james mcgonigal
Poet  •  Critic

Contact  James McGonigal

       Flatpack Poem

Poems like IKEA diagrams
are wordless. Sounds are
their not-quite-raw materials
pre-processed, stained
and ready to assemble

but no-one can foresee
the finished article
stand upright or bear weight.
And so we take
its diagram by the hand

and follow step by step.
Checking drilled holes
for their precise positioning
each to each is crucial.
Ignorant of technical terms

for pegs and thingmejigs
that fix lines together we
bend like children on the floor
making a game
from bits and pieces.

How’s it coming along?
It’s difficult with a partner
to sidestep arguments on what
the diagram says do next.
Look. There. Idiot.

Keep going. When there are
no parts left over in the box,
the poem is complete. Now
lift it into position. OK.
Sit on it if you want.



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