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Odd o’Clock

At One o’clock
The steeple clock
Struck Ten.
Not quite Orwell’s Thirteen,
But at least his followed Twelve
In the not-quite-natural order of things
And made some strange, otherly sense of a sort;
Whereas our Ten was either rewound three hours from One
To give our déjà-vu a double dose of déjà-vu
Or fast-forwarded nine hours to rob me of the sleep
I haven’t been getting for 25 years
According to our local ‘toubib’.

I didn’t much like the look of either of these possibilities.
Ten to Midnight had been fine for a minute,
But one hard-to-hear voicemail had been the living end of it:
Dynamiting our common calm and composure
Callously and
An attack to which neither of us had the strength or resources
To commission our blue-beret, peace-keeping forces
And straight-jacket our reactions, keep our anger under wraps
In the face of all this belligerent crap.
Whirlpools of anger fought dog-tiredness to a standstill
[But not according to Queensberry rules of engagement]
Slugging us both well below the belt
And way after the bell…

Don’t talk to me of morning:
For both of us it was hell.
PS. ‘Toubib’ is French slang for the Doc. I imagine it comes from ‘tout’ (everything / all) and bib/biberon (little drink). i.e. ‘here’s a little concoction – knock it all back now!’ That is a bit too romantic, however, apparently it is very much an Arab word that I assume has come North with immigration from former French colonies…