This poem first appeared in Gutter 3 (ed. Colin Begg and Adrian Searle)
Some say he was born down here,
that he’s been submerged since birth.
Perhaps because his skin is so white,
perhaps because his eyes are so large.
They say she gave birth behind the bar.
They say she wet the baby’s head with whisky.
Now his eyes carry rings,
now his stomach hides his belt.
He traces a cloth over the wood,
polishing so hard the varnish fades.
It could be driftwood, this dry slab,
washed up from some broken ship.
He looks from under leaden lids,
surveys a young man counting coppers;
he is lining them up on the table,
little lights to reel her in,
stars reflected in a black sea.