Past Perfidious by Jude Cowan Montague

An eye, a pool

two pillars, three trees.

The palace of cool

intelligence leads

two women to a panorama

of red-jacketed warriors

and the bloody encounter of sword

and skin. Criss cross, burgundy




on podiums, busts immobilising

moustaches and epaulettes.

Arms up on glass case,

a curious body looks

down on tiny boats floating

on the blue channel

above which the military mini

aircraft hang from threads.


Cattle keep their inquisitive heads up

in cases on mahogany legs

fashion once thought to display such elegant curves,

French curves,

the setting adding a mysterious varnish

to the bovine horns.

Silent cattle. They don’t chew,

no lowing.


Fans don’t whirr

on the moulded door frames.

No breeze for tourists,

hot, hot, no breeze for attendants

merely oodles and steaks

of faded cow-glory.


Geese fly away

wild across glassy

picturesque fields, reflecting windows

behind the keeper,

who has large hands.

One holds the walkie talkie.

He is about to speak.


Forever, encased, for

he is as stuffed

as the birds.

Visual delights abound:

blood, battlefields hypereal

as a sci fi book cover, and horns, horns,

horns of stags,

horns encircled in gilt,

and guns guns ivory handles.


Fellow relaxes

leaning on the painted walls

of peaceful corridors,

he quarter-dreams,

basking in the luxury of work.

Come. Now. Follow me.


Hear your shoes on the parquet.

That’s right, it’s softer on the runner.

Now, through here.



Yes, this is the booth

I was telling you about.

Where you can feel you’re an exhibit.

The afterlaugh to seriousness.

Pose like an Egyptian.

“We can deliver your photos

wherever you are.”


The third of four poems for a project called CAIRO COMPRESSION. The first two are going to be published by E:ratio in their next edition.

The EP is published on Linear Obsessional, these are the accompanying poems. They have not been published before as poems, only as songs and as sleeve notes – I think it’s time they popped into the poetry world as well, but I’m sure only the ‘experimental’ call it what you will, magazines will embrace them.


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