How The Hell Are You, by Glyn Maxwell
How the hell are you.
Christ you haven’t crossed my mind
since all the shit we knew
turned into shit we hoped was true
forget it take my arm and tell me
how the hell are you.
How the hell am I?
Barely know these days my friend
we get by we get by
but the nights are good I don’t know why
I do know why enough of this don’t
oh my man don’t cry.
The sun shines on the square
whatever’s next whatever fool
parade’s parading there
let’s be old fools with not a care
poor visitors from out of town who
don’t know this was where
it all began again.
Plaque there where the thing kicked off
here come the same young men
in the same line remember when
we never mind Huzzah Forever
Glory Be Amen
etc. Off they go
sunlight glancing off their gear
new world of year ago
you didn’t hear me say that though
because I never did how does your
bastard garden grow.
Here’s a how-de-do.
Remember how this couldn’t happen
given what we knew
those checks’n’balances and due
process and fair play christ jesus
wink an eye if you
remember I forget.
It wasn’t true so why remember
anyway let’s let
bygones be I’m glad we met
it’s nice to be reminded something
isn’t over yet.
I just mean you and me
out strolling in the square together
stopping here for tea
two creatures with no history
who dreamed it would be otherwise but
who the hell were we.
From ‘How The Hell Are You’ (Picador, 2020). © Glyn Maxwell.
Thank you to my friend Frank for introducing me to this poem! Here is recording of me reading the poem in case you’d like to hear it.
Here is a song and dance for this week. I hope you and all those close to you are free of pain.