The Werewolf’s Tailor – by Neil Fulwood

 

The fabric smooth enough that tufts
of fur fall floor-wards with just
a casual downstroke of the paw.
By which I mean hand; human hand.

The lining crimson as a slashed throat.
I do apologise: a tasteless simile.
But still: the charcoal grey of the jacket
gusted back on an autumn street

and that flash of deep red – profound
red – well, sir, the effect will turn heads,
set the heart of the fashionista
beating faster, divert the dandy

to his tailor’s place of business,
a whole wardrobe of fine garments
ordered on account. Which is as
it should be. If I may take the liberty,

sir, clothes maketh the man –
manners manage a distant second.
The cut and the line, the fold
of the cloth. Thus are we set apart

from the beast. Temporarily, at least.
The craftsmanship is in the stitching,
how it withstands the stretch and strain
of muscle and skin in thrall to the change.

 

 

Neil Fulwood is the co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of the anthology More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe. His poetry has featured in The Morning Star, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, International Times and Ink, Sweat and Tears. His debut collection, No Avoiding It, is forthcoming from Shoestring Press in 2017.

 

 

Bird – by Neil Fulwood

 

Halfway through the new Ted Hughes biography
and I’m oblivious to the back-yard carnage.
Double glazing does its job. The stereo’s on,
Lenny whipping up the sensuous agonies of Mahler.

The tableau waits for me to step outside, armful
of washing from the machine and a peg basket
I manage not to drop: feathers everywhere
like the punchline in a Merrie Melodies cartoon

and a bone-cage still smudged with viscera. Didn’t
Tweety Pie always escape Sylvester? I never saw
the one with the mutilated canary. This is urban
Nottingham not Court Green or a lecture hall

where the party line on nature poetry is “red
in tooth and claw”. This isn’t fox or jaguar
or hawk. This is the work of a neighbourhood cat
I’ve doubtless fed and fussed. Nothing has entered

my consciousness with paw-print or rank scent.
There is no poetry in this plastic bag folded
inside-out over the scoop of a dustpan, the angling
of wrist and implement, the taking up of remains.

 

 

 

Neil Fulwood is the co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of the anthology More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe. His poetry has featured in The Morning Star, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, International Times and Ink, Sweat and Tears. His debut collection, No Avoiding It, is forthcoming from Shoestring Press in 2017.