A systems analyst from Milton Keynes
By day, by night I'm Rutger Ogresblood,
Wielder of Gorm the Longsword, hero, stud,
Slayer of kings and ravisher of queens,

Who held the pass at Pterodactyl Jaw,
Who stripped the Narcoleptic Goddess bare,
Who climbed Arachnid Point and found the Lair
Of Iron Web and stopped the Spider War.

Lord of the Dreamscape! Rutger's muscles flex.
Thanks to a toss of octahedral dice,
He rules a wasteland that's a paradise
Of violence revelled in and heightened sex.

And then I put him back inside his box.
Each workday morning there's a train that takes
Me in its belly. As I brood it snakes,
Soul-laden, to the Kingdom of the Clocks.

Once there, I note that Colin Smithers' bright
Face beams like Balbo Groat's from Ghostly Dell,
That Rachel Featherstone in Personnel
Moves like Elaine, the Witch of Air and Light,

That each of us at Jancis Spink and Co.,
A Vassal of the Fiscal Matrix, tenders
A Living Brain to serve the Black Agendas
Of Boardroom Ghouls. No wonder, then, I go

Where Colin, foulmouthed, leads the Troll's Carouse
In Flatfoot's pub on Fridays. There he plies
Rachel with loosening vodka. Goblin eyes
Pursue the Siren breasts beneath her blouse.

And then we break apart. Each drinker speeds
Back to a loving home, or isolation,
Or something in-between. Down at the station
I shiver with my unmet wants and needs.

I am defeated in this life. What kind
Of fiction lights this darkness? What new states
Of ravishment are left? What separates
The Game Fantastic from the Daily Grind?

The more imagination works the more
Both worlds collapse into a common space
Where with umbrella drawn I turn and face
Walpurgis Necromancer on the Shore

Of Skulls and cast his body in the deep,
And Rutger strides up Leyland Mews and scales
The drainpipe to Yvonne from Corporate Sales,
Nude on her bed in an enchanted sleep.

K. M. Payne

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