‘The Ministry of Emergency Situations’ - Review by Helen Tope
Helen Tope reviews Todd Swift’s poetry reading at Peninsula Arts, from his earliest pamphlets to newly released collections.
The Ministry of Emergency Situations
During an emergency, all
Wedding rings must be removed
And citizens will be asked to
Undress in the streets. The Ministry
Will bathe those affected with
Disinfectant Foam. They must ensure
Their eyes are shut. Those who refuse
To take off their jewellery, tokens
Of affection, clothes, will be shot.
The fully naked will dance in
The medical shower, then be
X-rayed and scanned by magnets.
Inspections will go on. The cleansed
Will be allowed to request
Compensation for their torn rags,
The Ministry of Songs will form
A choir, and douse them in anthems.
Sitting in a cinema with Sara; best date ever.
Doctor Octavius doing his Harold Lloyd act
Over and across the Manhattan clock towers,
MJ and Parker new web-crossed lovers.
She turns to me with a wow! like Monroe
Might’ve given the lens with her mouth.
Truth is, movie-going was made for true love
Delighted. It causes hugs and fear to implode:
That molten ball of fusion Doc Ock invented
In an abandoned warehouse; all the power
Of the sun in my hands! Emotion as
Mad culmination. She grips on to me
As tentacle arms slam New York masonry.
Cold uncoils in the blood;
Science, true, not good
For you. So old,
Suddenly, or so young,
Lyric inside not to be sung.
Plug pulled, screen gone.
Sun out; mind
Bountiful, playing pain.
These are my children
In my head. Unbegotten.
This is to self-forget,
To have the future