Daniel Andersson

In Time of Empire and Verse
(based on Statius, Silvae)


Equine bulk supports a Colossus, conspicuous
Marvel of the age. Less horse though, perhaps,
Than house,
               postcode that’s one of town’s
               most wantable, most wanted.

These words ‘an empire is’
That arcs triumphant from Thames to Tigris,
               And those who are about to do PR salute you,
For statement’s in fashion:
               Statements of suasion, of Kleenex and big-up,
The poetry of Prozac, of praise and of blame,
               Statements to tease you, making you want since you’re wanting.

Leave me occasions then, some little recordings
               Of weddings, bar-mitzvahs and funerals.
But what statement is better than the image that’s right,
               That’s launched a thousand stomachs?
Like the admen say in Soho, I'll leave you still wanting.
               This little porn kinema will stick to your shoes


Epithalamial congratulations: your marriage evokes
Emotions (quite unmixed) in me: My words
If not quite aere perennius
Will last until the next mortgage rates rise.


Manilius Vopiscus had,
                               so you once said,
A Tiburtine villa with ‘lovely high ceilings’.
I think you just meant ‘big’ (reading ‘ingentia’ for ‘iugentia’ in line 56),
Remortgage on your mind.


Rutilius has pushed his body too far this time:
A & E followed by a week, a week at least, of fluids and rest.
Thank God they’ve upgraded GHB to Class C.

He’s never fought a war, any army would discharge him
Sooner than he’d discharge himself. His lifestyle’s a disgrace
When there’s others whose limbs lie scattered and spattered in Parthia. And yet.


A week is a long time in the dog days, and I pass from the headlines’ discussion
Of PFI projects, bringing everything to all, and invoke the soft Naiads,
Tutelary spirits of this Tooting Bec lido.
Underwater goggles for breasting OAPS,
A can-top fizz of bubbles as someone shatters the deep-end.

They’ve closed plenty others, but my fortunate friends and I,
Fortunati ambo, kick back in the sun,
Thanks to glorious councillors whose names
(In conjunction with preferred private-sector partners)
Butterfly proudly end to end of the pool.


The Kalends of December
With a Dome to remember:
Another day,
Another dollar,
Things can ONLY get better.


I can't get no sleep.
“Prudence, prudence”, scold pre-dawn pigeons,
Reproving time lost and the feud with health
As even the torment seeks downtime and shut-eye.

Better the pathetic if long hallowed erotic
Countryside fallacies than this lostness, this absence,
This pre-doomed arc that reaches and reaches,
Then descends and dissects.