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This poem is taken from PN Review 124, Volume 25 Number 2, November - December 1998.

Three Poems Mark Ford

Contingency Plans

On balance it wasn't so much the cash
I was owed, as the attacks on my character; I
Prayed for deliverance and revenge. November
Lingered on gloomily: colds and fevers swept
The population, reduced swathes to troubled brooding
And red, streaming eyes; in a quandary I seized
My innate Englishness, and practised
Wrapping it around me like an old army coat.

Two strikes, it was decreed, and you were out: appeals
For clemency were received with merry scorn.
As the gridlock eased I changed the subject,
Knowing my father, knowing the trees and the turnings and the signs
Along the route, and remembering his aversion to all
Blockages; I felt the engine growl, then
Shudder and forget itself. 'I'm a Rhinestone
...


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