BEING SURE – PARADIGM – Graham Clifford

Being Sure

Maybe I’m very simple, by which statement what I mean is 
I want you to tell me I’m multidimensional 
which will make me feel so much better about myself 
proving I’m the former – this communicating business
doesn’t bear thinking about. 

I need closure on the coffee break chin-wag.
I will never, ever tell you what I really think: 
I’ve no idea. You tell me. 
Who can I ask if I’m not sure? Is there a hotline?
Watching the senior management team 

in the emotional intelligence staff training 
can only be likened to 
the bit where the men in ape suits in 2001
started belting each other with bone clubs. 
I wouldn’t trust my line manager with the key to my gym locker.

Another word for charismatic is fat
In the room I could hear our ids bubbling like bitumen 
in workaday crucibles. 
I’ll give him one thing, if he asks telepathically;
Know this: I will let you down


We develop a new kind of person that is entirely silent. 

When confronted with atrocities or a stunning coincidence of the type that brought your great-great grandmother out of her five-decade long coma – she was able to conceive thanks to warmed instruments and epoch-defining legislative counter-conundrums – the new people merely breathe. 

They are quickly old enough to not writhe in their sleep and sit up and blame siblings for dreamt slights being perpetrated against them. Or see spiders with an enemy’s face in the black dot of its body with no thorax and legs freakishly bigger and thicker than a melancholic, grease-stained garage mechanic’s fingers.

Their minds sit in their brains like a boiled chicken breast in a furrow in a frozen, ploughed field. 

We measure their empty dealings with mystery shoppers, cold callers and drunk employees. 

We make them ever-so-slightly smaller than us so we can punch them in the face when we’ve had enough. 

Graham Clifford lives in London with his partner and two daughters.  

He has been published widely, in magazines including the Rialto and Magma.  

His pamphlet, Welcome Back to the Country, and collection, The Hitting Game are published by Seren. His most recent collection, Well, is published by Against the Grain.