By Ian C. Smith

Makes you feel so utterly wretched
you could lunge in desperation
for the Prosthetist’s Rinsing Tonic,
a bottle of Johnnie Walker red label
displayed in the waiting room
surrounded by detached grins for sale
like TV identities’ responses to SMILE autocues,
reminding you, miserably, of the catacombs.
There are no secrets here,
just fragments of a poem you might write.

Gigantic artwork (you use this term loosely)
might have been egotistically daubed
by this middle-aged man in white
with the tousled hair of a teenaged footballer
only grey, like his Van Dyke facial hair,
startling attention-grabber, latent attempt
of ebbing manhood to match his spiel
that is mostly about money, money,
and how he could really slug you
if this wasn’t your lucky day.