Pork Pie Hat

Copyright © 2010 Michael J Emerson

This work is registered with the UK Copyright Service.


Outside is the bear,

sniffing the air,

standing on hind legs,

thudding to all fours,

hiding its intentions

behind presidential


The bear is on the outer curve

of my imagination

jogging across an ice-flow

in a perpetual arctic twilight.

The horizon is a tiny shift

between similar shades of blue,

the air is painted particles,

atomic chatter from the sun,

hours are empty and have no edge,

       days do not belong.

It knows I’m here behind the door,

we’re connected when we breathe.

It can sense my chemical identity

in the air that keeps escaping

despite the walls I build to stop it


The bear might be in Canada

rolling among mountains,

or in London behind bars

for stealing expensive cars,

but where there’s a bear there’s

       always plenty of air.

In my dream the bear is standing

at a corner in a Humphrey Bogart hat

selling tickets to the future from an office

below a street lights amber cone.

Hairy wrists protrude from a raincoat

that is pimpled like a bin bag on a cactus.

Sharpened toes on dancing feet

rupture pointed patent shoes.

Fists with killing fingers

perfume the thick dark air

with wads of crumpled money

that is bedding for a lair.

I try to tip toe by but R.E.M. disturbs the air

transmitting my ghostly presence

to the bristles on the bear

which are tuned with high precision

beneath silken underwear

and I have to pay my atmosphere taxes

before it’s relentless vigilance


Outside is calling

from a land without doors.

It perforates my windows,

it whispers at my walls.

it juggles with my fear,

it tickles at my balls,

it wants to be my friend

in a lethal sort of way

and laughs at my peculiar

attempts to keep it

       all at bay.