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Rennie Parker

Their doors come through

Our walls, their noise is ours.

An enthusiast of drills,

His noise reminds me

Of steel pencils.

Each night when all their

Windows shut, they dream annoyance

Slotted between their starched

Particular nightsheets.


I hear her voice between

Three walls. Whatever she does

It doesn’t sound like fun.

May I be spared the kitchen

Mixer and electric knife;

A flexible knife has cleansed her

And it doesn’t sound good.


He makes low noise beyond

The garden wall (the garden wall).

His hut light’s on (click)

He makes mechanic sounds;

Bricks and mortar

Have broken his bones,

Used his blood.


Next door I need no clock.

- My life is timed

When their programmes switch;

Their regular sawn-off dog

Has its punctual bark. I know

They talk to neighbours,

Wait for invitations

From the household god

Who leaves no room

And interchangeable as grass

Another pair comes when

Old ones make no sound.


From The North No 8 (1990)