Gasping In The Aftermath by Paul Tanner

I’m sick of thanking people when I sneeze.
You know? You must feel this way too?

You’ve just chugged
a quarter litre of phlegm
up and out of your own face
and while you’re gasping in the aftermath
some polite prick BLESSES you
and in between sniffing the yellow waterfall
back behind your eyes
and swallowing said yellow waterfall
back down into the lungs what brewed it,
you have to find the breath
to thank them.
Thank them for what?
How will your archaic Christian platitude save my soul?
My soul did not escape when I sneezed
though there is some sort of
symbiotic relationship there:
I got the flu
what made me sneeze
queuing up
outside the jobcentre,
my soul is stuck
in a snot jelly on some form
in a jobcentre drawer,
go free it from there
if you really care.

Paul Tanner photo
Paul Tanner’s new book ‘Notes of A Pleb Vol. 6’ will be available soon and this poem’s from it.
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