Heir Apparent

Issue #45 April 2017

1943 | Fanny Howe

Fairy, evil fairy, yes you did

And the night you brought

Never left the bed.

The hailstones are drilling

Silver bells are ringing

Holly and elves

And cotton-wool snow

And wolves in the whirlpool.

A hurdy-gurdy

Outside the building

Churned in bad weather.

To remind us of Germans

He showed us his belt

And his pipes, no monkey

We threw him money.

It always hurt when you climbed

My rope of hair

To get under the covers.

Working on the inner wall

Just in case someone else entered.

Too hard to break into:

A brick wall, an arsenal, a girl.

A Mr. H strode down the street

At night with his hands behind his back

And once lured

Little wet-panted Betsy into his flat.

She was, he said, his best friend of five.

Green or gray depends on the amount

Of excess given.

How much of the rain on her legs was his.

I remember kissing away the mist

On the windowpane,

A rare whistle into eternity.


What an emulation from earth is de—h

Where love has sunk its teeth.

Has ground into the ground and spat a seed.

They say sex once a week

Makes a person as happy as an apple and a doctor

When they meet.


Please orange sky divine

over the crossbows and idling cars,

Drench the world in the color of fire

But not its heat.

Terrify the people, burn up their hate.

Boys have died to become men.

What degradation to be thinking

How to O.D.

Technically, infallibly,

To expect an answer to: What am I living for?

Memory of a future no longer aggressive.

A curled fist like a cave

With racists in it.

If I looked inside, the cracks

Exploded into relatives

And a trolley of shadow

headed for us.

We held our cameras back

And looked through our eyes instead.

The longer we live, the weirder it is

That people disappear forever.

Such violent disruption of order!

Angels sometimes arrive

Not knowing what they are.

The wind blows easterly

There is a jar of mums

On a table, and Father Lobo

Calls to say goodbye

On his way to Mumbai.

If he dies on his way.

Six pennies is all I had left

And fear until my cousin

Turned them to gold.

“More faith, more faith!” they jingled.

We laced our lives together

(him here, me there)

with holes to begin with.

You always begin with air.

Decades separated by yards

Of string. Snowy stitches

Criss-crossing spaces

And never touching

Each lost in guessing

Each hovering over a split

Before another needle

Cuts to the quick.

They are tailors by temperament

And ability, unrolling great sheets

Of paper for the streak of a razor

And measuring corners.

Feet made room for the leather

Later and bellies

Shook up a rhythm

To match the rain on glass.

Pins in their teeth to stop them

From laughing, everyone

Lying through their teeth.

Were they I made to be

killers now so strange?

No one is waiting for me

At the end of any day.

Just paper doilies

And Demerara sugar

In a tiny paper bag

For the next party.

On a wet and Bronte day

When sisters lean face down

And hold onto the printing press

The gentleness of their voices

Is the way of poetry:

A turn to silence.

Tweens are halves.



By hair and flesh.

They smoke skunk in the park

Then sleep like elves.

Falling through existentialism

Back to religion.

One drove a bus-load of Christians

To practice

Christianity. They had to bring guns,

Ropes and lashes.

They had a box of Chinese

And sticky rice

To spoon up during discussion

Wiped clean the would-be Christians

Headed to the targets

With one shouting instructions.

It was Nasty Nancy the minister

Who could not explain his destiny.

Not just a dream but children

Eating and playing

Soldiers and dolls, crumbs

From yellow toast.

In the grass at Queen’s Park, litter

Goes in black bins

With the bombs, but here

In Little Town,

The future is actively advancing

To the window-glass.

Bang, bang.


Angels as we know them

Stand in the wings

Like failures

Administering ethereal suffocation

To themselves.

Faithful mainstream

Control the frequency of

Bandwaves, good work

At holding the standard.

Fists on chins working & resting

Energy leaked

Every evening

Into dreams.

No quite enough achieving.

The real failureds

Worked just as hard as others

And were forgotten.

Failures I mean:

Solitary wrecks,


Pontificating over drafts and revisions

Until they ruin the original.

Clover sticks out of bones

No longer violet but brown

Are dung today gone tomorrow

Failures like these are fertile

In terms of tomorrow’s children.

Their work continues after them

Insisting on fruition.

The visionary ones

Could care less

Know more than they can express

So proceed on to the next experiment

Without any sense of Best.

Some creatures here below see

Spots of light as evidence

Of heaven


Enough they laugh.

They really are like

Ants sense when a crumb is coming

Before the bread is cut.

Some say winners

Is your worst enemy

(in every detail your superior at strategy)

lives well is loved and expects the evenness of heaven.

Success dies

When recognized


What is the difference

Between a man who shoots others and then himself

And one who shoots others and runs away?

Between one who is caught and executed

Between one who is locked up for life?

Between one who believes in the justice of God?

Between one who is in despair?

What is the difference between mercy and pity?

Between pity and compassion?

Between mystics and crazies?

Between a bomber with a bomb strapped to himself?

And a boy who rides his skateboard through the traffic?

Who has fear, who has courage,

Whose God is different from the other?

Which one is open to surprise?

Who massacres schoolchildren just for fun?

Teacher, teacher, answer us.