Paul Murphy

Two Poems

Who Killed Rudi?

Was it the wind in Moluccas Street
Or a giraffe in the zoo?

Was it the tell-tale stains on the back seat
Of your BMW kalamazoo?

Was it Frank, Mike or Steve?
Was it the 1960 Trabant

You owned for a day then banged
Into the boot end of 1962?

Was it anyone really, was it me or you
And what if it was?

Can he feel it now, cold, dumb, dead
Can he really come after you?

Is he dead really or merely pining?
What if he died or didn’t die?

Can he disrupt your stag night
Or interrupt your first night

Of onstage delirium, can he fly
Past your window or settle cat-like

Licking ash from your window pane?

Rudi is dead there’s no doubt
Never to come again.

There’s ice and snow tonight
And Rudi is dead. And Rudi

is dead.

Bertolt Brecht’s Bedroom

Here the poet Brecht lit a last cigar
Rolled over onto his side, expired.
Are you Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht dead?
To annotate the future, he thought,
Downstairs Helene Wiegel
Lay watching Soviet Olympiads
On her regulation plastic DDR Fernsehapparat.

She felt the failing clutch of a Trabant
She felt the last polluted raindrop fall.
Onto the bare graves of Hegel,
Fichte, Heinrich Mann.
Who lay quite dead in
The neighbouring Friedhof.
Soon to be joined by Bert and Helene.

Failing the future as the past
Bukharin’s unworked dithyramb
Compounds the morning’s cigarette-
induced hangover: Mao’s latest verses;
Your ‘Ode to Stalin’ or King Kong.

White vines disappear into the backgarden
Trellis, ashen, shivering as dawn
Find the shadow of an unworked reshaped heel.

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