I spent a long time in the trenches,
avoiding fragments, slights, glances,
ducking for cover,
looking through a periscope, unfocused
attentions, surrounded by youth
enlisted, we trained in manuals,
nakedness, shame, unreality, distance
your world airbrushed by official artists.
So we stood at the sides of discos,
feeling blue light on our faces,
burning cheeks, stomachs, shyness
envious of lads with older sisters,
sergeants in our ranks, they knew
what to do, we just waited for the whistle
and rushed across the floor into existence.
2001 Trout &