The Last Consultation

by Dean Browne

Doctor, I give you the bruised fruit
of my torso. Touch and I will dent,
form an ugly brownish hollow. Tap
my knee for a reflex it will fly off
on adventures, barbacking in Prague,
torturing a rival’s orchids, a silvery
flick of studded football boot by night,
heeling a white horse over the meadows,
crushing glass at a Jewish wedding, toeing
lifts on the motorway, a nomad, ankleflash…
Doctor, I’m just cheesewire you manipulate
to secure from ravenous, imagined foxes
your next omelette. It is raining in Cork,
in Dublin it is raining, one umbrella is
as effectual as five. Doctor it is raining
in my body. You’ll catch your death.
Press your stethoscope to my chest,
do you not hear Bach’s Partita No. 2
in D minor as performed inside a whale?
Doctor, I know, I know, I know…
Don’t put all my baskets in one egg.
Don’t put all my widgets in one fish.
I will mind the platform between the train
and the gap when I disembogue.
But nine stitches is not so much?
Doctor, I’m tired of this diaphanous facade
of hope but I am not ready yet
to do the obituary mambo. Every job
I’ve known has been take the shift
or get the shaft. I’m learning to shirk.
But managers haunt, with tall orders,
targets and figures, the imagination.
My anxiety is a born lepidopterist
and my colours flutter in the suffocating
cone of its palms, such a dusky capture
making ash of what was brightest in me.
Doctor, please do not prescribe Rilke.
I ask for your medical not your moral counsel.
When one poodle died, Schopenhauer
would replace it with a new poodle.
To each poodle he gave the same name:
Benedict Cumberbatch.
Doctor, put a name on this dog.
I ask for your scalpel not your scapulars.
You may think you are the donkey’s monocle
but you are not even nunchucks.
You may think you are the glistening satin
on a radish, but your cow burns down
while you whisper sweet nothings to milk.
How soon sweet nothings turn
to snickersnee. Doctor, you’re bleeding.
Your parrot’s clearly microwaved.
It’s more chichi than rococo, I agree.
Have you ever wondered, is it art?