The voice of Jackson

is the scream of a baby who wants nothing
     more than to be picked up and played with is not
     hungry is not wet is not too hot or cold has nothing
     physically wrong with it just wants to be picked
     up out of the cot with the pastel blankets the teddy
     bear the mobile the silent bars
just wants someone to take it out and play with it

the voice tries out its different screams
     the red one full of “A”s the orange one full of “E”s
     the brown one full of “O”s the green one full of “U”s
it hasn’t yet tested the white one full of “I”s
fears that might break something vital

the voice tries out all those screams
then it tries to talk     like the grownups
     but the grownup words     don’t fit
     in its mouth     it can’t construct
     a sensible narrative     it can’t do
     so many syllables     so many consonants
when it tries to talk like the grownups
     the grownups laugh
     into their grownup drinks
     and offer it pink lemonade
it hates pink lemonade
it prefers breastmilk
     the milk of a woman who fortifies herself with Guinness
     the sort of Guinness you have to go to Dublin to get

the voice has gone beyond
     the breastmilk of metaphor
     and into the Guinness of pataphor
but nobody picks it up / the teddy bear
is unimpressed

After Robert Desnos, “The Voice of Robert Desnos”