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Pliny’s lizard

Jane Blaikie


The history of love, shit, and the lizard also waits to be written.
– Dominique Laporte, History of Shit

It’s not so much Dave’s lost control
as the toilet can’t be reached in time –
the pissy misses and logjam-fronted
poo tsunami making History of Shit
a clear choice for the bedside table
Deliberately dense he calls it.
Myself, with a streak of Tawa, say
don’t those French theorists like to
smell their own stercus, stecore,
cloaca maxima
But it’s the retelling of Pliny’s advice
that wakes me in the night perhaps
because of the cool quiet light
now in Dave’s light blue eyes
For unrequited love, says Pliny,
take a lizard, drown it in your piss.
Would the shame of cruelty be enough,
the lizard’s dying eye, its frantic claws –
distaste at one wantonness shifting
to another, the spell broken, pain gone.
It’s selfish and stupid to take dying
as rejection. Isn’t it


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