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Poetry : ‘Imprfction’ by Roy Duffield


by Roy Duffield

Show me your clean shirt
And I’ll say:
What on earth have you been doing
With your life?

Show me your clean shirt
And I’ll say:
Either you didn’t eat
Or you didn’t enjoy.

Show me your clean car
And I’ll say:
Where are the crashes?
The dents and the marks?
Or what did you hit?
Why so desperate
To wash away the blood
The mud
And the shit?

Your shirt is a canvas
……….a blank page
Ready for your story.
Rip it to shreds
Drown it in ink
Hang it on the line
For all to see.

And what about me?
I’m standing bent
Over the kitchen sink
Even as I speak
These words
Yes, the ones you’ve just heard
Scrubbing away
Until my fingers bleed
Like colours
Stains, anew
What a waste!
To be removed
The impossible task at hand:
Turning all the reds to grey.
Show me your clean shirt
And I’ll say:
Because I’m not talking to myself today
Because talking to yourself
Is crazy.

Show me your clean sofa
And I’ll say:
Where are the holes in your arms
In your hands? Your sleeves?
Where are the rips in those brand new jeans?
Where are your threadbare friends
Falling apart at the seams?

I’ll say:
You spend too much time in IKEA
And not enough time
On the cold, hard streets
You’re dying the little death
Between your cold, starched sheets
You’re a man on a mission
Your airy position
Is air-tight
And bleached.

The bigger the stain
The better the story
The more imperfect
The more perfect
You are to me.

Show me your clean conscience
……………..And I’ll say:
Good for you
But I’m sure your days
……Are stained with regret
……I’m sure your nights and your nightmares
……………………….Are haunted by dreams
…..Things you never did
……And you’ll never forget
……And I like you
But it’s unlikely
……………We’ll ever be friends.


Roy Duffield has a first-class honours degree in creative writing from Bath Spa University. Last year he performed at Barcelona’s annual Beat Poetry Festival alongside some of Spain’s most successful contemporary performance poets. He has travelled over 100 countries and sometimes publishes micropoetry as the @drinking_traveller.

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Created in 2014, Flashes is a privately owned literary website. We publish short stories, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Our goal is to give talented writers a platform to showcase their creativity, with an emphasis on original voice, innovative style and challenging plots.
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