked echo
______drop, and the fated
referee’s ferry knocks against its mooring with every traveller counted out
______aloud to the pocketed
night: the cursed boatman’s droning oath. Paralysed now, seated, elbows bonded
______to my knees, cue
between my palsied hands in prayer resting cold on my forehead, I see my
______varnished eye grey,
distant, it blinks like the eyes of dusked penumbral doves or studio light
______shadow faces roosting
and coughing. The Great Referee constellation is motionless, a star for each
______white-gloved hand,
he unfurls his prophesy from buffed coils in the black: the foretold sweep of the
______television satellite, how it will
trace an arc from one white glove to the other, and how I will watch someone
______else’s dream in silence, out of respect.

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