|Exit 3 published in 1969 was one of a
series of magazines put together by Ian
Breakwell an artist friend of Kevin's. As
well as contributing poems and artwork to
Exit 3 and 4 the two also performed the
Institution together which was made into a
film in 1978.
I thought I was going to die,
So I gathered my hands and prayed.
But then I didn't die.
Annoyed, I let my hands fall like spades to my
In a barren land
Where water hides and grass pretends to die,
You and I shall worship the sun,
Making heathen temples to chant and pray in.
Beneath pagodas of brass-
From towers of gold-
Smoke will be seen to rise,
Linking arms with the sun.
The endless dance between the stars and stars
We shall see through ivory telescopes-
Telescopes encrusted with diamonds and pearls
Laced with the sweetness of new grass.
From a velvet bed in a quiet desert
We'll lie and talk to buzzards and vultures,
Keeping their eggs from idle hands
Will be our job-
Will be our penance.
A winking alter festooned with lights,
An empty craft on an empty river.
A rusting cross on a crumbling steeple,
Will welcome us to their decay.
With strips of gold securing our ankles-
Making them tight, firm and steady-
We'll gladly stumble on wooden feet
-Across marble floors
-Through endless corridors
-Gladly stumble and gladly fall.
For it will be pleasant there,
An ideal place to put our hearts
When we are done living.
Creased and folded like yellowing paper,
Remind me that the future is not so far away.
That the joy we feel now will slowly shrink
That the grin tight on our faces will sag, flab,
I can pretend that science will save us,
That a genius will produce a restorative potion,
Living on borrowed time these illusions kindle
Flickering hope -
Hope that flickered at the moment of birth.
Away! I scream,
Away with wearisome talk of God, Heaven
Let us hurl all that away- so that it can't
But you insist on coming here-
With your old dog's face and evil eye,
You insist on being visible
-on being real
-on being a touching thing.
With your reminding face
You are like a splash of rain on a summer's day.
Circumcision Day was yesterday,
It was New Years Day the day before,
Today is Washing Day-
Three Kings help me with the washing.
The Three Kings take turns to turn the mangle,
I in turn hang out the washing,
Hanging and turning, we are often divided,
Divided in task,
Divided in belief.
They see stars on the kitchen ceiling,
A baby God-man in my mother's arms,
They see an angel in an electric light bulb.
I see nothing but a washing day,
A Washing Day with mother swearing,
Floors puddled with washing water,
Ton upon ton of steaming washing
A day when we see sister's baby.
Not a day when stars are followed,
When a lowly cattle-shed is found-
But a day when we do the washing
And forget about Circumcision Day.