Miners/ James Nixon

after Josef Herman

After a black bath,
and then a second
unsatisfied grey one
he would settle

like a city at night
when you can hear
classical elements

I would nestle in
his unerred nooks
and always find
seams of sweaty

slag still hiding in
evening creases and
yogic secrets like a
persistent mistress.

If we were watching
a sad programme
he would never
like to cry but

often did, as if
he had no concept
of crying:
oil would tear

down his face
like tribal scars.
Sometimes his ears
would spill too.

During his holidays
he would invite
similarly abstract
friends around

to cry in the loft –
the only place where
they could crouch
without judgment.

Like twisted chimps
idling in front of an
invisible board game
they would enjoy

scrunching their
bodies up before
a known wall
of imaginary coal.

I never knew
what they talked
about. Likely they
were just content

to be fitting into
playful spaces
with others who knew
how important it was

to make yourself
into an adapting
machine and cut
existence out of rock.



Read James Nixon’s bio here.


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