A Friend of Ham…

Occasionally, I’m going to publish poems on my blog, including new work that might not appear elsewhere.

This one is a piece written as part of a poetry-philosophy collaboration with the School of Philosophy in Leeds (more posts to follow on this!), a (tangential) response to research by Professor Aaron Meskin into taste and judgement. And if you haven’t been for a pint in the real Friends of Ham, you should remedy that soon.

Friends of Ham

A friend of ham is a friend of ours
declares the 2D pig. I’m drinking
stout the colour of burnt toast, watching a man
sleeved in tattoos cut slivers of jamón ibérico,
the flesh almost translucent on the plate.

Each time you lie, you shed another skin.
A papery lookalike goes strolling
down the street you said that you were on.
I scan the crowd outside for someone
with your shape, your stride, until the road

becomes an outline of itself, as realistic
as the dotwork map of Spain that fills the wall
behind the bar. A giant cheese wilts
underneath a grill. Raclette, a couple
giggling at the smell. The waiter stoops

and sloughs the top layer off. I sip
until there’s nothing left and smile at him,
the glance returned, and then we turn
back into separate silences, wearing them
well, our hurts becoming us.



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