The popular imagination
Lives for roots and cuttings, grafted dreams;
Collects the relics of the famous,
Learns by heart to incantate the names,

Makes a pedigree of references:
Holy saints, celebrity bizarres –
Bowery’s performances and kitsch,
Buddha’s tooth in Kandyan parades.

The memorabilia of those
Who danced, sang, wrote, killed, or just researched,
Used as heraldry, or to redeem
Ordinary lives from being themselves.

More than that: Nureyev’s ballet shoes
Sold for the price of a terrace house
In nineteen-ninety-five. Rich and poor
Addicted to this magpie disease –

A need to decorate the living
To turn them to museum pieces:
Jack the Ripper here is equal to
Cumming and Orlan; eccentric lives

Treasured for their circus freakishness -
Father cults of the dictatorships,
The Virgin Mary as a model soul;
Holy Books’ “authority as all”.

Though expressed through clichés of the past
Novelty becomes the highest good –
Life as drama, crisis, “like a film”;
Cults of random persons usurp God.

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe has had approximately 50 poems accepted by editors since 2017, online, in print and as spoken word. Recent pieces are in Lucent Dreaming, Aromatica Poetica, Squawk Back, Abridged, Seventh Quarry and in anthologies. He particularly admires the work of Edith Sodergran, Emily Dickinson and Ted Hughes. He shares a home in Milton Keynes with a niece who is an epidemiologist.