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  • How I was Made Twenty Years Younger, and: The Tunnel
  • Matthew Sweeney (bio)

How I was Made Twenty Years Younger

It had been years since I'd had a hard-on—I blamed that witch I'd left my marriage for,some spell she'd chanted, or the painfuleruption down there she'd gifted me,or the kilometres I'd axed on the autobahn,or the cases of Bordeaux I'd carried in—whatever it was, the bedroom scared me,too many women had entered it once,but never twice, so I contacted Steinach—I'd read about the success of his experiment;I booked myself in for a vasectomy,and two days later I'd a throbbing stonker—couldn't wait to wield this implement.All was well again in the house of hoopee,so I decided I had to inform the unhappy—I booked the Albert Hall to give a lecture,How I was Made 20 Years Younger.I arrived in my blue suit with a bow tie,peeped from the wings to see the pews fill,and right then it was decided I should die. [End Page 120]

The Tunnel

for Seamus Heaney

Into the tunnel he went,led by a torch, a tinysilver torch bought in Crete.

In his pocket was a scalpeland a folded bag. His mobilewas slotted into his belt.

Earphones brought him Coltrane'sgnarled tones. He wriggledpast a dog's skull, a tennis ball,

a dusty copy of the bible.An edition of North was proppedagainst the wall. He checked,

it was signed. He slithered on,his beam now bouncing off mosaicmirrors on the low ceiling.

As the sax swirled, he hummedalong, sniffing the trapped air,feeling ahead, as if the light

would miss something vital,would blank out a sign.He stuck gum in his mouth.

Chewing, he muscled on, pasta framed photo of bombed Berlin,a warped tennis racquet, a gun. [End Page 121]

A map of Europe appeared on the wall,then disappeared. A voice rode overColtrane, counting to a hundred,

and at the hundred, he emergedinto a red chamber. He stood upand walked to the seated corpse. [End Page 122]

Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney's recent volumes of poetry include Black Moon (Cape), Sanctuary (Cape), and Selected Poems (Cape). He is co-author, with John Hartley Williams, of a chapbook, Writing Poetry (Hodder & Stoughton) and has edited and co-edited a number of poetry anthologies. Bilingual translations of his work have appeared in Germany, Mexico, Slovakia, and elsewhere.



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pp. 120-122
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