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Sarah Murphy

Author, activist, translator, visual and spoken word artist, Sarah Murphy is the recipient of the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival’s 2008 Golden Beret Award. In 2007 she became Canada’s first spoken word artist to receive an Arts Council England International Artists’ Fellowship to complete her CD, when bill danced the war. Murphy has published seven books and performed and shown widely in Canada, the UK, the US, Australia and Mexico.

Humpty Dumpty

They seemed to come in waves they really did into our house those roomers with their sad newspapers in their equally sad hands shaking with their need of a place our house the cheapest they could go and still think themselves respectable you could see it in their eyes before they ever got upstairs to the mismatched furniture maybe it was better they could tell we didn’t want them mistake it for a sign of gentility this hatred of having to rent there wasn’t a single one we would have chosen to keep not even ali the turk the engineering student with his books and his bright patterned prayer rug and his feta cheese and olives for breakfast and certainly not that man i don’t remember his name don’t even know if i knew it all i remember is seeing his smudged outline through the translucent glass the kind with the embedded chicken wire and thinking what is that what is that how did he get so big it’s an elephant it’s an elephant and really he was the biggest the fattest the roundest man i’ve ever seen and watching him wave his arm outside the downstairs door i thought it for a moment a miracle look look the elephant has a trunk and then there’s his pointed round belly right in my face as i open the door and it starts to move forward slow like a ship coming into dock so maybe i think an ocean liner an ocean liner a whale a whale or maybe the whale’s later after i’d seen a whale in the battery park aquarium and for that matter knew the guy wore a corset like paul garcia and he put it on first before his pants and i don’t know how i know that or why i can see his soft white undershirts but it’s that corset that made his body so whalelike its fat so solid he seemed like an egg turned on its side the pointy side pointing forward that first time through the door no wiggle no jiggle no bounce at all so it’s not only his belt not below not above but right on the point of his belly makes me suddenly settle on humpty dumpty humpty dumpty together with his arm reaching out to present his newspaper his chins quaking as they gesture at the ad there are the words emerging i’ve got an appointment little girl an appointment and something so terrible in his voice i can hear it cracking not an elephant not a whale humpty dumpty humpty dumpty i thought it’s humpty dumpty where are the king’s horses the king’s men quick quick big fall comingsoon it’s humpty dumpty.

from   Last Taxi to Nutmeg Mews




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