Jenna Clake 69

Jenna Clake


i love the way americans say hightailed it when they go somewhere quickly

general synod and dick swann have a pact not to eat anything
on days beginning with t, s or f
general synod and dick swann are cyclists
everyone says that general synod and dick swann need energy if they are exercising
           general synod and dick swann know they are above this
everyone thinks that general synod and dick swann are taking their work seriously
            they are men after all
general synod and dick swann can keep their secret because no one expects men to have this secret
and if they guessed the secret they wouldn’t know how to deal with it 

general synod is the name dick swann has given to his secret
general synod is the one
            who makes sure he only takes a small orange in his cycling rucksack 

general synod and dick swann are equally responsible for the following
alternative patterns of training general synod
alternative patterns of training dick swann
alternative patterns of training the old and new habits
but mostly the old
            by training they obviously mean ways to keep the secret and become better at it

one way general synod and dick swann train is to write on the bathroom tiles
they write lists of what they have eaten in the last twenty-four hours every time they go in the shower
            they write the lists on the tiles
at the end of the week they wipe the tiles clean 

sometimes general synod and dick swann get separated when dick swann cycles ahead
dick swann cycles fast until he gets to the next downward slope
            then stops pedalling and glides down the hill
without general synod dick swann feels like he is cycling beautifully naked
when he gets to the bottom of the hill he feels general synod catching up with him
no matter how quickly he starts pedalling again

Jenna Clake‘s debut poetry collection, Fortune Cookie, was awarded the Melita Hume Prize and shortlisted for a Somerset Maugham Award. A pamphlet of her prose poems is forthcoming from Verve Poetry Press. In 2018, she received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors.