A deer, William Fairbrother

RoadsideRoadside, Z.Z. Wei


A deer

I’ve eaten turtle meat, it’s rather quite tasty 
that salmon and tuna will soon be lost, hurts my blood
I am not an individual and won’t believe it till I’m dying
it’s cold today, maybe two degrees, the snow melts
as it’s touching the skin or ground  no idea where I am
could be Russia, a familiar feeling, or Spring in Paris 
don’t believe the romanticism… since I died last time we met
let me introduce you to my deer  my very dear deer
being afraid of myself was last year’s idolatry
so I return to the question [
look at what has happened in Moscow 
now video is now ideation  
if you give people too much they’re going to take it
but taking away is no longer humanhood

these bastards  as economy deflates,
they’re pushing their flame  The Art of War
Strongly suggests they are wrong ]

I need a sleeping pill I think

this is a deer in the headlights
both my deer and my headlights.

William Fairbrother


Review by Pamela O’Shaughnessy

Perhaps this modern poem begins at a dinner table, perhaps at the home of a former love. A casual and lively conversation is  fraught with deeper meanings. The speaker can’t quite keep the casual illusion going. There are constant irruptions, intimations, meta-talk that comments on the conversation, brings in seeming political irrelevancies, counters romantic statements with cynicism.  The personality whose speech is the only one reported seems hapless, modest. His tone is confiding, yet what he says can be cutting, shocking – “don’t believe the romanticism…since I died last time we met”. This speaker has seen it all, but is still struggling with a combination of innocence and jaundice, struggling through a puzzling world where he can’t find his place and feels very vulnerable. In a masterly stroke the poem turns to a simple metaphor halfway through. The speaker is described as a deer in the headlights. What is pure poetry here is that he is both deer and headlights, those penetrating lights which interpret and frighten the deer, even hurting the deer with harsh self-appraisal. This is a poem divided about a man divided.



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