Tuesday, March 16, 2021



S A L L Y      G R O S S M A N

the album cover of album covers


Daniel Kramer



R O S E M A R Y    T O N K S

Addiction to an Old Mattress

No, this is not my life, thank God ...
... worn out like this, and crippled by brain-fag;
Obsessed first by one person, and then
(Almost at once) most horribly besotted by another;
These Februaries, full of draughts and cracks,
They belong to the people in the streets, the others
Out there – haberdashers, writers of menus.

Salt breezes! Bolsters from Istanbul!
Barometers, full of contempt, controlling moody isobars.
Sumptuous tittle-tattle from a summer crowd
That’s fed on lemonades and matinées. And seas
That float themselves about from place to place, and then
Spend hours – just moving some clear sleets across glass stones.
Yalta: deck-chairs in Asia’s gold cake; thrones. 

Meanwhile ... I live on ... powerful, disobedient,
Inside their draughty haberdasher’s climate,
With these people ... who are going to obsess me,
Potatoes, dentists, people I hardly know, it’s unforgivable
For this is not my life 
But theirs, that I am living.
And I wolf, bolt, gulp it down, day after day.

Rosemary Tonks
Bedouin of the London Evening:
Collected Poems & Selected Prose
(Bloodaxe Books, 2014)  
© Estate of Rosemary Tonks 2014, 2016.