'A Gift' by Andrew McMillan
Celebrating this year's Manchester Pride the latest entry in our occasional Poetry Corner is by Andrew McMillan...
by Andrew McMillan
for the ones I never touched for the ones
who wanted to watch films who wanted
to talk who wanted silence and said I
talked too much for the one I saw
weeks after laughing for the one who served
me coffee and didn’t recognise my hands
for the optimistic ones who write
their names on toilet walls the ones
I never called for the ones I called
who didn’t answer who left our love
suspended from the ceiling hooks
of that meatmarket city for the ones
who left and settled down the ones who wanted
knowledge were curious who gained something
from each encounter used each other
who took what they needed for everyone
they hurt who felt burned out the ones who
didn’t realise everyone was burning
the ones who never slept who died nightly
the ones who said they’d kill for it for all
of them a gift we were young we only had our bodies
Andrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire in 1988; his debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award. The collection also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, a Somerset Maugham Award (2016), an Eric Gregory Award (2016) and a Northern Writers' award (2014).
His second collection, playtime, published by Jonathan Cape, is available to buy here.
He is senior lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at MMU and lives in Manchester.