I was twenty-one before I came to know
the word.
I, who loved the sound of
obfuscate, opaque, verisimilitude
had failed, somehow,
to stumble upon

perhaps because the nuns
had balked at it,
finding it rude,
the double ‘L’s so brazenly erect,
intruding there
between the gasping vowels,
the o, the ah,

A blustery, pompous,
hot-potato-in-your-mouth sort of a word,
suited to the flabby lips
of large, moustachioed men:
Bollard, dear boy,

A word that some might think
quite similar to bollock or to buttock,
but without the crispy bite of c and k,
the satisfying kick and click you find in, say
hillock, hammock, pillock, pollack,
Hackensack and Cadillac (which doesn’t have a k),

in little words like quick and lick
and flick and flak and flock and
fuck, I’m driving up a cul-de-sac…

Published in Obsessed with Pipework magazine and in ‘Infinite In All Perfections’ from Happenstance Press